The man who was hit by a car while walking in Clarendon two months ago is making progress in his recovery, but there’s a long road ahead.
Just yesterday (Thursday), 27-year-old Michael Sizemore underwent another surgery to re-attach the section of skull that was removed to alleviate pressure on his brain. The accident had left him with a variety of serious injuries including a fractured skull, two broken legs and multiple lacerations. After being struck, Sizemore was in a drug-induced coma for days to give his brain time to heal. Sizemore’s father, Mark Sizemore, says yesterday’s surgery appears to have been successful.
“The injury to his brain was right above his left ear where the skull fracture occurred, and that’s your speech center,” Mark said. “The majority of the injury has affected him of course cognitively, and in his speech center. He is recovering his cognition and his speech is getting better every day.”
Doctors predict it will take about a year for Michael to rehabilitate his speech and his ability to walk. Mark said it seems as though his son understands what happened to him, but his focus is simply on getting back to living his life.
“Michael just wants to get back to living, is what he tells me. He’s not so much focused on what happened. I think that will come later,” Mark said.
Once he fully recovers, Michael is determined to return to his job as a lobbyist at the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, which advocates for organizations that help people with developmental delays, substance abuse problems and mental health issues.
“He tells me that almost every single day. That’s what we’re trying to work towards with his rehab,” Mark said. “I think he’ll do it. I think he’ll rehab to the point where he can get back to that job. That’s what drives him.”
Mark says his son and the rest of the family don’t harbor anger toward Tyler Bruce Wills, the man accused of striking Michael. They believe that justice will be served in due time.
“He realizes it’s really a random event that happened to him,” Mark said. “Michael is not looking for revenge against this person, he’s looking for justice to take care of that.”
Meantime, Wills remains in jail on charges of DUI and DUI Maiming. Wills waived his right to a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for last week, and awaits trial. Police say due to results from the alcohol test and multiple witness accounts, the evidence against Wills is quite strong.
As for Mark, he credits the doctors at George Washington University Hospital with saving his son. That’s where Michael was taken immediately after the accident, and where he had his surgery yesterday. Mark said the situation could have turned out far differently had the hospital and its head trauma experts not been nearby.
“Thank God it was there, because they saved his life,” Mark said. “If my son had not been close to that place, he would not have lived. It was a miracle.”
(Updated at 8:50 a.m.) Police and paramedics have responded to the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Glebe Road for a report of two pedestrians struck by a vehicle.
Initial reports suggest a mother and her child were struck. The mother is being transported to the hospital but the child was uninjured, according to scanner traffic.
Eastbound Washington Boulevard was shut down in the area of George Mason Drive due to the emergency response, but is now being opened back up.
Update at 9:10 a.m. on 10/16/12 — The male victim is recovering from his injuries, while the female victim is still in critical condition in a medically-induced coma, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Police are still awaiting the result of a blood test on the driver before pressing charges. According to Sternbeck, witnesses told police that the driver did a “burn out” at the intersection before losing control of the truck.
The driver of a pick-up truck lost control and plowed into two cyclists on Four Mile Run Drive this afternoon, police said.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the driver was heading eastbound on Columbia Pike, made a right-hand turn onto Four Mile Run Drive, lost control of the truck, went over the median and struck the cyclists. The cyclists were biking in the roadway and not on the adjacent trail, Sternbeck said.
The victims, a man and a woman, were both in their 60s, Sternbeck said. The woman suffered “significant head trauma” and a broken pelvis. The man suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs. Both victims were transported to George Washington University Hospital in “serious” condition.
Charges are pending against the driver of the truck, who remained on scene after the accident, Sternbeck said. Four Mile Run Drive was closed between Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive for much of the afternoon while police investigated the accident.
Leverett was struck by a car while walking his dog near his Northwest D.C. apartment Monday morning. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The accident happened after the driver of the striking vehicle suffered a medical emergency and ran off the road, according to WJLA.
A visitation for Leverett will take place from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday). A memorial service is scheduled on Monday, Oct. 8 at 11:00 a.m. Both events will take place at the Joseph Gawler’s Sons Funeral Home in the District (5130 Wisconsin Ave NW), according to the Marymount website.
A separate memorial service is taking place on the Marymount campus. That service is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17. It is to take place under a tent on the school’s Ireton Lawn. In the event of inclement weather, it will be held in the Lee Center.
Marymount also announced that it is setting up a scholarship fund in Leverett’s memory.
