HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A family whose home was in the path of a bullet is running into a wall trying to get a wall.
For 4-year-old Xander Sincoskie, the backyard is a place to play. In late May, it was a place to run and hide.
His father Billy was putting away his toys when he noticed a hole in the dining room window. “My initial thought was that’s a bullet hole, but I wasn’t sure.”
But there was no mistaking it.
“About knee-high on the other side of our dining room was a bullet embedded into our wall,” Sincoskie said.
It had ripped through a can of green beans. If the wild shot had found a nearby bedroom window, a family member could be dead right now.
“He hasn’t slept in his room since then,” Sincoskie said of his son.
They notified Hampton police and found out they weren’t alone.
“Just within the past couple of weeks of our incident, they responded to another call where they had fragments of a bullet that they had to remove from another house,” Sincoskie said describing a house in the same neighborhood.
A spokeswoman for Virginia Highway Patrol says since May 1, 2021, VHP has investigated three incidents related to highway shootings on Interstate 664. However, none of those incidents was in the stretch adjacent to Sincoskie’s home.
Sincoskie wants a noise barrier erected, and an existing one comes close, but ends just before his neighborhood. In the meantime, Sincoskie and his wife have to be the barriers.
“We are essentially human shields. We have to make sure that we’re between him and the glass in case it happens again. It destroys our peace of mind.
He’s contacted VDOT, the city of Hampton, even Mayor Donnie Tuck.
“(Tuck) actually responded extremely quickly on a holiday. Everyone’s been helpful, but nobody can do anything.”
VDOT told 10 ON Your Side Tuesday afternoon that while walls along interstates may provide other benefits besides noise abatement, the stretch of interstate near Sincoskie’s home doesn’t qualify for one right now.
In the meantime, COVID-19 isn’t the only threat they see for their child.
“(I tell him) don’t go out into the backyard unless you put on your mask and your Kevlar,” Sincoskie said.
Right now he and his family are looking for a new place to live. They want to leave the area because they don’t feel safe in their own home.
VDOT provided this background on noise abatement walls:
While safety is always VDOT’s top priority, ultimately, VDOT must ensure that transportation funds are used only for transportation-related purposes. The purpose of noise barriers along roadways is to deflect noise levels created by nearby traffic. While noise walls can serve other purposes (e.g., blocking headlights, for privacy, etc.), we do not evaluate or construct noise barriers for any other purpose than for mitigating noise.
In general, VDOT construction of a noise wall can only be considered in conjunction with a qualifying “Type I” highway construction project, and can only be built after noise impact studies are conducted and if certain conditions are met.VDOT
VDOT says the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization is currently conducting a study for potential improvement projects along multiple corridors, including the I-664 corridor (from I-64 in Hampton to Route 460/58/13 in Chesapeake).
If it is determined that a construction project will take place in this corridor, a noise study and noise abatement within this section of roadway would be addressed in conjunction with the said construction project.