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UPDATED: Police Search for Wrong-Way Driver After I-395 Crash

by ARLnow.com March 7, 2011 at 7:00 am 4,662 59 Comments

(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Police were combing the area around I-395 early this morning after a hit-and-run crash involving a reported wrong-way driver.

Around 2:30 a.m., police got a call for a gray Lincoln Town Car heading southbound in the northbound HOV lanes of I-395. Just moments later, a call came in for a collision under the Arlington Ridge Road bridge.

According to Virginia State Police, the Town Car crashed head-on into a red Mitsubishi sedan, sending the Mitsubishi flying into a northbound tractor-trailer. The driver of the Town Car then fled on foot.

Arlington Police and Virginia State Police searched for the suspect — described as at the time as young, well-dressed man — but he remains at large.

Miraculously, the female driver of the Mitsubishi only suffered minor injuries. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.

HOV lane traffic backed up as police investigated the accident. Investigators are still trying to figure out how the Town Car entered the HOV lanes going the wrong way.

See the press release from Virginia State Police, after the jump.



ARLINGTON – Virginia State Police are searching for the man who fled the scene after driving the wrong way in the HOV lanes and causing a three-vehicle crash early Monday, March 07, 2011.

At 2:40 a.m., Virginia State Police Trooper C.D. Rogers was notified of a light gray Lincoln Towne Car driving the wrong-way in the HOV lanes of Interstate 395 in Arlington. Moments later the southbound Lincoln struck a northbound Mitsubishi Gallant head on. The impact sent the rear of the Mitsubishi into the air and caused it to strike a northbound tractor-trailer that was traveling in the left HOV lane.

The female driver of the sedan suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Georgetown University Hospital for treatment. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash.

The driver of the Lincoln, meanwhile, fled the scene on foot running south in the HOV lanes. Witnesses described the driver as a Hispanic male.

Arlington County Police and Fairfax County Police responded to the scene to assist state police with searching the interstate for the missing driver.

It is unclear at this time as to where the wrong-way vehicle entered the HOV lanes. The incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information on this incident or the driver is asked to call the Virginia State Police Fairfax Division at 703-803-0026.

The HOV lanes were closed for approximately 30 minutes, until the right shoulder was opened to through traffic. All lanes were open by 4:27 a.m.

# # #

  • If the Lincoln was going the wrong way, then how could it have it hit the Mitsubishi in the rear?

    • borf

      My thoughts exactly. Maybe they were both going the same way and having some sort of chase or road joust.

      • Bizzaro Jerry

        you guys didnt get the memo? its backwards monday

        • John Goilios


        • Kate

          The correct spelling is Bizarro Jerry–not to be confused with Fusilli Jerry.

          • preschool drop out

            Thanks Grammar Nazi. Rest assured, I am not confusing you with Soup Nazi

      • the real borf

        No, not my thoughts…

        • Arlingtonian

          I wish there was a way to lock down a single user name to one user. Someone occasionally uses my (admittedly very common) user name on here too

    • TryTheTacos

      Maybe the Mitsubishi was driving in reverse?

      • Friend of the Mitsubishi

        NO Jerkoff she wasnt driving in the wrong direction. Pray God protects you and you never end up in that situation.

        • Ugh

          Why? Why would you say something like that? You’re the one that looksl ike a jerkoff for going after someone who is obviously just having a little fun. LAUGH! You’ll live longer!

          • Take it down a notch

            Yes it’s always really funny when your friend is almost killed in a highway crash.

    • SoCo Resident

      Who writes this stuff? Reads as if both were going the wrong way.

    • CW

      Really glad to see that everyone had the same initial thought here…does anyone have any resolution? Police report?

      • CW

        Given the arrangement here, I almost wonder if there was indeed a gate malfunction or error where the gate was left up. The red car realizes “oh crap, I’m going the wrong way”, and slams on his brakes just in time for the town car to hit him.

      • Time Travel experiment at the Pentagon. Nothing new really. The problem could have been fixed, but the project was not properly funded.

    • SouthArlJD

      Sigh. READ the story. It says the driver of the Mitsubishi was hit head on and sent spinning into a tractor trailer. I hope this woman bought a lottery ticket as soon as she left the hospital. Can’t believe she’s alive, let along lightly injured.

      • Maria

        Sigh. The story was updated with that information AFTER he posted his comment.

        Not everyone is an idiot.

      • CW

        Objection, your honor – badgering the witness.


  • Southeast Ben

    What does a well-dressed man wear at 3AM on a Sun night/Mon morning?

    • CrystalMikey

      A suit?

      • John Goilios

        Silk pajamas, suede slippers, a smoking jacket and with a Cohiba. Of what does your 3am ensemble consist?

    • el fat kid

      picture of the suspect…

      • Greg

        “He has an exemption from 395 HOV requirements, and all other traffic laws.”