The university described Leverett as “a passionate historian, a southern gentleman, a humorous storyteller and, above all, an outstanding teacher and advisor.”
Professor Leverett was a member of Marymount’s faculty since 1991. He held degrees from the University of Alabama and the University of Illinois, and his teaching focused on European history. During his tenure at Marymount, Professor Leverett developed a number of courses, including The History of Modern France, Comparative Revolutions, and Women in European History since 1700. Additionally, he worked with other faculty to develop two team-taught, interdisciplinary graduate courses: Shakespeare: Text and Performance and Gender, Race, and Empire in 19th-Century British Literature. A popular and engaging teacher, Professor Leverett brought history to life by focusing on people and their stories.
Marymount President Dr. Matthew D. Shank reflects, “Everyone who knew Rhett Leverett would agree that this was a man with a great heart. He will be remembered for many things, including his kindness, his sense of humor, and his unfailing dedication to Marymount University and our students.”
Clarendon Crash Suspect Has Long Record — The suspected DUI driver in a critical pedestrian accident in Clarendon over the weekend has a long history of driving violations, including speeding, unsafe lane changes and reckless driving. [Washington Post]
N. Va. Senior Olympics Wrap Up — The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics has wrapped up after distributing 94 Gold medals, 68 Silver medals and 41 Bronze medals over the course of two weeks. Some of the Senior Olympics events were held at Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington. [Arlington Mercury]
Arlington Wages Rising Slower than Average — Wage growth in Arlington for the first quarter of 2012 was 4.3 percent year-over-year. That’s below the national average of 5.4 percent wage growth. The average gross yearly salary for those who work in Arlington, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $84,084. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Rhett Leverett, a history professor at Arlington’s Marymount University, has died after being struck by a car in Northwest D.C. this morning.
Marymount president Matthew D. Shank announced Prof. Leverett’s death in an email to students this afternoon. According to various news reports, which didn’t identify Leverett as the victim, he was struck by a car around 9:00 a.m. on the 400 block of Sixth Street NW, near the Archives Metro stop.
Leverett, 60, lived in a condo one block away, according to public records. After the accident, he was transported to a local hospital, where he passed away. D.C. police are investigating the accident.
On the website RateMyProfessors.com, students described Leverett as a somewhat tough grader, but at the same time said he was fun, introduced humor into his lectures, and had a knack for making the material interesting.
“Love his lectures and [he is] a great person,” one student wrote.
“Greatest History Professor I have ever had,” said another.
Wrote another student: “Leverett is the best! He makes class interesting and fun, but he knows what he’s talking about.”
Leverett specialized in history about modern and early modern Europe, according to the Marymount website. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1975 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.
In his email, Shank urged students to keep Prof. Leverett and his family in their prayers.
It is with great sorrow that I write to inform you that a member of our faculty, Professor Rhett Leverett, died in an accident this morning. While walking near his home in DC, Mr. Leverett was struck by a car; he was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he passed away.
A member of our faculty since 1991, Mr. Leverett was known as an outstanding teacher and advisor. He will be remembered for many things, including his kindness, his sense of humor, and his unfailing dedication to Marymount University and our students.
We will hold a service to honor Mr. Leverett’s memory here on campus in the near future; I will inform you of the details once the arrangements have been made.
Please keep Mr. Leverett and his family in your prayers.
Matthew D. Shank
A letter from a student of Prof. Leverett’s, after the jump.
(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a serious pedestrian accident on a busy street in the center of Clarendon.
An adult male was struck by a Honda Civic coupe heading eastbound on Clarendon Blvd, near the intersection with N. Highland Street, around 12:30 a.m., according to initial reports. The man suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.
Police shut down Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Garfield Street while detectives investigated the accident. Crowds of Clarendon bar-goers peered from behind yellow police tape at the bloody evidence marked at the scene, including the victim’s shoes, pants and shirt.
The driver of the Honda, identified by police as 22-year-old Tyler Bruce Wills of Bowie, Md., was arrested on scene and charged with DUI and DUI Maiming. He’s currently being held without bond. Charges against Wills may change depending on the status of the victim, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The victim, a 27-year-old man from Collinsville, Va., has been undergoing surgeries and remains in critical condition, according to Sternbeck. The victim suffered a fractured skull, two broken legs, a broken arm, numerous lacerations to his body, and a big laceration to his face. A friend was with the victim at the time of the accident and was able to notify his family, Sternbeck said.
