Despite some reader sentiment that Arlington Transit’s ART buses drive dangerously, incident records from Arlington and WMATA appear to debunk any claim that ART bus drivers crash at a significantly higher rate than other urban bus drivers.
According to crash statistics provided by Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, ART buses have had 26 “preventable accidents” this year, a rate of 2.23 accidents per 100,000 miles of revenue service. This number accounts for minor scrapes, including incidents in the ART bus depot.
ART bus drivers came under renewed scrutiny last week when one was charged with reckless driving after causing a seven-car crash on Columbia Pike last week, sending four people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. That driver, 26-year-old Agere Sileshi, had been driving in “revenue service” for four weeks, and is “currently on administrative leave,” according to DES spokesman Eric Balliet.
Sileshi is an employee of contractor National Express Transit, which declined comment through a spokesperson on Sileshi’s employment status and ART bus’ driving records. Sileshi was driving in the Columbia Pike Plaza parking lot and the bus was out of service when the crash occurred. Balliet said “no ART route goes into that parking lot.”
Balliet said the average crash rate for buses in “an urban environment” is between 1.0 and 2.0, but many jurisdictions do not tally the minor incidents Arlington does. WMATA also counts those incidents, and, according to spokesman Dan Stessel, Metrobus’ rate in 2013 was 2.16 per 100,000 miles — just under ART’s 2.23 accident rate.
“You can rack up a lot of ‘collisions’ during the overnight hours as hundreds of buses are moved around tight spaces in bus depots for service, cleaning and refueling,” Stessel noted.
Balliet pointed out that ART has received high safety marks in recent years, including an American Public Transportation Association’s Gold Safety Award in 2011, an award for the service’s pedestrian safety training in 2012 and had a 90 percent satisfaction rate in a 2013 ridership survey. Baillet also says every ART bus driver must go through 120 hours of operator training.
Despite the statistical evidence, some around Arlington have said it’s only a matter of time before an ART bus causes more serious injuries. Serkan Altan, a Columbia Pike resident, has been contacting Arlington transit officials complaining about their drivers’ behavior.
“ART bus drivers are driving crazy in my area, especially around Dinwiddie Street,” Altan wrote in an email. “ART supervisors… were made aware of the safety issues with its [reckless] drivers, especially in that area where I live. They should be held liable.”
(Updated at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday) Seven vehicles — five cars, an ART bus and a mixing truck — were involved in a collision at about 5:45 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm, the ART bus was in the parking lot of Columbia Pike Plaza when a car turned in front of it. The ART bus, driven by 26-year-old Agere Sileshi, struck the car, at which point Sileshi lost control of the bus, Malcolm said.
The bus pushed the car into a parked vehicle, Sileshi accelerated and pushed all three vehicles over the brick retaining wall and onto S. Dinwiddie Street, Malcolm said. There, the bus hit three cars stopped at a red light, creating another chain reaction in which the seventh vehicle, a parked car, was pushed into benches and a tree on the sidewalk in front of Arlington Mill Community Center.
Sileshi was charged with reckless driving for failure to control her vehicle, Malcolm said. Three motorists were transported from the scene with non-life-threatening injuries, as was one pedestrian “struck by flying debris.”
Westbound Columbia Pike was closed for more than an hour around the scene as emergency crews from Arlington and Fairfax sort out the aftermath, which included cars strewn all over the intersection and a substantial part of the brick wall along Dinwiddie Street destroyed.
In addition to the cars and walls damaged, several bicycles parked in front of Arlington Mill Community Center were damaged in the accident, and at least two benches affixed to the ground were either destroyed or displaced.
An SUV jumped the curb, crashed through a wooden fence, took out a stop sign and came to a stop just before the Bluemont Park sign in a single-vehicle accident this afternoon.
At about 3:30 p.m., a teenage driver was involved in the crash at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester Street and fled the scene down the nearby W&OD trail. The driver returned soon after and was being questioned by police.
Airbags deployed in the vehicle, but there were no injuries reported.
A bicyclist was struck and injured by a car near Memorial Circle last night.
The accident happened between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. on a northbound ramp from the GW Parkway to Memorial Circle and Memorial Bridge.
Initial reports suggest a taxicab rear-ended a car that had stopped to let a group of bicyclists cross the road at a crosswalk. The car then struck at least one of the cyclists.
U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods would only confirm that a cyclist was struck and was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The eastbound lanes of Route 50 were temporarily closed around 1:30 this afternoon due to a three-vehicle accident.
Two people were transported to the hospital as a result of the wreck, which occurred at the intersection with N. Fillmore Street.
The eastbound lanes have since reopened.
Two drivers were involved in a head-on collision this morning on S. Carlin Springs Road, closing down the northbound lanes for about an hour.
A Toyota Corolla and Ford station wagon collided when, according to the driver of the Corolla, the station wagon started to turn left into Long Branch Nature Center, crossing into her lane before she could brake. The crash occurred at about 11:00 a.m.
An ambulance arrived on the scene but both drivers refused medical attention. The Corolla driver, who declined to give her name and was visibly shaken up, suffered only a minor abrasion on her chin. Both airbags in her car deployed.
All lanes of S. Carlin Springs Road have since reopened.
