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Officer Struck While Investigating Deadly Accident on Key Bridge

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2011 at 8:52 am 1,995 68 Comments

A D.C. police officer was struck by a car while investigating a deadly accident on the Key Bridge last night.

According to NBC 4, a person who was walking a moped across the Key Bridge was struck and killed by an SUV that then fled the scene. The officer was on the bridge investigating the accident when he was struck from behind by another vehicle.

The driver that hit the officer stayed on the scene and the SUV driver was later stopped in Maryland, NBC 4’s Tracee Wilkins reported. Both drivers are suspected of driving under the influence.

Initial reports suggest the officer briefly lost consciousness after being thrown into the striking vehicle’s windshield. He’s expected to be okay.

  • mehoo

    Wow, TWO (alleged) drunk drivers. Two innocent people, one dead and one injured.

    • Overgrown Bush

      Well, the Georgetown to Rosslyn to Ballson corridor caters to drinkers. This is what happens….. Sad. Hopefully the officer does not have any injuries too serious.

      • mehoo

        So you want to ban alcoholic beverages?

        • Overgrown Bush

          Nope. Merely making an observation. The choice is made to allow those places, likely to bring in the revenue. If the corridor was full of comic book stores, we’d have kids on skateboards riding the sidewalks running into pedestrians. These are the products of what we’ve chosen to put into our community. Yes, drunk driving is horrible and against the law. But, it is part of the drinking establishment regardless.

          • mehoo

            Okay, but if it’s just an observation, it’s an incredibly obvious one.

          • Overgrown Bush

            If all of us stopped spewing the obvious, for the sake of debate, this blog would cease to exist. Oh, wait, there could still be the pointless attacks on others.

          • mehoo

            Well, obviously! 😉

          • RuralVirginian

            I grew up in a rural area of Virginia. The pastime for pretty much every high-schooler (and college kids on summer break) was to get a bottle of liquor or case of beer (wine coolers for the girls) and drive around drinking in our cars. And, there was no bartender who would theoretically limit our intake. Drinking and driving does not stop by elimination of bars. People shouldn’t do it, and there is no excuse in any case, but especially if there are alternatives to getting around.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Agreed. But one kid with a few in him on a country road is not the same as someone plowed weaving across Key Bridge. The chances of hitting someone on Key Bridge are much higher… Besides, I’d argue the mentality of drinking and driving has changed significantly since I was a kid (and perhaps you). I can recall when the police used to break up a party of high school kids, where drinking was obviously going on, and tell them to get in their cars and get out of there because they were making too much noise. This happened in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church… Now, I would imagine that would not happen. Kids are a little more aware not to drink and drive. Parents are held accountable if they supply a place for kids to drink. Yep, it still happens, but it isn’t like it was “back in the day”.

          • RuralVirginian

            Yes, it’s different. I know more than one 16 year old up here that doesn’t even want to drive (I’m guessing because of the driving environment up here). That was unheard of where I grew up, as driving meant freedom. There were several in my high school class that died or were seriously injured in car crashes (and it was a class of ~ 300. So, its different but still deadly.

          • Overgrown Bush

            I also knew some kids who had crashed while drunk. Back then, it was always a one car accident. There just were not as many people around. I feel for the 16-year old you mention, because driving in Northern VA has become significantly more difficult in the last 30 years. The number of people, and the types of drivers, is out of control. Aggressive and angry driving seems to often be the norm now. Like the 16-year old you mention, I at times do not want to drive because of the environment. But, I have to bring home the bacon….

        • Undereducated

          No, just banning getting behind the wheel after drinking alcoholic beverages. People would think twice if DUI were a felony.

          • Ben

            Then you would just have more convicted felons. The problem being a perfectly logical person is not so much after a few beers.

            The only real way to eradicate drunk driving is having automated cars….

          • mehoo

            Just making the penalties tougher is easy, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Drunks don’t think about the consequences – that’s why they end up driving. The possibility of killing themselves or others doesn’t stop them, so why would the threat of felony charges?

            What we need to to is increase the ability of people to drink and not drive home, and increase the likelihood that those who do are caught.

          • Arlingtonian

            How would you propose doing that, out of curiosity? Not that your suggestion is a bad one – but we already have taxis, designated driver programs, bus lines, rail, and police checkpoints.

          • Thes

            Here are some specific suggestions:

            – Continue metrorail and metrobus at decent service levels for at least an hour after bar closing time (currently late hours are proposed for elimination).
            – Encourage more taxi drivers to make themselves available at those late hours by allowing them to charge a slightly higher rate (this is done in many places around the country).
            – Encourage or require bar and restaurant owners to band together to create their own shuttles to take people to transit stops, or even to take them home. Form a public-private partnership to facilitate this service.

        • Too Easy

          Just ban the cars

      • Clarengirl

        “Yes, drunk driving is horrible and against the law. But, it is part of the drinking establishment regardless.”