Unconfirmed witness accounts suggested the victim was crossing just outside the crosswalk and was struck by the car, which was traveling through the intersection at what was described as a relatively high rate of speed. The victim flew through the air and came to rest, motionless, on the pavement, a witness said.
As of 2:15 a.m., a police accident reconstruction team was taking photos and using measurement devices to piece together a more definitive account of how the accident happened.
Police say they received a call for a pedestrian struck on the 5100 block of Lee Highway at 9:12 last night (Tuesday). The victim suffered a head injury and was unconscious when medics arrived. He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he remains in fair condition, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
An investigation determined that the man was intoxicated and was attempting to cross to the north side of Lee Highway mid-block when he was struck by a westbound vehicle in the right lane, according to Sternbeck. The adult female driver of the vehicle remained on scene and was “very cooperative with the accident investigation,” he said.
“The pedestrian was found at fault and no charges will be brought against either party,” said Sternbeck.
The elderly woman struck by a cab in Ballston yesterday (Wednesday morning) has died.
Police say they’re still investigating the accident, which occurred at the intersection of Glebe Road and Carlin Springs Road. No charges have been filed, yet.
The 76 year-old victim of a pedestrian struck incident on July 18, 2012 in Arlington County has died from the injuries she sustained. The investigation is ongoing at this time.
Madela Anez de Walsh, 76, of Arlington, VA, was attempting to cross N. Carlin Springs Road at N. Glebe Road yesterday morning at 9:25 a.m., when she was struck by a taxi cab causing a significant head injury. Walsh was transported to Fairfax hospital following the incident, where she succumbed to her injuries around noon today.
The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and is cooperating with the police investigation.
Update at 3:35 p.m. on 7/19/12 — The victim has died, according to police.
Investigators are on the scene of a critical pedestrian accident in Ballston.
The accident happened around 9:45 a.m. at the intersection of Glebe Road and N. Carlin Springs Road. An elderly female pedestrian was in the crosswalk, crossing Carlin Springs across from Ballston Common Mall, when she was struck by an Arlington Yellow Cab, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The woman’s injuries are thought to be life-threatening.
A neighbor told ARLnow.com that the pedestrian was a resident of The Carlin retirement home, one block away from the scene.
A number of closures were in place while investigators took photos and interviewed witnesses. All southbound lanes of Glebe Road were blocked at Wilson Boulevard. Carlin Springs Road was shut down at N. Thomas Street. Both road reopened at 11:05 a.m.
Sternbeck said the driver of the cab remained on scene and cooperated with police. No word yet on any charges against the driver.
Warning: Readers might find one of the photos below disturbing.
The Arlington County Police Department has released video tonight from a Metro bus that stopped at the scene of fatal pedestrian accident earlier this month.
The video was taken on the evening of July 1. Just minutes prior to the start of the video, a man had been struck by a car on Columbia Pike near the intersection with Four Mile Run Drive, which was darkened due to power outages in the area following the June 29 derecho. The video shows the bus pulling up to the scene, which was next to a bus stop. The man’s bloodied body — blurred out by police — is lying on the sidewalk.
With the bus stopped, passengers file past the man’s body. Although someone had called 911 — lights from police cars heading to the scene can be seen in the background — not a single person stops to check on the man, who was either dead or dying. A woman carrying shopping bags walks right by, without hesitation. One man crosses himself after getting on the bus.
Police say they released the video in a “good faith effort” to get witnesses to the accident to step forward. Detectives are not looking to charge anybody in the video with any wrongdoing — they just want them to “come forward and say ‘this is what happened, this is what we saw,’” according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“The intent is solely to get these witnesses to… assist police in the reconstruction of what happened that night,” Sternbeck said. “The intent is not to say these individuals are accountable for anything.”
Sternbeck noted that the driver of the striking vehicle “has been very cooperative,” but the case is still open. Charges could still be filed if the driver is thought to be at fault.
The victim of the accident has been identified by police as 35-year-old Edgar Francisco Aguilar of Arlington. He was pronounced dead on scene, according to Sternbeck.
Any witnesses are asked to contact Det. Icolari at 703-228-4240.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) A pedestrian was killed by a car on a section of Columbia Pike partially darkened by the area’s widespread power outages.
The man was struck by a Honda heading westbound on the Pike near intersection with Four Mile Run Drive, where the traffic signal and some street lights are dark due to the power outages. We’re told that the victim was transported to a trauma center in Fairfax County and was pronounced dead.
