(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) The northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway were shut down during Wednesday’s evening rush hour due to a fatal crash.
A three vehicle accident near the second overlook left one driver entrapped in his car and gravely injured. A second driver was also injured, while the third was unhurt. There were no passengers in the vehicles, according to U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods.
The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter landed just north of the accident and flew the first victim to the trauma center at Medstar, where he was later pronounced dead. The second victim was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.
Northbound and southbound GW Parkway traffic was closed following the accident and the helicopter’s landing. The Parkway remained closed until just before 10:00 p.m. while police investigated the crash, Woods said.
One driver stuck near the accident scene said via Twitter that the northbound lanes were “a parking lot.” Northbound traffic was diverted onto the Spout Run Parkway during the closures.
Around 9:45 p.m., a suspect threw hot coffee on the front desk attendant at the Best Western hotel on the 2400 block of S. Glebe Road. The suspect then hopped the counter, stole $450 in cash and a cell phone, and fled the scene in a white sedan, according to police.
A K9 unit and the helicopter were called in, but police were ultimately unable to locate the suspect.
“The suspect is described as a black male, 6’0” tall and 170 lbs,” according to the police report. “He was wearing a black hat, reading glasses, black athletic jacket, white athletic shorts and white shoes at the time of the robbery.”
Police originally received a call around 2:00 a.m. for a fight in progress in the 2000 block of N. Kenmore Street, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The victim, a homeless man who had been living in his car in the neighborhood for the past five years, said an adult Asian male had jumped on his car and started attacking him. During the struggle, the suspect — who was drunk — was able to get into the driver’s seat of the car and hit the victim with the vehicle, according to Sternbeck. The suspect then started to drive off but wrecked the car 100 feet away. Undeterred, the suspect ran back at the victim to continue assaulting him.
At that point, Sternbeck said, the victim pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed his attacker in the chest. The suspect ran off and, after arriving at the scene of the fight, police called in a helicopter to search for him. The suspect was not initially located by police but, later, a woman called police to report her boyfriend missing. The boyfriend matched the description of the suspect, and police were then able to locate the suspect in his residence, suffering from a serious chest wound, according to Sternbeck.
The suspect, identified by police as 24-year-old Andrew Lee of North Carolina, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. After an investigation, Lee was charged Monday with attempted malicious wounding and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He’s currently being held without bond at the Arlington County jail. The motive for the attack is unknown at this time, Sternbeck said.
The victim did not require transport to the hospital, according to Sternbeck.
Chopper Called in for Suspect Search — The U.S. Park Police Eagle 2 helicopter hovered over the Claremont neighborhood — near Wakefield High School — for about half an hour last night while assisting Arlington County Police in a search for several armed robbery suspects. The chopper assisted police and K-9 units on the ground in the search for the suspects in a armed robbery on the 1000 block of S. Frederick Street, in the Columbia Forest neighborhood, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Police eventually arrested three men in connection with the crime, according to police radio traffic.
Board to Consider ‘Pipestem’ Lot — The County Board is expected to decide this weekend on a controversial development proposal in the Leeway Overlee neighborhood. A developer wants to build a large new home on a parcel of land set back from the street and only connected to the street via only a thin driveway strip known as a “pipestem.” Neighbors have been fighting the plan, but to some degree state law — which emphasizes the rights of property owners — prevents the Board from completely blocking development on the lot. [Sun Gazette]
Pregnant Inmate Shackling Bill Fails Again — Del. Patrick Hope tried again this year to pass legislation restricting the use of shackles on inmates while they’re giving birth. A House of Delegates subcommittee tabled the bill on Thursday, however, prompting Hope to pledge to introduce the bill again next year. Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur presented an alternative viewpoint when she told a reporter that legislation is not the proper way to deal with the issue — state regulatory changes are. [Associated Press]
Venus Stereos Closes — Venus Stereos, a quirky electronics/soccer jersey/music store at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive, has closed. A sign in the window say the storefront, directly adjacent to the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse, is available for lease. [Pike Spotter]
Police were investigating a possible attempted sexual assault just before midnight when a man took off running. After police lost track of him, the helicopter and a K-9 unit were called in to help search a neighborhood just west of Ballston Common Mall.
Around 12:50 a.m., police located the suspect, who took off running again. Officers were able to catch up with him and take him into custody outside the church at N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Thomas Street.
Photo courtesy @navidsm
Just before 3:30 a.m., an officer radioed to dispatch that he was chasing a suspect on foot in the area of Shirlington Road and South Four Mile Run Drive. The suspect ran into an area of thick brush near Champion Billiards, where the officer apparently lost sight of him.
