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UPDATED: Pedestrian Dies After Christmas Eve Accident

by ARLnow.com — December 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm 11,017 50 Comments

Firefighters work to extricate the driver of a vehicle involved in a critical accident on Glebe Road (photo courtesy "Dixie")

(Updated at 9:25 p.m.) A 30-year-old woman has died after she was struck by an out-of-control car in Ballston this evening, according to police.

The accident happened around 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, near the Harris Teeter on Glebe Road in Ballston. According to police, a two vehicle accident occurred on Glebe Road in the area of N. Randolph Street. One of the cars ran off the road and struck the woman, who was walking on the sidewalk. The car then struck and partially wrapped around a street tree.

The woman suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. She was pronounced dead around 8:00 p.m., Sternbeck said.

Fire department technical rescue personnel had to remove the roof of the striking vehicle, a Toyota sedan, in order to extricate the driver. The male driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was also transported to Fairfax hospital.

No information was immediately available about the other vehicle involved in the accident.

The Arlington County Police Department’s critical accident team will investigate the incident. Charges may be filed following the investigation, Sternbeck said. No word on whether the rainy weather might have played a role in the collision.

Photos courtesy @CAPT258 (bottom left) and “Dixie” (top, bottom right)

Firefighters work to extricate the driver of a vehicle involved in a critical accident on Glebe Road (photo courtesy @CAPT258) Firefighters work to extricate the driver of a vehicle involved in a critical accident on Glebe Road (photo courtesy "Dixie")

  • Rich

    Wow, that’s a really close-up picture….surprised they let you guys get so close!

    • FEMS

      The pic was taken by an ACFD battalion chief.

  • ziv

    D***. Walking along, minding your own business, thinking of Christmas, and blam!
    Life is a bitch. And all too short. Best wishes for the victim.

    • James

      Well the updated the article and the victim died. Can’t imagine what her family is going through on Christmas Eve…tragic.

      I’m wondering which way the individual was walking and which way traffic was going? Anyone know?

      Rule #1 about walking on the sidewalk…walk FACING traffic…never with your back to it. You have a chance at least to see an accident coming and avoid it. Obviously not everything can be avoided but it gives you a chance to react instead of never seeing it coming.

      • Buckingham Bandit

        Is this a joke?

        If you can’t even walk on a sidewalk without lowering your guard, then perhaps we need to reconsider how we design our roads and sidewalks. See my long comment for more detail.

      • AL

        That is a good rule to follow, regardless of whether or not there is a bike lane, parking lane, etc. in between you and the traffic. However, it’s not always practical. Given the choice between walking in the same direction and traffic and having to detour 5 minutes to walk against traffic, I’ll probably walk in the same direction as traffic and take my chances.

        Very tragic for this victim and I wish her family the best.

        • James

          You can’t always follow the rule…but even if I have to walk with traffic, Im all the way over to the right on the sidewalk and I’m looking back over my shoulder constantly.

          @Buck You can never lower you guard out on the road, biking, sidewalk, walking, etc..that’s how accidents and crime happen. Reality if you like it or not.

          • Arlingtonian

            If you walk all the way over to the right on the sidewalk, you are a tempting target for a mugger waiting in an alley or a doorway.

          • malaka

            please…let’s not get into the usual silly comments and arguments….this is too sad. Prayers are with the family.

  • NoVA RN

    Prayers for a speedy recovery to all involved, especially the pedestrian.

  • someone’s mom

    went by on my way home from the movies. road was still diverted from Glebe close to 7pm. lots of police lights. pedestrian will surely be in my prayers.

  • Witness

    I was at the scene immediately after it happened and was the first to call 911. I stood by the pedestrian’s side with others comforting her while medics arrived. It was a very scary and sad scene. My prayers are with her. Please keep us posted on her condition and if there is anything that can be done to help her family on this Christmas day.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    Hope he wasn’t distracted; we’ve got enough of that going on around here, like the Mormon Idaho senator who was arrested for DUI in Del Ray this weekend.

    Glebe Rd, between 50 and Ballston, is very much a “neighborhood” road, with pedestrians walking up and down the street on both sides. If Arlington was serious about pedestrian safety there, they’d narrow Glebe by a lane on each side, install bike lanes, widen the median, and make it safe for pedestrians to utilize the sidewalks. Does anyone remember the woman was was killed crossing Glebe at Carlin Springs near the mall a few months ago?

    I’d like to hear back on my proposal to narrow Glebe Rd in the Ballston area. Yes, speeds would be lower…I am willing to accept that as a trade-off.

    • Buckingham Bandit

      To double down on my point, I checked the satellite imagery, and to cross Glebe at Carlin Springs near the mall, the pedestrian must cross 8 lanes plus the median. In all other stretches of Glebe in the area, it is at least 7.

      Why is this relevant? The excessive amount of lanes allow motorists to attain speeds which are too high for a pedestrian-rich environment. If the driver had been going slower, perhaps this woman may have survived.

