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DEVELOPING — Delays on I-66 As Airport Van Causes Multiple Crashes

by ARLnow.com — December 13, 2010 at 10:07 am 1,188 18 Comments

(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) There were major delays on westbound I-66 between George Mason Drive and East Falls Church this morning as police investigated a series of wrecks apparently caused by a airport shuttle van.

We’ve heard reports of at least six crashes caused by the van between the Roosevelt Bridge and Sycamore Street on I-66. At least two additional crashes have been reported outside of Arlington. We’re hearing that two drivers required medical treatment.

Police temporarily shut down the ramp from westbound I-66 to Sycamore Street to allow an ambulance to access one of the crash sites.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is now confirming that airport police have arrested the driver of a blue Super Shuttle van at Dulles Airport in connection with the crashes.

“Our officers located driver and the van in front of the main terminal at Dulles, and he was taken into custody,” said airport spokesperson Courtney Mickalonis. “We’re working with other police agencies to determine exactly what happened.”

Mickalonis said airport police were initially alerted by a motorist who was struck by the van on the Dulles Access Road. She added that police did not find any passengers inside the van. It’s not known whether passengers might have gotten out before police arrived.

No word on charges at this time, but we’re hearing that the driver spit on officers while being taken into custody.

Update at 3:30 p.m. — Virginia State Police have sent out an updated press release (after the jump). Note that VSP is only counting the incidents their troopers responded to, and we stand by our count of eight crashes.

ARLINGTON CO. – Virginia State Police are coordinating with Arlington County Police and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police to investigate a series of hit-and-run crashes that occurred Monday morning (Dec. 13).

At 9:24 a.m., Virginia State Police Senior Trooper J.T. Johannes was called to investigate three hit-and-run crashes that occurred near the 70 mile marker in the westbound lanes of Interstate 66. A blue “SuperShuttle” van was headed west on I-66 when it twice sideswiped the passenger side of a Dodge Charger. The van then rear-ended a Chrysler Pacifica, which caused the Pacifica to run off the right side of the interstate and into a ditch. Next a taxicab was struck from behind by the van. The taxicab ran off the right side of the interstate and struck the guardrail.

The driver of the Pacifica and her 1-year-old daughter were transported by ambulance to Arlington Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The driver is a 33-year-old woman from Centreville. The driver was wearing a seat belt and the toddler was properly secured in a child safety seat.

None of the three individuals in the Dodge Charger was injured. The driver in the taxicab was not injured, either.

At 9:28 a.m., Virginia State Police Trooper B.G. Davis was dispatched to a hit-and-run crash that occurred in the westbound lanes of I-66 at the Dulles Connector Road/Route 267. A 2006 Mercedes C240 was rear-ended by the blue “SuperShuttle” van. The van failed to stop and got onto the Dulles Airport Access Highway.

The 47-year-old female driver from Alexandria was the only one in the Mercedes when it was struck. She was not injured in the crash.

Virginia State Police alone have charged Muhammed Teshale, 25, of the 4800 block of Kenmore Avenue in Alexandria, with one felony count of hit-and-run in Fairfax County. Additional state police charges are pending for the Arlington County crashes.

According to statements from witnesses and the van’s driver, the “SuperShuttle” was traveling westbound on I-66 between 90 and 95 mph.

  • ClarendonKing

    wow, I wonder what was going on? I’m glad I just missed that.

  • mehoo

    Looks like the Arlington drunk driving campaign started just a few minutes too late.

  • ALM

    Wow! He spit? Nasty and rude person that cannot drive.

    • mehoo

      He’s not the only one around this town.

    • Maria

      The spitting is the part of the story that bothered you? Haha

  • http://www.arlnow.com/2010/12/13/develping-delays-on-i-66-as-airport-van-causes-multiple-crashes/ ASDA

    I empathies with the crash victims, its about time the authorities start looking into the operations of Super Shuttle nationwide. Their mostly immigrant/minority drivers are subjected to involuntary servitude work condition. These drivers earn below minimum wage and work ungodly hours just to pay their employers.. Super Shuttle’s operation is was than a ponzi scheme.

    • jan

      Oh?

  • http://www.arlnow.com/2010/12/13/develping-delays-on-i-66-as-airport-van-causes-multiple-crashes/ ASDA

    correction: the last line should read – Shuttle’s operation is nothing more than a ponzi scheme.

    Reply

  • NorthAdams

    is the career path SuperShuttle and then MetroAccess or the other way around?