Police dogs and the U.S. Park Police Eagle helicopter were called in to look for the suspect. After about half an hour of combing the area, the search was called off.
Officers recovered a suspected stolen vehicle from the scene.
Hynes, the current vice-chair of the Arlington County Board, serves on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, recently joined the Metro Board of Directors, and is the Aviation Policy Liaison to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. On any given day, Hynes might be dealing with transportation issues below ground, above ground and in the sky.
On Wednesday, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., the multi-talented Hynes will host a community forum about helicopter noise. It’s a follow-up to meetings Hynes hosted in September and November, during which a number of residents voiced concerns about the noise generated by low-flying government helicopters.
Tomorrow’s meeting will discuss a proposed system for allowing more community input into helicopter issues.
Along with Hynes, the forum will include representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, a representative from the Eastern Region Helicopter Association and a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The meeting will be held in the Arlington County board room, on the third floor of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.
McDonnell Gives State of the Commonwealth Address — Speaking to a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly last night, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) urged state lawmakers to put aside their partisan differences to help solves the state’s challenges, particularly roads and transportation. He also spoke of job creation and the rapid rise of college tuition. The speech was so polished that one state delegate from our area tweeted that he thinks McDonnell “is running for president.” Despite the overall bipartisan tone, McDonnell took the time to lavish praise on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s pending lawsuit against the Democrat-backed federal health care reform bill. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post]
Arlington Cop Helps Nab Jersey Bank Robbery Suspect — While driving on westbound I-66 early Tuesday morning, an alert Arlington police officer got a hit on a vehicle belonging to a suspected bank robber out of New Jersey. The officer stayed with the car as it exited the county. Backup — in the form of Fairfax County and Virginia State Police — eventually caught up and helped arrest the suspect after he pulled off the highway in Fairfax. [Bergen Record]
Hynes to Speak About Helicopter Noise — County Board Vice-chairman Mary Hynes will discuss helicopter noise before the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments today. Noise from helicopters is a persistent source of resident complaints in Arlington. Hynes is expected to talk about what’s being done to mitigate the noise. [WTOP]
Bayou Bakery Opening Set — Cookbook author David Guas is hoping to open his Bayou Bakery coffee bar and eatery concept by November 1. The restaurant, which is taking over the old Camille’s space at 1515 North Courthouse Road, will feature Louisiana-style pastries, sweets, sausages, and other savory selections.
Rosslyn CVS To Renovate – The CVS at 1100 Wilson Boulevard will be getting a major facelift. The 26-year-old, nearly 10,000 square foot pharmacy will get a new layout, new window displays and new finishes throughout the store. No timeline was given for the construction. More from the Washington Business Journal.
Residents Vent About Helicopters — Wow. One Fairlington man who attended last night’s forum on helicopter regulations has filed more than 350 helicopter noise complaints since 2007. The forum, hosted by Arlington County Board Member Mary Hynes, featured a number of local military and air traffic control officials. The result of the forum: a pledge to hold more meetings. More from TBD.
GOP Votes to Oppose Bonds – The Arlington County Republican Committee voted last night to oppose three out of four bond referendums on the November ballot. The local GOP is saying no to bonds for Metro, parks, and community infrastructure, but yes to the $103 million school bond that will fund a new Wakefield High School. If history is any indication, however, all the bond measures are expected to easily pass. More from the Sun Gazette.
Arlington County board member Mary Hynes will lead a panel discussion about helicopters and local helicopter regulations Wednesday night at the Arlington County Board Room (2100 Clarendon Blvd, third floor).
Hynes, who chairs the Aviation Policy Committee for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, says there has been a noticeable uptick in complaints about helicopter noise in the past couple of years. She says Wednesday’s forum will allow residents to learn more about the rules that govern helicopter flights in the national capital region.
Hynes says she hopes the forum will also lead to the development of a better system for handling citizen complaint about helicopters, especially military helicopters, which are the most prevalent over Arlington.
“The focus is to have a good conversation about the impacts of the helicopter traffic on the residents, and see if there’s some way we can work with the military to lessen that impact,” she said.
Military helicopters usually fly defined routes from the Pentagon to other military installations. The flight paths are typically major highways like I-395 or waterways like the Potomac River. Even if the helicopters pilots stick to the path, however, they sometimes fly lower than they’re supposed to, irking residents.
Homeland Security and local law enforcement flights are also fairly common around Arlington, Hynes noted. News helicopters typically don’t fly over Arlington because the county is within a no-fly zone around Reagan National Airport, put into place after 9/11.