Arlington County Police are closing the investigation into the fatal pedestrian crash that occurred in front of Nottingham Elementary School on Feb. 24.
After a month-and-a-half accident investigation, police have charged 33-year-old Manassas resident Marvin Valladres with “failure to pay full time and attention,” a traffic infraction. He will not face more serious criminal charges, like negligence or involuntary manslaughter.
Valladres had just left a nearby construction site and was driving his dump truck down N. Little Falls Road around 11:30 a.m. when a passenger side step caught the open rear sliding door on 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson’s minivan, according to investigators. Lawson had just finished putting her young child in a car seat and was standing next to the driver’s side door when the truck drove by, ripping the sliding door off the minivan and fatally injuring her, police said.
Following the crash, neighbors in the Williamsburg neighborhood held a community meeting, with many calling for answers and accountability. Investigators, however, believe this is a case of a tragic accident.
Valladres was “very cooperative” during the investigation, there was “no indication of any driver distraction or alcohol involved” in the accident, and there was also “no indication of any speeding violation,” according to ACPD Dep. Chief Daniel J. Murray.
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) About 100 residents packed the auditorium at Nottingham Elementary School last night, less than three weeks after a mother placing a child in her minivan was killed by a dump truck in front of the school.
Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott gave members of the Williamsburg Civic Association updates on the investigation into the death of 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson, and he took questions from more than 20 residents, most of whom demanded action to increase pedestrian safety in the area.
Scott said the driver of the truck was neither speeding nor distracted when his vehicle struck Lawson’s minivan.
“The driver has been very cooperative with the investigation,” Scott said. “We’ve done a forensic exam of his cell phone and that was not an issue… This was not a cut-through traffic situation. This gentleman was doing contract work in your neighborhood. He had been in and out of the neighborhood a couple of times that day.”
“It was a matter of inches,” he said.
Speakers said the police presence in the area for a few days after the collision has since disappeared, leading many to criticize the police’s presence along Lee Highway nearby, where cars are frequently stationed for hours. Scott said that squad cars are placed where there are the most complaints, but even if they were in the residential neighborhood, “a majority of the tickets we write are to people who live in those communities.”
Julie Monticello, a mother of six who lives on N. Ohio Street across from the school, said members of the community have to also look inward after the accident.
“I couldn’t sleep that night not only because of Jen, but also because of that dump truck driver, because it could have been any of us,” she said, while fighting back tears. “I know that’s so hard to say. That man is not a murderer, everyone should say a prayer for that man, because he’s not a murderer.”
Monticello was not the only person to get emotional while speaking on the microphone. Richard Sheehey, who lives on N. Kensington Street, choked up several times during his plea for speed bumps and a lower speed limit on his street and throughout the neighborhood. There had been a traffic calming committee a few years ago, Sheehey said, but they were one vote from approving changes and the committee has since been disbanded.
“I get very emotional about this,” he said. “I don’t want to see what happened to Jen happen to any one of our kids… Nobody likes speed bumps, but it’s the No. 1 way to slow traffic down. If a car hits a child at 25 mph, that child has a good chance of survival. If a car hits a child at 35 mph, that kid’s going to die. So please help us.”
Del. Patrick Hope (D) was in attendance, and told the civic association that he plans to introduce a bill in the House of Delegates next year that would allow localities to lower their speed limits below the state minimum of 25 mph to 20 mph. A majority of the speakers agreed that even 20 mph was too fast for the streets in the area.
“Fifteen miles-per-hour just tells people that there are people crossing the street,” Monticello said. “When there’s children crossing the street constantly, the speed limit has to be 15. Twenty-five doesn’t send the message.” (more…)
Wakefield Advances to Regional Title Game — Wakefield High School’s boys basketball team defeated Broad Run last night 85-80, advancing the Warriors to the regional title game of the 5A North Region Tournament. Senior Re’Quan Hopson scored 29 points during the game. [Sun Gazette]
Police Look for Witnesses to Fatal Crash — Arlington County Police are seeking witnesses to the Feb. 24 crash that killed 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson. Lawson was struck by a dump truck on Little Falls Road after volunteering at Nottingham Elementary School. Detectives believe two vehicles were behind the truck and would like to interview the drivers. [Arlington County]
United Way Donates $260K to Arlington Nonprofits — The United Way has donated nearly $260,000 to 20 Arlington nonprofits. The list of nonprofits receiving grants includes the Arlington Pediatric Center, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Arlington Thrive and others. [Sun Gazette]
John Youngs Dies — John Youngs, a past president of the Arlington Bar Association and former head of the Arlington public defenders office, has died after a long battle with brain cancer. Youngs was 69. “John fought the good fight and he is now at peace,” the bar association said in an email to its members.
