The driver who killed an Alexandria man in a drunk driving accident in Rosslyn on Jan. 24 pleaded guilty to DUI aggravated involuntary manslaughter today.
Aman Singh Lail, 24, was traveling eastbound on Lee Highway when his Jeep Wrangler slammed into the car of 24-year-old Saqlain Chowdhury at 2:09 a.m. Chowdhury was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died.
Lail pleaded guilty in Arlington Circuit Court this morning, and will face sentencing from Judge Louise DiMatteo on Nov. 14.
Lail, a Baltimore resident, had almost three dozen traffic violations on his record in Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties since 2008, including a driving while intoxicated arrest in Arlington in 2009 and a DWI conviction in Fairfax County in 2012, according to prosecutors. Lail faces between one and 20 years in prison.
“On Jan. 24, 2014, Aman Lail decided to endanger the National Capital Region by driving drunk,” Deputy Police Chief Daniel Murray said in a press release. “This decision cost Saqlain Chowdhury his life. The aggressive investigation and prosecution by the Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team has resulted in today’s plea. While there is nothing that will bring Mr. Chowdhury back to his family, at least Aman Lail will not present a danger to the community as long as he remains behind bars.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder.
“The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is pleased that the defendant entered guilty pleas today, but there are no good outcomes here,” Burkholder said. “Our thoughts continue to be with the victim’s family and friends as they struggle with this tragedy.”
Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office
Two wrecks, two friends, two deaths, one block apart. One friend died, and the other is now facing jail time for manslaughter.
Friday morning, police say Aman Singh Lail drove drunk and slammed into another car at the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and eastbound Lee Highway in Rosslyn, killing the 24-year-old driver. Amazingly, ten months prior, his friend Sami Ullah died when, after driving 90 miles per hour across the Key Bridge, he lost control of his 2008 BMW M5 and crashed just before the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and westbound Lee Highway.
The grim coincidence is tied together by a photo Lail posted in May on his Instagram account. “The last time I saw my brother Sami,” he wrote. Also posted on Instagram: a photo of what appears to be the tricked-out Jeep involved in the wreck.
Police have released few details about this morning’s accident, only saying that it occurred just after 2:00 a.m. when Lail’s Jeep Wrangler, which was traveling eastbound on Lee Highway, collided with Saqlain Chowhury’s Chrysler Crossfire at the Fort Myer Drive intersection. So far police are not saying how fast the vehicles were traveling, which had the green light at the intersection and whether Chowhury was wearing a seat belt.
Lail, a 24-year-old Baltimore resident, is now charged with DUI Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony punishable by 1 to 20 years in prison. Given Lail’s prior driving record, he might see the upper end of that range.
As pointed out in the comments section of our initial article, Lail has faced nearly three dozen vehicle-related charges since 2008, and that’s just in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties alone. Among them:
- One for disregarding traffic lights in Fairfax County on Aug. 16, 2009
- One for Driving While Intoxicated in Arlington on Nov. 7, 2009, which was later amended to a charge of reckless driving
- Nine speeding violations, including one for going 97 in a 55 in Fairfax on Jan. 7, 2012
- One DWI conviction in Fairfax County, on Feb. 5, 2012
Lail is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.
Police say two vehicles, a Jeep and a sedan, were involved in a t-bone collision around 2:00 a.m. The Jeep, traveling eastbound on Lee Highway, struck the sedan and a 24-year-old man in the sedan died, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and has since been charged with DUI and involuntary manslaughter. From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is currently investigating a fatal motor vehicle accident which occurred in Rosslyn at the intersection of Lee Highway and Fort Myer Drive at 2:09 AM on January 24, 2014.
A Jeep Wrangler, operated by Aman Singh Lail, 24, of Baltimore, Maryland was travelling eastbound on Lee Highway when it struck a Chrysler Crossfire being operated by Saqlain Chowdhury, 24, of Alexandria, Virginia.
Mr. Chowdhury was transported by paramedics from the Arlington County Fire Department to the George Washington University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Mr. Lail has been charged with Driving Under the Influence – Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter. He is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.
The eastbound lanes of Lee Highway were closed for approximately five hours, opening shortly before 7:00 AM.
Police are asking anyone with information concerning this incident to contact Detective Sara Bertollini of the Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team at (703) 228-4243.
Screenshot via NBC4
A Maryland man has been arrested and charged with negligent homicide following a fatal crash on Memorial Circle.
The crash occurred in the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 11. According to police, a vehicle was heading outbound on the Memorial Bridge when it “lost control and overturned for unknown reasons” at the circle. At the time, the deceased — 36-year-old Katharine Jane Rahim of Reston — was said to be the vehicle’s sole occupant.
However, police now say the vehicle’s driver, 24-year-old Carlos Joel Alonso, fled the scene prior to the arrival of first responders.