        “I don’t always drive, but when I do I prefer to wear a blindfold. Stay reckless my friends.”

        • CrystalMikey

          I LOL’ed enough for my coworkers to give me a strange look.

      • FunnyMunny

        Stay thirsty, my friends…

      • FunnyMunny

        …or…I don’t always drive the wrong way on HOV lanes at 2:30 am, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis

  • Lou

    Have to admit, I’m not 100% familiar with the HOV configuration there. But as you get close to the bridges, there are specific northbound lanes, ramps etc. Then further south you get into the reversible portion. So it’s possible the Town Car was wrong-way on the northbound lanes, blew a gate or something and ended up in the reversible portion, which may have been designated southbound at that hour. (?)

    • JW

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s possible to be heading southbound in the reversible lanes (which would have been NB at the time) and then take a ramp from the reversible lanes to the dedicated SB HOV section.

  • shirley

    it is VERY easy to blow the gates.
    But that doesn’t explain the wrong-way action and two cars having damage that would suggest they were headed in the same direction.
    My guess is that a THIRD car was involved. These two cars collided avoiding the wrong-way car.

    • Overgrown Bush

      Shirley, that sounds logical.

  • roquer

    Pretty cool. Maybe both cars were backing down the interstate and just happened to meet.

  • Scott

    poorly written article; headline just hangs out there not at all linked to the post content

  • Dennis

    Bet a donut it had something to do with the hip-hop event.

    • local

      Damn, you’re right, it could.

      • John Goilios

        Damn kids and their rap music.

  • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

    Shirley there was no pun intended here with your name and the name of the highway.

    • shirley

      quit calling me Shirley.
      No I haunt all corners of arlnow with brilliant insight and prose.

  • JJ

    There was extensive damage to the drivers side in the front of the red car that you can’t see from the picture. They may have hit head on and the red car spun into the jersey wall causing the rear-end damage. However, it still looks fishy. And before you ask–I was stuck in the traffic while they investigated, and was late to work because of it.

    • shirley

      i can see that scenario. someone swerved to avoid on coming car, broadside and then spun into barrier.
      as someone who has hit a jersey barrier (at about 40) it ain’t fun. worse part is being thrown back out into the traffic.

  • SouthArlJD

    For all the attention deficit types who keep asking how the red car could have damage in back, please take a look at the article. It tells us:

    “Moments later the southbound Lincoln struck a northbound Mitsubishi Gallant head on. The impact sent the rear of the Mitsubishi into the air and caused it to strike a northbound tractor-trailer that was traveling in the left HOV lane.”

    • GMo

      This was the second post today and not updated with that information until 5:30 PM.

      The original article, which us attention deficit types did take a look at, told us something a bit different.

    • shirley

      yo, SouthARLJD, that is new info based on the afternoon press release. settle down.

    • CW

      What s/he really meant to post was: “I like turtles.”

  • Understands it can be easy to miss the gates, but the wrong-way action is contagious. I was walking down N Ft. Myer Drive toward Iwo Jima the other day when a car came screaming out of the Ft. Myer Drive underpass and proceeded to take a sharp left and try and go back up the ramp by the Boeing building. I had to stop and stare in awe of the stupidity.

    Seriously people, we’re Virginians. We don’t drive like District residents, nor god forbid drive like someone from Maryland, so let’s drive like sane human beings and pretend we understand what the hell the road sign says.

    • CrystalMikey

      You should see all the wrong way driving I see looking out my window in Crystal City. I know it used to be a confusing labyrinth, but there are these signs and arrows all over the place.

      • If I had a buck for every car I saw going the wrong way on the 2200 block of Crystal Drive, I would make a tidy fortune. Pretty common in Pentagon City at Hayes street too. Have seen people get all the way to the fire station before showing any sign that they knew they were on the wring side of the grassy median.

      • CW

        I like it when people make turns from cross steets such as highland, barton, etc. onto wilson/clarendon blvds in the wrong directions. It always raises a ruckus from people walking down the sidewalk, especially on weekends when it’s busy!!! It’s funny to watch everyone scream and wave and yell as the offender makes the “drive of shame” down to the next block.

  • Friend of the Mitsubishi

    I feel sorry for you all! That LINCOLN WAS GOING THE WRONG WAY!!! You all need to get your minds right! If you weren’t involved, there, or knew the people involved you should keep your sick comments to yourselves! Hopefully (GOD WILLING) YOU will never, ever experience that type of accident or the fear that comes with knowing the person involved!

    • Maria

      Listen. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Take another one. I may regret this, but I’ll try to explain… The thing is, we all know the Lincoln was going the wrong way. No need to yell it at us. However, in the original version of the story, which you obviously did not see, there was no explanation of why the Mitsubishi was damaged in the *rear* even though the Lincoln was going the wrong way, so people were questioning how that happened. In the updated version of the story, all of that was explained, so we get it now.

