According to the lawsuit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, the woman was taking a Blue Top taxi from Arlington to Alexandria early on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. When the cab arrived at her house in Alexandria, the woman says she tried to pay with a credit card.
The cabbie ran the card twice and each time said the card was rejected, when in fact the payment went through, according to the lawsuit. When the woman only had $18 in cash for the $19.95 fare, the driver is alleged to have insisted upon driving her to an ATM.
The ATM, located in a high-crime section of Alexandria, was out of service, the lawsuit claims. After the woman got back in the cab and told the driver about the out of service ATM, he is alleged to have pulled over, taken the $18 she had in her possession, and — despite pleas for her safety — forced the young woman out of the cab.
“Immediately after being ejected by [the driver] from the Blue Top taxi cab, while attempting to walk to a safe location, [the plaintiff] was approached on the sidewalk by a man who indicated he had a gun,” the lawsuit says. “The man threatened to shoot [the plaintiff], then dragged her into a nearby parking garage, where he brutally sexually assaulted her.”
The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 12 in Alexandria Circuit Court, seeks $5 million in damages from Blue Top Cab and the driver for negligence, fraud, breach of contract, false imprisonment and the infliction of emotional distress.
A call to Blue Top Cab management has not been returned.
Update at 12:30 p.m. — The suitcase has been determined to be safe. The scene is now clear.
Police and firefighters are on the scene of a suspicious piece of luggage, located behind the county government building (2100 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse Plaza.
The black suitcase is located in the center of a pedestrian square, near a number of shops and restaurants. The area has been blocked off while the bomb squad examines an X-ray of the package.
Speaking to the League of Women Voters last night, county manager Barbara Donnellan said she does not expect to make any cuts to the libraries or parks in her proposed budget for financial year 2012.
At the same time, however, Donnellan cautioned that with Arlington facing a $25 million budget gap, the libraries will likely not see a restoration of hours to pre-2009 or pre-2010 levels.
At one point, Donnellan reflected on her failed effort to close the Cherrydale library, which was met with considerable public outcry. She says that she learned her lesson about community attachment to libraries.
“I’m not doing it any more, I’m done,” she said. “It’s apparent to me that every library is going to stay open.”
In a question and answer session, one attendee said she was concerned that the county seems willing to allow a deterioration in the quality of services system-wide, instead of summoning the political will to close facilities when it makes practical and financial sense. Donnellan said that while the county must carefully weigh its budget priorities, current facilities must be adequately funded.
“As long as we’re going to keep them, we have to maintain them, and that takes money,” she said.
Donnellan pledged to close the current budget gap with a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases. She will host a public budget forum for residents from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, at the Arlington Central Library auditorium.
Sept. 15, 2011 was supposed to be the date by which some 5 million square feet of military-occupied office space in Arlington — 17 percent of the county’s office inventory — would be moved out as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act.
Now, it appears that most of that leased space will still be in use by the military through 2012 and beyond.
A new report by commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley that examined lease renewals suggests that BRAC relocations are years behind schedule. According to the firm, “[BRAC-related] leases totaling 2.3 million square feet have been extended through 2013 or later.”
And yesterday Rep. Jim Moran threw another wrench in the stalled relocation process. Per a provision Moran inserted into a Defense Department funding bill, the DoD’s Inspector General will be investigating the planned BRAC relocation of 6,400 jobs — many from Arlington — to the Mark Center project in Alexandria.
Moran has been working “to suspend or delay the move into the Mark Center site until the necessary transportation improvements to prevent a traffic nightmare on I-395 are implemented,” according to a statement announcing the investigation.
Such a delay could ease some of the economic pain the county will experience as a result of BRAC job losses.
For the past two days, the SmarTrip sensors have been out of order at the Rosslyn Metro station, creating a chaotic scene during rush hour, according to TBD.
Now we’re hearing that Metro is having even more problems, this time system-wide.
According to WTOP’s Adam Tuss, Metro is experiencing problems with its communications systems this morning. Its web site is down, train arrival times aren’t showing up and the public address system is down, among other problems.
No word on when the systems will be back up.
Yesterday, a task force recommended that Metro shake up its “outdated” governance structure by, among other things, giving more power to the governors of Maryland and Virginia. By giving the governors more say over appointments to the Metro board, the influence of local elected officials could be reduced.
That recommendation was questioned by Rep. Jim Moran, who said the changes “could dilute representation of local jurisdictions on the panel.”
Arlington is represented on the Metro board by county board member Chris Zimmerman.
Public Forum on Proposed Pike Streetcar — A public meeting will be held tonight to discussed the proposed Columbia Pike/Crystal City streetcar. The meeting will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street South). We’ve heard from a few streetcar critics who plan on attending the meeting. They might be surprised to learn that their sentiments aren’t shared by Gov. Bob McDonnell, who told WTOP that Arlington is doing “a good job” with the streetcar project.
Capitol City Brewing Co. Expanding in Shirlington – After losing the lease on its Capitol Hill location, Capitol City Brewing is planning on moving its brewing operations to Shirlington. The company is taking over an adjacent property to enable the expansion, which will make it one of the 10 largest brewpubs in the County. More from Shirlington Village Blog.
Comic Art Show Debuts Tomorrow — Are comic books art? That question will be answered tomorrow, when the Arlington Arts Center debuts its latest show. Party Crashers will feature “fine artists who mimic the appearance of comic art.” More from Clarendon Nights.
George Mason Drive Reopens — George Mason Drive has reopened near Virginia Hospital Center. It was closed for most of the day yesterday, following a powerful storm that knocked over trees and snapped power lines.
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99