        The fact that the Ballston-Rosslyn-Georgetown corridor “caters” to drinkers is no excuse for drunk driving and for most people, drunk driving is in no way part of the drinking establishment. Those people could have walked, taken metro, or grabbed a cab as most people in that corridor choose to do. Not to mention, not one of those bars want someone getting in a car after leaving their bar. It’s bad for business.

        • Overgrown Bush

          Don’t mistake my comments as condoning it. I certainly don’t. I’m merely stating it is going to happen, and we should be aware of it. Pushing a moped across the Key Bridge at night isn’t something I’d do because I would be worried a drunk driver would hit me because I’m in the road at night on the pathway between Georgetown and Rosslyn walking.

          • CW

            Pushing a moped across the key bridge at night isn’t something I would do because I’d be worried that people wouldn’t expect to find me pushing a moped across the key bridge at night, but that’s just me.

      • AllenB

        So does downtown Bethesda, Chevy Chase, U Street corridor, Penn Quarter, Logan, Dupont, Reston Town Center, etc, etc, etc.

      • SD

        This area no more caters to drunk driving that does your local 7-11 or my wine cellar. People need to take personal responsibility and DUI laws need to be tougher.

        • Overgrown Bush

          So, you are saying that any area where the density of bars is greater than the norm does not have a higher incident rate of drunk driving? Really?

          • SD

            These areas also have a higher density of cabs. People should take them. Again, personal responsibility. High incidents of drunk driving are due to the higher density of idiots who think they are above the law.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Good point. Metro too. But, this area will also have a higher density of illogical drunks who will still drive.

  • Brandon C

    Exactly the reason I stopped riding my bike to the office when I worked in G’town. I almost got run over by an asshat in a Mercedes who was using the right turn lanes as a thru-traffic lane.

  • Mike

    I walked past the scene of this accident last night while walking on the protected pedestrian part of the bridge- The moped was totalled in the traffic lanes- So sad- If the moped driver was walking in the traffic lanes, I don’t understand why because it’s obvious to anyone (especially a likely-local moped driver) that that would be incredibly dangerous.

  • Black Flag

    Asshat and Mercedes go together, a lot in the DMV

  • JamesE

    The solution is a streetcar from rosslyn to georgetown

    • Eponymous Coward

      If I recall correctly, there was a trolley line that crossed the river on the old bridge that was demolished when the Key Bridge was built. You can still see the foundation by the Georgetown boathouse.

      • borf

        That’s the old aqueduct bridge, which first carried boats to Alexandria to connect it with the C&O Canal. A reproduction of the lock at the other end is on the riverfront at Canal Center north of Old Town. I didn’t know it later carried a trolley.

  • Shane

    The police bring some of this onto themselves. If as a force, the only time you take traffic enforcement seriously is on a Sunday morning on George Mason or on 110, well, then this is the behavior that results. You can’t just pull people over when it’s convenient, when it’s easy, when there’s tons of room to have the person pull over and to write the motorist up. You can’t just pull people over the last Sunday of the month.

    Sometimes you have to pull someone over during rush hour. Sometimes you have to wait outside the bar, and then pull the person over right away. Sometimes you have to pull someone over on a high-traffic artery, so lots of other people can see the motorist getting caught.

    At some point, police have to do something about traffic enforcement before the moped gets totaled, before the officer has to clean up the mess. You have to pull over the SUV before it’s left the barn and killed people.

    Yes, you might risk anger from the community. But police, you have to build a sense that you’re out there. That’s how behavior actually changes.

    • Westover

      Yeah, let’s turn our streets into a Police-State. The ACPD set up DUI check Points, they run radar, they patrol the roads. While I would like them to work the schools zones a bit more, overall they do a good job of balanceing Freedom with Enforcement.

  • CW

    I don’t know why this bugs me, but if the officer was struck by “another” vehicle, then isn’t that implying that the officer is a vehicle? Until I read the last sentence, I didn’t know whether the officer (on foot) was hit, or the “officer was hit” while in his patrol car (thus meaning in actuality that the car was hit). While the wording is correct if read literally, there is that persistent misattribution of actions between drivers and vehicles (“he struck another car” in a story, for example, when in actuality his car struck another car, etc.) that makes it confusing.

    I think I’m nitpicking…

    • jb

      He was on foot:

      “Initial reports suggest the officer briefly lost consciousness after being thrown into the striking vehicle’s windshield.”

    • AllenB

      I agree with you 100%… you ARE nitpicking.

      • CW

        LOL…we agree on something!!!

    • FrenchyB

      “Another vehicle”, as in not the first vehicle (the SUV) that struck the moped.

      • CW

        I guess the clarification is needed just in case any readers might have thought that the drunk who killed the moped rider decided to loop back around and run over a cop?

  • Darwin

    I don’t wish ill on anyone, but there’s got to be a little Darwin in effect here as far as the moped guy is concerned. Whether you’re from here or not, walking in the traffic lanes on that bridge simply is not smart.

    Neither is riding your bike, no matter how many logos you have on your jersey.

    According to TBD, this happened around 10:50pm. If only the Metro were open at that time…

    • Tabby

      Metro running has nothing to do with getting to/from G’town to Rosslyn.
      Couldn’t he/she have been crossing that bit where cars turn right onto the ramp to go downtown?