      Also, it says the driver of the Mitsubishi was treated for minor injuries, so while maybe it is in poor taste to make jokes about any accident, I don’t think anyone made any “sick” comments, and I also don’t think any harm was done. It’s just a natural human reaction to uncomfortable situations to make jokes or lighten the situation. If her injuries were not so minor, then please tell her we hope she has a fast recovery.

      • People did make jokes about the Mitsubishi driver inwhich they should not have done. This could have been a family memember of yours or a friend. Regaurdless of what the first story said making jokes like that was not cool. TAKE IT HOW YOU WANT TO I DON’T CARE THAT’S MY BFF. ? IS WHY WAS THE LINCOLN THE ONLY CAR GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. YES, GOD WAS WITH HER THAT SHE CAME OUT WITH LIGHT INJURIES. Everyday you need to count their blessings.

        • Maria

          I’m super glad you got my point (I suppose I need to tell you that was sarcasm). Oh well. I knew I’d regret making the effort.

          It’s good to hear your “BFF” is fine, so why don’t you count *your* blessings that that’s the case, and stop worrying about people who make lame comments on a blog?

          Also, side note: there’s really no need to write in all caps. We can read it just fine in lowercase letters.

  • Actually no you didn’t get it. You were trying to an sugar coat what another wrote. You didn’t write the comment so why even put your too sense in. You don’t know what they were thinking. We have every right to feel the way we feel. Sweetheart I count my blessings everyday and thanking the man upstairs for being alive today. Like I said “This could have been a family member of yours or friend” If someone made a comment like that towards someone who have been hurt or could have lost their life you would of felt the same way. PPL can be so ignorant.

    Side Note: Actually you didn’t get it when a friend of Mitsubishi made a comment may be you would now. (Sarcasm):)Enjoy your day!!

    • Maria

      Well, I don’t understand half of what you wrote here, so no, I guess I really don’t get it. Also, only my mom can call me sweetheart, and I don’t think you’re her… she actually has a sense of humor 🙂 Just kidding. She doesn’t.

      Anyway, I wasn’t trying to offend you, and I didn’t try to sugarcoat anything. I put my “too sense” in (another side note: it’s “two cents,” not “too sense”) because the first person who posted hadn’t seen the original story, which is what people were commenting on, so I thought I would try to help him or her understand why people were commenting the way they were. It wasn’t an attempt to be rude or sarcastic. Just an attempt to be helpful. I’m not sure why you took it so negatively.

      I also said it was in poor taste for people to joke about it, so why are you getting on my case about that part? I never said you *couldn’t* feel the way you want to feel; feel whatever you want. I just *suggested* reasons why people made those comments and that maybe there are more important things in life than getting all worked up about 3 stupid jokes made on the internet by people you’ve never met and likely never will.

      For the record, I’ve had friends in car accidents before, and they were fine like your friend, so I didn’t get all crazy about it.

      • Maria

        correction: I *assumed the first person hadn’t seen the original story

  • Mitsubishi friend also

    For every one who has something neg. to say about the driver of the Mitsubishi, just imagine if it was you child, mother or father in that accident then you have rude people making comments about them now she’s just my friend but she in the catagorey of my closest family members and I take it to heart when rude people have anything to say about my family. So just remember to count your blessings because it could’ve been you, your child or even your CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER that was hit head on and then hit by a tractor trailer. Thank the lord she’s still here with us.

  • Dad of Mitsubishi Driver

    First, THANK GOD, second, THANK YOU to all of the people who prayed for my daughter! The most important fact regarding this unfortunate accident is that God has allowed my daughter to still be here! My daughter was in severe pain, bruised, swollen and shaken. No broken bones! She spent the day in the hospital with one desire, to get home to her two children. We do not know how or why the driver of the Lincoln was able to drive in the wrong direction, nor why he fled the scene without so much as a pause to check on my daughter or, offer any assistance. The indication is that he was aware of what he did and acted with guilt and complete disregard for another human being. What kind of explanation could he offer? Panic? Unacceptable. Yet, as afraid, angry, and more importantly, greatful we were while driving through 4 States to reach my daughter, forgiveness and prayers for the Lincoln driver is in our hearts. If he does not turn himself in it will be a matter of time before Virginia State Police find him. Hope and pray that you never have to experience anything like this. There is a family who on the same date, lost their 18 year old daughter in a head-on collision. Please join us in prayer for that family. Life is short and, precious, don’t waste time on nonsense!Every day is an opportunity…
    Be Blessed!!! Poppa Mitsubishi

  • 3rd Cousin Once Removed of Mitsubishi Driver

    Let’s all pray together for the Mitsubishi driver. Do it for the children and for children everywhere. And let’s also pray, today, Friday, most blessed of all work days, that we may all enjoy the lightest, crispiest batter fried fish and chips for dinner tonight. God bless all of you!


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