  • Eager to Hear

    I am eager to hear the drivers reason for all the accidents.. I suspect lack of meds. however the reason they left behind mayhem, victims and grid-lock. hope al is we now..

  • Eager to Hear

    I meant to say driver and he (not driver and they). Lastly, I hope all is well now… with the victims

  • Kim

    Just very glad the victims involved were wearing seatbelts/properly restrained and did not sustain major injuries. This could have turned out a whole lot worse. My friend missed this mess by 10 minutes!

  • http://www.arlnow.com ASDA

    Subject: Safety First, Service Always Memo
    From: ASDA
    To: BWI Drivers
    All, we are extending this memo to you an attempt to clarify whether Super Shuttle BWI management is truly committed to the safe operation of our vehicles.
    In our opinion and the opinion of many of your driving colleagues, Mr. Elliott has failed to strike a balance between the inherent conflict of safety and customer service with the driver’s necessity to make money. We’ve arrived at this conclusion based on the fact that inbound and outbound passenger counts provided by Super Shuttle reservations have not been sufficient in order to keep pace with the sharp increase in fleet levels by Mr. Elliott for the past several years. Also be aware that the Enter Finals option has nothing to do with this problem. The Enter Finals option has simply transferred the majority of driver’s idle time to the holding lot. Where we can all bear witness to the fact that BWI management has miscalculated resource requirement with respect to excessive van fleet levels in this region. The consequences of Mr. Elliott’s action has resulted in drivers taking more chances with the safe operation of their vehicles and failing to provide an acceptable level of customer service to our guest customers.
    If BWI management was truly committed to our safety as well as our guest customers, there would be an adequate amount of work consistent with the amount of vans on the lot. You would not be required to work 24 to 48 hours straight just to pay your fees. Let alone bring a sufficient amount of money home to your family so your wife won’t accuse you of having an affair with another woman because you didn’t bring home a paycheck. Driving fatigue, sleeping in vans over night while waiting for work that never comes, exposure to harsh weather condition, moral; all play a significant role in whether or not we can realistically meet the safety and customer service levels outlined in Frank Hilsher and Jackie Holloway’s ‘Safety First, Service Always’ memos.
    We conclude that ASDA associates are committed to safety and a high level of customer service to our guest customers. However, we the drivers should expect and demand the same level of customer service provided to the guest as well as the drivers from BWI management. We also challenge you the drivers to hold BWI management accountable for this level of service to the drivers and bring it to our attention when BWI management fails to do so in this regard.
    Thank you,
    ASDA

    • Another Driver/Traveler

      Yeah, that justifies running other drivers off the road and spitting on police, please. I have had great Super Shuttle drivers over the years, but lately the drivers seem to be erratic, I judge this as an occasional passanger(less and less recently) and one who daily shares the road with them. No one is forceing the drivers to stick to the job if it is really that bad. Quit taking it out on other drivers and your passangers before you or some else is killed!!!!

      • http://www.arlnow.com/2010/12/13/develping-delays-on-i-66-as-airport-van-causes-multiple-crashes/?replytocom=19262#respond ASDA

        I empathize with the crash victims. And I don’t condone reckless driving for any reason at all. But there may be more to this than meets the eye. Supershuttle drivers are under an assortment of pressures with regard to making enough money just to pay brand name fees to Super Shuttle. Let alone make living wage. The Super Shuttle business model creates various hardships that will cause the average individual to snap. In response to this unfortunate incident the authorities investigating this may be moved to look into the interworking of this company as it relates to the driver’s so-called ‘independent contractors’ status. Super Shuttle will respond to this incident in a manner that will suggest that due to the independent nature of the driver’s business arrangement with Super Shuttle, they’ll contend that they remain at an arms length of the daily operations of the loosely defined franchise owner driver. More information regarding indentured servitude can be found on the the AFL-CIO website.

        http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/speakout/Immanuel_ness.cfm

        http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/05/27/independent-contractoranother-word-for-employer-free-ride/

        • Another Driver/Traveler

          The great thing about America is that there are literally millions of other jobs and opportunities. If these driver/operators for Super Shuttle do not like the conditions, they should find another opportunity. This guy was 25, he could have had a good life serving his adopted nation in the military, instead he has put innocent lives at risk and has possibly caused some negative backlash for his immigrant/minority community.

  • a’town

    keep fear alive

  • SILVER LINE

    the silver line can’t come quick enough. I’ll never get on one of those blue vans, and it will be nice to start seeing them wither away more and more. The 5A isn’t so bad, even for a Metrobus.

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