      But instead, the roads are designed with the motorist in mind, which is why Glebe Rd has more lanes than most avenues in Manhattan. It just boggles my mind.

      • http://bobsvercl.com bobco85

        I might add, in the block directly before the Glebe/Randolph intersection where the accident occurred, northbound Glebe Road goes from 2 lanes to 3 lanes (with an additional 4th left turn lane), giving vehicles more room in which to maneuver and thus allowing for higher speeds. I pass through this intersection daily, and close calls with red-light runners (although I do not know if that was the case here) happen frequently enough that a green light means to just wait a couple of extra seconds while people still force their way through.

        It still doesn’t change the fact that this happened during rainy weather, which people still have not learned to safely drive in.

      • CW

        There are lots of streets in arlington that are too dangerous. That is because the county was built out in the 1950s as a commuter community and no one expected (or cared to plan for) the level of density we see today. What you suggest would be nice but unlikely to happen. The car is still king in the upper class around here. The rich dont ride buses, some use the metro but many drive. Thus the power is against anything that is anti car. The rich want traffic calming in THEIR neighborhoods, speed bumps every ten feet in lyon village, but would probably raise all kinds of hell if you wanted to slow down an arterial.

        • DCBuff

          Wow. Injecting class conflict into a comment thread about a Christmas Eve tragedy. How sad for you. Streets are not dangerous; rather, it is how vehicles, pedestrians use those streets and how the infrastructure itself is maintained.

    • Arlingtonian

      In an effort to help local businesses, the Arlington County government is asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to permit vehicles to park in the right lanes of Glebe Road in Ballston during non-rush hours. This will narrow the traffic lanes on the Road, which may slow traffic flow. However, the change will make the road extremely dangerous for cyclists, who will risk hitting a vehicle door when someone in the vehicle opens the door without first looking outside. The County has no plans to add bike lanes anywhere along Glebe Road.

  • Nathan

    Why was she taken all the way to Fairfax?! VHC is five minutes from the scene?!

    • Buckingham Bandit

      My speculation would be that INOVA has a better-equipped trauma center.

    • NoVA RN

      VHC isn’t a trauma center. Given the severity of her injuries, VHC likely was not equipped to handle them. If she went to VHC for whatever reason, she probably would have been transferred to Fairfax (or another local trauma center) for more advanced care.

      • Arlingtonian

        George Washington University Medical Center has one of the best trauma centers in the Washington Metro Area. INOVA is almost twice the distance from the accident scene as is GW. The woman may have lost her life because the responders preferred to take her to a trauma center in Virginia, rather in D.C.

        • NoVA RN

          You must have been the 911 dispatcher who took the call last night, or one of the first responders at the scene. And if you’re not, I’m sure that Arlington County would hire you immediately regardless of training (or lack thereof) because of your wealth of knowledge.

          Per Google Maps, it’s 13 minutes to GWUH and 17 minutes to Fairfax from the scene. But do you know what the traffic conditions were like going into DC at the time, as opposed to going outbound? Do you know if GW was accepting patients by ambulance, or if they were diverting them to other hospitals because of patient volume? Let the first responders do the jobs that they’re trained to do!

          I work at neither hospital, but I can tell you based on what colleagues have said that if I ever had a life-threatening medical emergency and I had to choose between the two, I’d prefer to go to Fairfax.

    • Witness

      This is horrible news. So sad.

      I’m sure she was taken to Fairfax because that hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center. All regional traumas are best to be taken there for the best care possible as they are best equipped to handle it. VHC is not prepared to handle that the way Fairfax is.

    • CW

      Why does someone ask this every time there is an accident? Seriously, you have nothing better to do than question the actions of our insanely good first responders and medical system? Do you not think very, very well trained people have spent a LOT of time coming up with protocols for what to do with patients experiencing different levels of trauma? Hint, they have.

      • bob

        Oh no? Question something — how, how, how shocking. Glad to know that the fire department employees are monitoring comments to set us all straight. Apparently, anything they do is perfect.

        Seriously, what is the point of Arlington Hospital’s emergency room if they cannot handle emergencies? It not like Arlington is a sleepy little one-stoplight town with the veterinarian doubling as the local doctor.

        • Loocy

          Just because they are not a trauma center does not mean that they don’t handle emergencies. There are only five level one trauma centers in the entire state. To be a level one, you have to be fully staffed round the clock with neurosurgeons and other types of surgeons. It is very difficult to keep that level of staffing except in very large facilities, and it would be pointless for Arlington to set that up when there are two level ones within an easy distance.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    This is a major thoroughfare in Stuttgart, Germany. Notice the features of the road: wide median, two lanes, bike lane, parking lane, and buffered sidewalk. My guess is that pedestrians do not risk their lives when walking along, or crossing, that street.

    There is no reason why this couldn’t be implemented along Glebe in Ballston, that is, there’s nothing in here that Arlington couldn’t reasonably replicate.

    View Larger Map

    • Buckingham Bandit

      Compare it to Glebe, which I have embedded. You tell me which street you’d want your children walking up and down.

