After sustaining undisclosed injuries in a vehicle crash nearly two months ago, Strasburg Mayor Rich Orndorff Jr. said he’s been released from the hospital and is home recovering.
At a Tuesday night Town Council meeting, Vice Mayor Scott Terndrup read a letter that Orndorff addressed to him and asked him to read at the meeting.
“I would like to provide you with an update on my condition,” Orndorff wrote in the letter.
“I am happy to let you know that I have been discharged from the hospital and will continue to recover at home. This has been a very difficult time not only for me but also for my family, and we continue to ask that our privacy be respected. I also want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”
The letter was signed: Richard Orndorff Jr, Mayor of Strasburg
The information comes after weeks of questions that council members and town officials have received regarding the mayor’s recovery. In the days following the May 17 vehicle crash, council members addressed questions about the mayor’s condition with requests for thoughts, prayers and patience.
“Please bear with us,” Vice Mayor Scott Terndrup asked attendees at a May 20 work session. “We ask you to pray for us and we will do our very best to carry on.”
Terndrup has filled the role of mayor at all work sessions and town meetings since Orndorff was injured. Terndrup also gave the traditional Independence Day address to attendees on the morning of July 4. Other council members have helped out in situations where the mayor would normally have taken the lead, such as volunteering to cook food at last month’s community dinner.
Tuesday’s letter was the first public update on the mayor’s condition since a vehicle he was driving crashed into the town library on the Friday night of Strasburg’s Mayfest festival.
A May 20 state police news release stated Orndorff was operating a recreational terrain vehicle that struck the Strasburg Community Library at 195 W. King St. at 10:46 p.m.
Orndorff was flown to INOVA Fairfax Hospital with serious but non life-threatening injuries following the crash.
Minimal damage was done to the library, but police said charges were pending. So far, no charges have been filed in the incident. Calls to the state police on Wednesday were not returned by press time.
Though Orndorff has been absent from town meetings for nearly eight weeks, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson said the charter section of the town code doesn’t have any language to explain how long Strasburg’s eight-member council might go without a mayor present to break tie votes.
When the mayor is absent, the vice mayor will “continue to execute the duties” of mayor, Pearson said, citing a section of the town code.
“The duly elected members of the council shall select among themselves by majority vote a vice mayor to serve in the absence of the mayor. The vice mayor shall possess all the powers and discharge the duties of the mayor in the event of the mayor’s absence or inability to act.”
Pearson said there’s no statement delineating a time limit for the mayor’s absence.
“To the best of our knowledge,” he said, Orndorff will remain mayor “until the next election.”
Orndorff’s term began July 1, 2016 and expires June 30, 2020.