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A memorial fund has been established for Jennifer Lawson, the Arlington mom who was killed after being struck by a dump truck in front of Nottingham Elementary School yesterday morning.
Lawson, 39, was placing her two-year-old daughter in the rear seat of her minivan, after volunteering at the school, when the truck struck her and the side of the van. Her daughter was unhurt. Her two sons, who attend Nottingham, were inside the school at the time.
The family had recently returned from a vacation to Costa Rica, we’re told.
A close friend of the family, Trent Livingston, has set up a fund to “help offset the unforeseen costs of this tragic event” and to benefit Lawson’s three children. He hopes to raise $5,000.
“[Jennifer] was such a great mom, so devoted to her husband and her family,” Livingston told ARLnow.com from his home in Seattle. “She leaves behind so many friends who love her so much. This has just been so shocking and so terrible.”
As of 11:30 a.m. the fund had raised $620. As of 3:15 p.m. it had raised $7,439.
So far, no charges have been filed against the driver of the dump truck. That could change at any minute, though.
“Because of the nature of the accident, the investigation is going to take a little longer,” according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson. “It’s much more in-depth than most accident investigations.”
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A woman has died after being struck by a dump truck on N. Little Falls Road, in front of Nottingham Elementary School.
The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. as the woman was placing a young child in the rear seat of her minivan, which was parked on the side of the street, according to police. The force of the collision sheared off the van door but the child was uninjured.
The woman, identified as 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson, was reported to be unconscious when paramedics arrived. She was rushed to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital but died this afternoon, police said.
The child was not a student at the school, but Lawson does have other children who attend the school, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson. The child, a little girl, could be seen being picked up from the school by a friend or family member about an hour after the incident.
Little Falls Road was shut down for most of the day as police investigated the accident. It as since reopened.
The truck belongs to Titan Erosion Control of Manassas. So far there’s no word on any pending charges against the driver.
“The investigation remains ongoing,” Watson told ARLnow.com around 5:00 p.m. Witnesses who have not yet talked to officers are being encouraged to call police.
“Police are asking that anyone with any information regarding this accident contact Arlington County Police Detective Mohammed Tabibi at (703) 228-4618, or at Mtabibi@arlingtonva.us,” ACPD said via a press release.
A pedestrian suffered serious injuries after being struck by a wrong-way driver in Clarendon Sunday night.
The incident happened around 9:00 p.m., in front of the Clarendon Ballroom on Wilson Blvd.
The driver “blew through” the traffic light at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and Washington Blvd, went up Wilson going the wrong way, ran up on the sidewalk, struck the side of the Clarendon War Memorial and smashed into several cars, according to witness accounts. The driver also struck a pedestrian, who witnesses say was lying in the street following the collision.
The pedestrian was transported to George Washington University Hospital with serious injuries, according to scanner traffic.
Update at 2:35 p.m. — Police say the driver, 36-year-old Arlington resident Benjamin Andruss, has been charged with DUI. From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department arrested and charged a 36 year-old Arlington man following a pedestrian struck incident in the 3100 block of N. Wilson Boulevard.
Emergency Communications Center dispatchers began receiving numerous calls at 9:01 p.m. on January 12, 2014 for a vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction on Wilson Boulevard in the Clarendon area. Several minutes later, the 2010 Mercedes Benz struck four parked vehicles, along with a 33 year-old Washington, D.C. man. The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to GW hospital.
The driver, Benjamin Andruss, 36, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with DUI and DUI refusal.
Arlington police have released details of this morning’s pedestrian accident on Route 1 near Crystal City.
In a press release, police say a 38-year-old Arlington resident is fighting for his life after being struck by a taxi in the southbound lanes between 20th and 23rd Streets.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team responded to a pedestrian struck incident at 2:39 a.m. on December 6, 2013 in the 2200 block of Jefferson Davis Highway. The victim, a 38 year-old Arlington man, was transported by emergency personnel to GW Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police preliminary investigation reveals that the victim was attempting to cross a five lane portion of Jefferson Davis Highway when he was struck by a taxicab driving southbound. A passerby reported the incident and the driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. As a result of the investigation, the driver of the striking vehicle was not charged.
The southbound lanes of Jefferson Davis Highway were closed for several hours during the investigation and were re-opened by 6:00 a.m.
Pedestrian Struck on Route 1 — Added at 9:15 a.m. — The southbound lanes of Route 1 were closed this morning while police investigated a serious pedestrian accident. A pedestrian was reported struck by a car between 20th Street and 23rd Street overnight. [WJLA]
Civ Fed Considering Televising Meetings — The Arlington County Civic Federation, which has been trying to retain its relevance in the 21st century, is considering televising its meetings either on local cable or the internet. [Sun Gazette]
Firefighters Collecting Money for Kids’ Coats — Arlington County firefighters have launched a fundraising drive online intended to help buy winter coats for children in need in Arlington. [Operation Warm]
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.