      View Larger Map

      • Arlgaltwo

        I looked at both of Buckingham Bandit’s maps and see his point. Arlington County, how do you respond?

      • YTK

        Stuttgart – Excellent, sensible layout

  • BW

    I witnessed the incident and held the woman’s head in my hands until paramedics arrived. It saddens me to think of her family having to take her gifts out from under the tree. Everyone please be careful driving.

    • NoVA RN

      I hope, if the victim’s family reads these comments, that they find some solace in the fact that people stopped and comforted their loved one at a time when she needed it most.

    • It’s Me

      To BW and Witness – thank you for the strength and humanity you both showed by comforting this woman in her last moments. She was not alone and that matters. I’m sorry for the trauma this caused you, as well. Hope you take solace in the fact she had people caring for her and I’ll assume praying for her (Christmas wreath reference). Peace to you both, the first responders and to her and her family and friends on what for them will be a very sad Christmas day. We should also keep the motorists in our thoughts. No matter who was at fault (and he/she rightly will be held accountable), nobody should have to live with the guilt caused from a momentary lapse in judgement behind the wheel that took someone else’s life.

    • loubna

      im one of her best friends she was like a sister to me and i still can’t believe she passed away.. you said you were by her side when this happened ??? can you please let me know if she said anything?? if she was conscious please let me know i’m going crazy.. she was my only friend plz??? and what was her last words plz answer

      • BW

        She was not able to speak but was aware of the people around her. She fought very hard to stay with us. Her courage was amazing and I’m sure reflected her character. My heart goes out to you and her family. Please let me know how I can help and if you or her family would like to speak with me in person. I’ll do whatever i can to help in the healing process. Can you please share her name?

        • http://www.arlnow.com/2012/12/24/breaking-pedestrian-critically-injured-in-christmas-eve-accident/?utm_source=ARLnow.com+Afternoon+Update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6d4c61956c-ARLnow.com+Af Poppy

          BW and others who stayed with the pedestrian, thank you for aiding and giving comfort. This breaks my heart. However, if any of you actually witnessed the crash/cars colliding, you may be called to testify if a driver is cited/arrested, so you might want to ask police before communicating too much with the poor victim’s friend and family (I know this from sad experience.) It will be hard to withhold comforting of those grieving, but important to be a witness, too, if the crash was thru’ bad or aggressive driving. I’m thinking of you all with gratitude for your actions.

          • BW

            Thanks. Good advice.

  • CV

    I was also at the scene, inside my car waiting to
    get to Harris Teeter. The accident happened right in front of my car,
    but to my left it was a bus blocking my view.
    So I am not quite sure which vehicle was at fault.
    Can somebody explain to me how the accident happen
    between the 2 cars? I did see the Toyota hit the
    pedestrian and the tree, I also called 911. I am very sad for her.

  • Sandra

    How exactly did the accident between both cars happen? It seems like the other car hit the Toyota first and the Toyota then lost control and struck the tree and the woman

  • JohnB2

    So sad. RIP.

  • http://clarendonnights.com Clarendon Nights

    This is very tragic, especially on Christmas Eve. Thoughts and prayers to the victim’s family.

  • Witness

    This is tragic. I’m going to lay my Christmas wreath at the base of that tree this morning. It’s all I can think to do.

    • YTK

      What a beautiful gesture. Thank you.

  • way

    People in a rush on Christmas eve probably caused this unfortunate accident

    • Tabs

      That’s pretty likely. People were driving even more distracted than usual yesterday. I nearly got hit on I-95 when a driver on the phone drifted into my lane. As a pedestrian, I nearly got run over downtown the other day.

      Tragic death. So sorry this young woman’s life has been cut short.

  • friend

    she was my friend. she was supportive, understanding. kind, generous, and so much fun to be around. It’s so sad. I’m just so shocked.

  • John E. Andre

    Typical situation… even though this apparently resulted from a collision, the problem is that vehicles always seem to get favored over pedestrians nowadays regardless of right-of-way laws. There are lots of highly questionable and hazardous thoroughfares and intersections around here…Columbia Pike and South Jefferson Street here near Baileys Crossroads is an extremely glaring case in point…several turn lanes not even controlled by the traffic signal! Hardly a week goes by without my being threatened at an intersection, even with the “walk” signal in my favor, by some dimwit driver I don’t even see horning in on me by way of a left turn from behind. It seems, that in order to survive nowadays, a pedestrian needs to have the impossible: a 360-degree field of vision. Even in supposedly “car-free” Arlington, current traffic enforcement procedures seem weighted to favor drivers over pedestrians!

  • Greg

    Very sad. I can’t even imagine. My thoughts and prayers to any family and friends reading this.

    I hope at least a couple people read this and think about it the next time they’re tempted to drive foolishly in an area with a lot of pedestrians.

    I used to live a block away from there on Randolph and got hit by a car one block away several years ago. People just don’t think about the consequences, I think.

    One opportunity for the ACPD to consider is adding more officers on foot with radar guns in high traffic areas, so maybe an accident can be prevented in the future.

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