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters and paramedics responded to a serious multi-vehicle accident on the GW Parkway this afternoon.
The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. near the Windy Run overpass, northwest of Spout Run. Three vehicles collided in the northbound lanes, sending one of the cars off the roadway and down an embankment, nearly to the Potomac below.
Two people were in that car; at least one was trapped following the accident and had to be extricated by a rescue team.
One of the victims was flown to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, via a U.S. Park Police helicopter, with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Sean O’Connell. The other victim in the car was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
A third person was injured in one of the other cars involved in the accident. That individual was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with moderate, non-life-threatening injuries, O’Connell said.
All lanes of the GW Parkway were closed between Spout Run and Route 123 following the accident, according to WTOP. Closures remain in place as police investigate the wreck.
Photo courtesy @CAPT258
Two parents and a small child are at Inova Fairfax Hospital this afternoon after a two-car collision at the intersection of Route 50 and N. Park Drive.
The two adults were transported in “serious, but non-life-threatening condition,” according to a police officer on the scene, and a small child, with them in the car, was taken with them as a precaution, although the child appeared healthy.
The accident was reportedly caused when a Dodge sedan turned left from eastbound Route 50 into N. Park Drive, but “misjudged how much space there was.” The family’s Mazda sedan, going straight westbound on a green light, crashed into the side of the Dodge, causing both to spin out.
Only one lane of westbound Route 50 and the left turn lane from eastbound Route 50 were closed while police and rescue crews responded to the scene. All lanes have since re-opened.
The accident happened in the mainline lanes near King Street just before 5:00 p.m. Medics are reportedly evaluating two people: a pregnant woman and a person with a head injury.
Currently, three lefthand lanes are blocked by the emergency response. Traffic is backing up just past the Pentagon.
The accident was reported around 5:30 a.m. at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Little Falls Road. Witnesses say the motorcyclist hit a curb and then hit the pavement, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
Medics responded and transported the biker, who suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Marchegiani said.
Glebe Road was shut down in both directions for part of the morning commute while police investigated the crash. It’s suspected that the motorcyclist was driving under the influence, according to Arlington police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
A source tells ARLnow.com that the woman was intoxicated and within a restricted portion of the building’s rooftop when she fell through an old incinerator chute to her death. Police investigated the incident but no foul play is suspected and investigators believe it to be a “tragic accident,” we’re told.
No additional information is available about the accident at this time. An Arlington County Police spokesman declined comment.
Garvey suffered a broken collarbone after falling while biking on a downhill route in Fairlington Friday afternoon, she said. It happened “near the end of S. Buchanan Street,” where Buchanan turns into 27th Road S.
“I hit a hole in the road (not a pothole, just an odd hole),” Garvey told ARLnow.com via email Monday morning. “I know to avoid it and have managed before to not fall when I’ve hit it, but it’s hard to see. I’m a little battered and bruised, but fine.”
Garvey said she will also be absent from Tuesday’s County Board meeting, but will be watching on TV. She was able to watch some of Saturday’s meeting when not meeting with doctors.
“Moving hurts,” Garvey said. “[I] will be resting for a few more days, but staying in touch by email and phone… It will be a few months before I’m on my bike again.”
Garvey, who was first elected to the County Board in March 2012 after spending 15 years on the Arlington School Board, said there’s a lesson to be learned from her accident.
“Always wear a helmet when biking,” she wrote. “[I] have a goose egg on my forehead, but [it] would have been a much different story without the helmet.”
The collision happened around 7:40 p.m. near the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Old Glebe Road. Though the circumstances of the accident are unclear, both cyclists involved were injured and transported to the hospital, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
Both cyclists were described as adult males. One was transported to Virginia Hospital Center in “stable” condition.
The other suffered what was initially described as a “serious head injury.” Marchegiani would only say that he suffered a “serious traumatic injury” and was transported to a local trauma center.
Though a connection could not be immediately confirmed, the intersection is on the route for the popular Freshbikes Tuesday Night Ride Series, which kicked off for the season last night at 7:00 p.m.
Photo via Google Maps
Update at 9:45 a.m. — Arlington County reports that all lanes have reopened.
All westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes of Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) are shut down due to an accident, according to Arlington County’s Office of Emergency Management.
The accident happened near the intersection with Henderson Road. A vintage Corvette and two other vehicles were reportedly involved in the accident, according to Twitter users.
Commuters should expect significant delays in both directions. Metro says 4A and 4B buses are experiencing delays up to 20 minutes in both directions as a result of the accident.
Photo via comments section
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A worker is fighting for his life after his head was crushed by a trailer hitch in the Arna Valley View neighborhood, between Pentagon City and Shirlington.
The accident happened around 1:15 p.m, outside an apartment complex in the area of 26th and S. Troy Streets. Initial reports indicate that an older man was working under a white van with a trailer attached, trying to fix a tire, when something happened to cause the trailer hitch to come down on the man’s head, crushing it.
An Arlington County Fire Department technical rescue team worked for 30-45 minutes to safely lift up the van and free the victim, who’s said to be alive but in critical condition with a grievous head injury. He was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.
The victim’s son, who was working with his dad at the time of the accident, helped to flag down emergency responders. Unconfirmed reports suggest the men work for a pool services company.