The fatal accident happened occurred around 9:30 p.m. after the driver did not stop at the intersection, despite the fact that all darkened traffic signals are supposed to be treated as a four-way stop. The female driver remained on scene after the accident and was described as “very cooperative.” As of this morning no charges have been filed, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Columbia Pike was closed in both directions between Buchanan Street and Dinwiddie Street for several hours after the accident. Motorists were advised to avoid the area.
Around 9:40 p.m., police responded to a call of a pedestrian struck at N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. Their investigation found that a 64-year-old woman had been driving westbound on Wilson Blvd and attempted to make a left turn onto Glebe. She struck the 70-year-old man, who was walking eastbound on Wilson across Glebe Road.
The woman said she didn’t even see the man until she hit him, according to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Witnesses say the man had the right of way, and was in the crosswalk while obeying a walk sign.
Although the call initially stated the man was in critical condition with a head injury, he was upgraded to stable condition and is able to speak. He suffered from multiple abrasions, lacerations requiring stitches and a broken femur.
The driver was cooperative, and there are no indications of impaired driving. The investigation is ongoing, and there’s currently no word on whether she will be charged.
The pedestrian, who is in Arlington visiting friends, is at Inova Fairfax Hospital. We’re told he’s been able to talk with police and his friends.
Sternbeck says police have been called to quite a few distracted driving accidents recently, including the major accident last night on Washington Blvd. Police are asking drivers to always be aware of their surroundings, and to not text or talk on the phone while driving.
County Tax Deadline Today — The deadline for paying your Arlington real estate taxes is today, Friday, June 15. Payments not postmarked by that date will be considered late.
More on the Overlee Ghost — The Washington Post’s Dan Zak takes an in-depth look at ghost stories at the Overlee Community Association pool. ARLnow.com first reported in March that construction workers at the property had spotted what was thought to be the ghost of Margaret Febrey, a girl who lived on the property and died in 1913. [Washington Post]
George Allen Gets Endorsement in Arlington — Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen was endorsed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising GOP star, at Company Flowers (2107 N. Pollard Street) in Cherrydale yesterday morning. After a press conference, Allen and Rubio both purchased flowers at the store. [Patch]
Woman Killed on Trail Had Fled Nazis — The 80-year-old woman who died after being struck by a cyclist on the Four Mile Run Trail was out for a morning walk at the time of the incident. The woman, Ita Lapina, emigrated to the United States from Russia 15 years ago, family members said. As a child, her family had fled to Siberia to escape the Nazis during World War II. [Washington Post]
Lawnmower Racing Film To Be Shown at Artomatic — An 82-minute documentary on the sport of lawn mower racing will be shown at Artomatic this weekend. The film – On Your Mark, Get Set, MOW! – will be screened at Artomatic’s “Carl Cordell Film Theater” from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 17. The documentary also examines how lawn mower racing benefits the battle against Huntington’s Disease. Artomatic is taking place at 1851 S. Bell Street in Crystal City through June 23. [Artomatic]
The first of several planned safety improvements along the GW Parkway will be made today (Friday).
This morning, the National Park Service is expected to starting installing the first of 46 signs (including 9 pedestrian warning signs and numerous trail and route guidance signs) that will be placed near five crosswalks around Memorial Circle. The signs, along with planned directional pavement markings, rumble strips and a trail crossing relocation, are all steps being taken in response to numerous accidents between cars, pedestrians and bicyclists near Memorial Circle.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, officials said the changes, though simple and relatively inexpensive, will help improve the safety of all parkway users.
“We believe these improvements will increase the awareness of the dangers of crossing a very busy parkway for all travelers, whether it be on foot, bicycle or motor vehicle,” said Capt. Scott Fear of the U.S. Park Police. “Our officers have handled many, many crashes related to this area, and we continue to look for ways to improve the safety of the park’s visitors and travelers. The steps being taken should held decrease the crashes and educate the public of the surroundings and challenges they may face as they visit the park.”
“We’re going to see a major reduction in accidents,” promised Rep. Jim Moran, at the press conference. “This is going to affect thousands of people on a daily basis. It’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t interfere with anyone, and it makes everyone feel more safe and secure.”
The changes are all expected to be complete by the end of October. The Park Service, meanwhile, says it will explore more dramatic, long-term changes that could be made to improve safety, including creating a traffic island in the middle of the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway.
Fear said Park Police are considering stepping up speed enforcement along the parkway, but no final decision has been reached yet.
See the full National Park Service press release, after the jump.