The pedestrian who was struck by a county employee in a pickup truck in Crystal City last week remains in the hospital with serious leg and back injuries.
The victim, a Marine Corps Veteran, was struck by a Ford F-350 driven by Linwood Knight, a lift operator for the Department of Environmental Services, police said. According to county Director of Human Resources Marcy Foster, Knight is still employed by the county. The county does not disclose disciplinary action.
Knight was charged at the scene with failure to yield to a pedestrian, Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Mike Watson said. The investigation has concluded and no other charges are pending.
“Unless it’s a death or a serious injury, we don’t call for a criminal investigation,” Watson said.
The victim’s attorney, Bruce Deming, declined to comment on what his client’s next legal steps will be, but he is gathering information in the course of his own investigation. He said the victim’s first name is Carmen, but couldn’t reveal her last name.
Deming posted twice in the comments section of the original article on ARLnow.com requesting those claiming they were at the scene when the accident occurred contact him. He said the last name Cole, which was posted in the comments section, is incorrect.
“She has a terrific attitude and she’s fighting hard,” Deming said, confirming Friday morning that she was still hospitalized. “She’s suffered very significant injuries.”
(Updated on 7/12/13) An Arlington County pickup truck struck a pedestrian in Crystal City this afternoon.
The county-owned Ford F-350 struck a female pedestrian on 12th Street between Army Navy Drive and Long Bridge Drive, according to scanner traffic. The woman was found under the truck and suffered non-life threatening injuries, including a leg and back injury.
The victim was transported to a local hospital. A police investigator took photos of the scene to document the incident. Firefighters were later called to the scene to wash blood from the pavement.
It’s unclear which county agency the truck belongs to. An Arlington County Police spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The incident happened at the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Veitch Street just before 9:00 a.m. Via a traffic camera, it appears that the pedestrians were attempting to cross Lee Highway on the western side of the intersection when they were struck near the center median.
One of the victims suffered a head injury, while the other suffered a possible back injury, according to scanner traffic. Both victims’ injuries are described as relatively minor.
Man Struck by Car in Clarendon Runs Race — Michael Sizemore, 28, is making a remarkable recovery after being struck by a car in Clarendon and nearly dying this past fall. Sizemore, who suffered a fractured skull and two broken legs in the accident, among other injuries, ran a 5K race in Martinsville, Va., near his hometown of Collinsville, this past Saturday. Sizemore’s father, girlfriend, friends and other families were on hand to cheer him on. [Martinsville Bulletin, Facebook]
Residents Speak Out at Tax Rate Hearing — It was a much shorter affair than Tuesday’s nearly four hour public budget hearing, but a public hearing on Arlington County’s proposed tax rate drew a small crowd of activists Thursday night. Those advocating for more affordable housing and social services asked the County Board to raise taxes up to the legal maximum of 5 cents, while budget hawks asked for no tax increase or, at minimum, following the County Manager’s recommendation for a 3.2 cent tax increase. [Sun Gazette]
County to Hold Student ‘ART’ Contest — The county is challenging budding middle school and high school artists in Arlington to design a pedestrian safety-themed “wrap” for buses. The winning entry will be used to wrap one ART bus. The submission deadline is June 3. [Arlington County]
A man who was struck by a car and critically injured Wednesday night is expected to survive.
The man was apparently trying to cross Carlin Springs Road near Kenmore Middle School when he was struck by a southbound vehicle, suffering what police described as “severe head trauma.” The man is expected to survive, although severe head injuries are often debilitating.
“The victim remains in a medically induced coma at this time but is expected to survive,” Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow.com. “His wife informed our lead detective on the case that he is in stable condition.”
The man is an Arlington Public Schools teacher. The school system declined to identify the school at which he teaches.
“Students have been told that the teacher was in an accident and to keep him in their thoughts,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. “Unfortunately I can’t release his name because of privacy issues.”
Police remained on scene for hours to investigate the accident. So far there’s no word on whether any charges will be filed.
(Updated at 10:15 p.m.) Arlington County police are investigating a serious pedestrian accident on Carlin Springs Road, in front of Kenmore Middle School.
Around 7:00 p.m., a man in his 30s was struck by a car on Carlin Springs Road just south of Route 50, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The man suffered “severe head trauma” and was transported in critical condition to Inova Fairfax Hospital.
The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene, Sternbeck said. The driver was eventually transported to a local hospital for minor injuries caused by broken glass.
Carlin Springs Road was closed to traffic between Route 50 and 2nd Street while police investigated the accident. The ramp from eastbound Route 50 to Carlin Springs Road was also closed.
Firefighters were called to the scene to wash down a pool of blood where the man came to rest on the roadway.