“United States Park Police investigated the crash which revealed negligence of the operator resulting in the fatality of passenger,” according to a Park Police news release. “Alonso… left the scene [and] was found several hours later at Columbia Island Marina.”
Alonso, a Maryland resident, was arrested yesterday (Dec. 3) on charges of negligent homicide. He surrendered his passport and was released on bond, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 13.
(Updated on 12/4/13) A woman died early this morning in a single-vehicle accident on Memorial Circle.
The fatal crash happened at about 1:20 a.m. A vehicle was heading outbound on the Memorial Bridge when it “lost control and overturned for unknown reasons” at Memorial Circle, according to U.S. Park Police. The deceased was identified by police as 36-year-old Katharine Jane Rahim of Reston.
“One vehicle was involved and the sole occupant, an adult female died at the scene,” police said. The bridge and the circle were closed for several hours this morning for an accident investigation.
A 21-year-old Alexandria man is expected to enter a plea in the case of a fatal Christmas Eve pedestrian accident in Ballston.
An attorney for Farhan Khan told an Arlington Circuit Court judge yesterday that Khan intends to enter a plea. He’s currently charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 30-year-old Shabnam Motahhar-Tehrani of Nokesville, Va.
Khan is accused of running a red light and causing the collision that killed Motahhar-Tehrani, who was standing on a sidewalk on the afternoon of Dec. 24, 2012. The involuntary manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The plea is expected to be entered during a court hearing on Monday, Sept. 30.
A makeshift memorial was set up this week at the site of a fatal crash in Rosslyn.
Sami Ullah, a 21-year-old Leesburg resident, died Sunday when the BMW M5 he was driving hit a curb and flipped several times after speeding across the Key Bridge at up to 90 miles per hour. The car came to rest on its roof, in the bushes in front of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn.
Two passengers, ages 21 and 22 and both also from Leesburg, were seriously injured in the wreck.
A memorial was set up at the site, featuring dozens of flowers and a poster showing photos of Ullah with friends and family.
“Rest in paradise,” the poster said. Remnants from the crash and the emergency response — including muddy tire tracks, broken glass, a paramedic’s latex glove and the destroyed section of bushes — could still be seen at the site.
Ullah was preparing to graduate from Virginia Tech and pursue a Master’s degree in business, WJLA reported.
Arlington County police are still investigating the circumstances leading to the crash.
Hat tip to Ian Luria
The incident happened around 5:00 a.m. Police say a 21-year-old man from Leesburg was driving a white 2008 BMW M5 at approximately 90 miles per hour over the Key Bridge when the car hit the curb of a traffic island on the Rosslyn side of the bridge, flipped 5 times and ended up in the bushes of the Key Bridge Marriott. The force of the accident sheared the sports car’s roof off, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
There were two passengers, ages 21 and 22 and both from Leesburg, in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, one passenger was ejected and found unconscious a short distance from the vehicle, and the other was pulled from the wreck by VDOT workers who witnessed the accident, Sternbeck said. Both passengers were transported to a local hospital with what were described as critical injuries. They remain in serious condition. One passenger is in a medically-induced coma with three broken vertebrae, a broken left scapula, pulmonary contusions, and hemotoma around the heart, according to police.
The driver has been identified by police as 21-year-old Sami Ullah of Leesburg. Yesterday, less than 24 hours before the accident, Ullah posted a photo of his car on Instagram with the caption “I call her Snow White. #m5 #beast #snowWhite #conlosterroristas #570 #ponies #vroomVroom.”
Photo (top) via @jamesp326. Photos (bottom) courtesy Rob Laybourn. Hat tip to @CAPT258.
An elderly man is dead after becoming trapped during a fire in his apartment in the 2900 block of S. Buchanan Street in Fairlington.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl, smoke was coming from the top level apartment when crews arrived on the scene. Capt. Karl said because the investigation has just begun, it’s unclear exactly what started the fire and whether the man died from burns or smoke inhalation.
According to a law enforcement source, the fire is not considered suspicious. The victim was reportedly a hoarder and clutter prevented him from escaping from his apartment when the fire broke out. We’re told he was the only person in the apartment at the time and was found dead on the scene when rescue crews arrived. Nobody in any neighboring units was hurt.
About 10 residents have been displaced from their apartments while the investigation is underway, according to Capt. Karl. They are being allowed to seek shelter at the Fairlington Community Center until they receive word about being able to head back to their apartments.