      • borf

        I was thinking that too. Can’t avoid that part.

        • Tabby

          It’s really bad–you have to make a run for it because cars don’t look out for people on foot–they’re looking at the ramp.

          • borf

            You gotta go out of your way to get their attention.

      • CW

        Oh good lord…the freeway onramp? Probably my least favorite spot in the city. Turn signals scarce, traffic backing up behind the turning vehicle, honking away, those barrels on the north side of the ramp, just begging someone to smash into them…

      • Darwin

        Depends on which end of G-town you’re going to – Foggy Bottom is closer to the east end. Also, there’s a bus.

        If this happened at the on-ramp, then that’s a little more understandable but the picture on wusa’s site doesn’t look like there’s any activity at that ramp.

        • Tabby

          Bus? Buses don’t take mopeds.

          Say you drove your moped to an Oscars party. You may have had a few drinks. You decide to do the “safe” thing and walk home, pushing your moped. And someone in a car creams you.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Well, who’s at fault then? The driver, who was drunk and hit the moped pusher? Or, the drunk moped pusher who was pushing the moped drunk in a traffic lane?

            We don’t know the details….

          • Darwin

            “Say you drove your moped to an Oscars party. You may have had a few drinks. You decide to do the “safe” thing and walk home, pushing your moped. And someone in a car creams you.”

            You could push it on the protected sidewalk or you could leave the moped and take the bus home.

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    An SUV with Maryland plates…says it all.

  • Westover

    Not to blame the victem, but, unless the moped ran out of gas or broke down on the bridge, the person had no business being in the traffic lanes.

    • 125cc’s

      so let me get this straight, if a moped is not out of gas or broken down, then it has no business driving in traffic lanes? Where the hell is it supposed to ride, on the sidewalk? How about if a driver had a few drinks, they have no business in ANY traffic lanes.

      • Jason S.

        If a moped out of gas or broken down, it is not going to be ridden anywhere. In this case it should not be pushed in the traffic lanes, which was the obvious point Westover was making. Since we know the moped was being pushed, Westover listed the only reasons they could find for pushing a moped in traffic.

        • 125cc’s

          so then how the hell does that person lift it over the concrete wall?

          • Westover

            Well, if they broke down or ran out of gas while on the bridge, they get a pass, as I pretty much gave them. But if you need to push your non-functioning moped from Roslyn to Georgetown, or Georgetown to Roslyn, use the freaking sidewalk. And it is a moped, right, the peddle function should still work to ride the thing.

          • 125cc’s

            ArlNow and WNBC are calling it a moped. MyFOXDC is calling it a scooter. My scooter is 125cc, requiring a motorcycle license. There is a lot of confusion between “scooter” and “moped”, so until we see photos, don’t assume it’s really a moped and thus has pedals. I’ve seen maybe 1 true moped for every two dozen scooters in the metro area. Mopeds are the media’s cop out for any 2 wheeled vehicle with an engine and not a fullsize motorcycle.

          • Westover

            Either way, if it broke down before the bridge they had no business pushing it over the bridge. Would you push a car over the bridge?

          • Jason S.

            It’s too late to help him now, but he really should have moved the vehicle as far possible from traffic and removed himself from the travel lanes, just as on a highway. The scooter can be replaced and if a car hits it, the car can be repaired.

  • 125cc’s

    while it’s unfortunate that a police officer was hit, and I wish him/her a speedy recovery, can we get more information on the initial FATAL hit and run? No news site is giving names or details. People need to see what drunken, wreckless, and aggressive driving do to people. Is it because he was pushing a moped that he’s looked at like a second class citizen and not worth the air time?

    • Police usually delay the release of victim information until after the family is notified.

    • CW

      I do think that it is somewhat biased that this article, NBC4’s article, and WaPo’s article cast the story. An officer was hit by a car while working, oh, and by the way, just as a matter of setting the stage, we’ll also tell you that he happened to be investigating a fatal hit-and-run of a person on foot, but that’s not important. The name of the officer wasn’t released either, was it? So why couldn’t the story be written in a manner that is fair and gives equal respect to the value of all the human lives involved?

      • CW

        *how this article

  • Kate

    23 year old man originally from Guatemala was killed. He worked 7 days a week and was heading home from his 2nd job at Tony and Joe’s. He leaves behind a 2-yr-old child. The driver who hit him was apparently well over the limit and had 3/4 tires blown out.

    • Jason S.

      For some this adds an emotional twist, but the facts are two people not thinking ended one’s life. I wish I could be surprised that the driver left, but it does not surprise me at all. As easy as life is in this area, people here still manage to have the ethical development of animals.

      • The Noze Bros

        “We were born of risen apes, not fallen angels”

    • 125cc’s

      thank you for the update Kate. For those who insist on driving drunk and killing someone, please just kill yourselves. There are too many innocent people just trying to go about their own lives, going to work, paying their bills, feeding their kids and basically minding their own business.

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