BERRYVILLE — A Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Select office at Trip's Auto Sales in Clarke County reopened Monday.
The location at 6103 Lord Fairfax Highway (U.S. 340) south of Berryville had been closed since mid-August while a pedestrian fatality was investigated by authorities. Dominga Torres, 52, of Winchester, was struck and killed by a vehicle on Aug. 12 as she exited a car stopped on the highway in front of Trip's. She was en route to get in line at the DMV Select office around 6 a.m., 2½ hours before it opened.
Many people have been scrambling for DMV services amid the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered DMV locations across Virginia on March 18. Many of the locations have since reopened by appointment only.
Trip's reopened on April 23. After the fatal crash, a manager at the business told The Winchester Star that some people were lining up overnight to be first in line when the office opened.
Torres had gone to Trip's to renew something for her van.
Special precautions are now in place to reduce the chance of another accident happening.
As of Monday, customers of the DMV Select office at Trip's must make appointments online at https://berryvilledmvselect.as.me. Appointments can be scheduled between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, according to information provided by Clarke County officials.
Customers can arrive up to 15 minutes before their scheduled appointments. They must park only in spots that have been specifically designated for DMV customers. They cannot park along the highway.
DMV transactions are being limited to two per visit. Customers must wait in their cars until their appointments. They cannot form a line outside the office. Inside, they must practice social distancing and wear face coverings. Because of limited space, no more than two people per transaction will be allowed in the office.
A woman who answered the phone at the DMV Select office Monday afternoon confirmed that the office has reopened. However, she said she was not authorized to comment further. She referred inquiries to Trip Hardesty, owner of the used automobile dealership, who was out of the office and could not be reached.
DMV Select locations, operated by private contractors, provide fewer services than regular Department of Motor Vehicles offices. For instance, drivers can register their vehicles and obtain titles and license plates. But to get a driver's license or take a road test, drivers must visit a state-operated DMV office like the one at 4050 Valley Pike in Frederick County. That office reopened Aug. 3 by appointment.
Trip's is in the county's Millwood District. Terri Catlett, the district's representative on the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, said it's good to see the DMV Select office open again.
"The folks (employees) at Trip's provide such good customer service and are a part of the Clarke community," Catlett said. "It is important that we all support Trip's and follow their new operating mode during this time of the pandemic."
For more information, call Trip's at 540-955-1367 during business hours or go online to dmv.virginia.gov.