Courtesy photo (top)
Rehabbed Bridge to Be More Ped-Friendly — Arlington County is preparing to rehabilitate the Carlin Springs Road bridge over George Mason Drive, and the bridge’s chosen design will make it much more pedestrian-friendly. Currently, the bridge only has a pair of 5 foot sidewalks. The new bridge will have 8 foot sidewalks and 5 foot bike lanes on either side, but with narrower lanes for cars and no center divider. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington HQ’d Firm Gets New Name — The security contractor formerly known as Blackwater — now headquartered in Arlington — has a new name. The company’s name was changed to ‘Xe’ about three years ago, amid controversy over Blackwater’s role in civilian deaths in Iraq. On Monday the name was changed again, to ‘Academi.’ [Washington Post]
Wakefield Grad Dies in Crash — Casey Noriega, a 2000 graduate of Wakefield High School, was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Saturday in Fairfax County. Noriega, 29, was the mother of a 7-year-old son. [Kingstowne Patch]
Flickr pool photo by wfyurasko
Munkhbayar was walking on Route 50 early Friday morning when he was struck by a vehicle near the N. Rhodes Street ramp. By the time someone saw Munkhbayar’s body laying in the roadway and called police, the Arlington resident was already dead.
Today police revealed that they believe a 2005-2007 Mitsubishi delivery truck was the striking vehicle. Police say the truck “would have noticeable damage to the front passenger side and passenger side grill/headlight.”
Investigators are asking for the public’s help in solving the crime.
“Police ask that anyone who may have seen a man walking on eastbound Route 50, or witnessed the accident, contact Detective Paul Marseilles at (703) 228-4237,” police said in a statement. “Detective Marseilles can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The above photo, provided by the Arlington County Police Department, shows a truck similar to the model suspected of hitting Munkhbayar. See more photos here.
An 18-year-old Arlington man has pleaded guilty to reckless driving after a crash that killed a 28-year-old woman and her dog near Washington-Lee High School.
Joseph DiFilippo pleaded guilty in Arlington General District Court on Aug. 25, prosecutors say. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, but the entirety of the jail term was suspended on the condition of good behavior and the completion of 200 hours of community service. DiFilippo is also required to speak about his actions before monthly driver’s license presentation ceremonies held at the Arlington County courthouse. Additionally, his driver’s license was suspended six months, the maximum allowed by state law.
“Pursuant to a plea agreement, three other traffic infractions were dismissed,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Clarke. She noted that DiFilippo had a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident, despite an initial charge of driving without a license.
Members of the victim’s family were present at the sentencing hearing, and testified about how the accident impacted their lives, Clarke said.
The accident occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, April 11, as 28-year-old Arlington resident Alison Drucker was walking her dog across the Quincy Street Bridge. A statement of facts was not entered as part of the plea, but after the accident police said that a pickup truck driven by DiFilippo struck Drucker and her dog, Buckley, as the truck was traveling northbound on Quincy Street. The dog died at the scene and Drucker suffered a serious head injury. She died in the hospital two weeks later.
Prosecutors say the plea deal’s lack of jail time was a reflection of the evidence in the case.
“The charge brought against the defendant and the plea agreement which was reached was based upon extensive consideration of the evidence. Some cases are stronger than others and we are limited by the unique facts and evidence of each case,” Clarke said. “After consideration of the facts of this case, the case law which has interpreted and applied the Virginia reckless driving statute, and our burden of proof, we concluded that the plea agreement was appropriate.”
“As prosecutors, our decisions must be based upon the law and the evidence,” Clarke added. “However, as people, our hearts go out to the Alison Drucker’s family. The plea agreement should in no way be seen as a reflection of the great sympathy we have for the Drucker family and the loss which they have suffered.”
Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal says the victim, Arlington resident Zorigoo Munkhbayar, was walking on Route 50 in the Courthouse area for reasons unknown this morning. Around 3:00 a.m., a car struck Munkhbayar and fled the scene, according to police, who were called when a passerby spotted the man’s body.
Police shut down eastbound Route 50 from Washington Boulevard to Rhodes Street to conduct an accident investigation. The road just reopened, but not before causing a major headache for commuters who had to seek an alternate route to the District for much of the morning rush hour.
On Facebook, a man named Zorigoo Munkhbayar is listed as a 2008 Yorktown High School grad, but so far police have not been able to confirm any details about the victim. Police are also not providing a description of the striking vehicle at this time.
Man Killed on Key Bridge Was Arlington Resident — Police say 23-year-old Arlington resident Aliester Elizardo Pineda-Medrano was walking his broken-down moped across the Key Bridge when he was struck and killed by an SUV Sunday night. The man who police say struck Pineda-Medrano and kept going has also been identified. [WUSA 9]
DMV Back Open After Roof Blown Off — A large section of the metal roof atop the DMV building on South Four Mile Run Drive blew off during Friday’s fierce winds. Nonetheless, the DMV opened as usual on Monday. [TBD]
Women of Vision Finalists Named — The Arlington Commission on the Status of Women has unveiled the four nominees for its 2011 ‘Women of Vision’ award. The winner of the award will be announced at a reception on March 10. [Sun Gazette]
ArlingtonSenator.com Registered — State political blogger Ben Tribbett has been mentioned as a possible candidate in the race to replace retiring state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple. The 31-year-old is at least considering a run. Domain records show Tribbett has registered ArlingtonSenator.com. [Network Solutions]