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Vehicle Slams into Walgreens on Lee Highway

by Katie Pyzyk October 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm 5,881 88 Comments

Police responded to an accident involving a vehicle crashing into the Walgreens at 3130 Lee Highway.

The vehicle jumped the curb and slammed into one of the building’s pillars. Nobody was hurt and there is no damage to the vehicle.

Police requested that a building inspector check out the damage to Walgreens, however the pillar is decorative and should not affect the building’s structural integrity. Police say the damage “looks worse than it really is.”

A tow truck arrived at the scene as a precaution, but with no damage to the car, it appears the driver can leave without assistance.

  • What is it with people slamming into buildings??

    Where are those plates from?

  • G Clifford Prout

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Isnt’ this the second time for this building?

    • Lou

      Yep, although the last one was far worse.

      • DarkHeart

        Couple of teenagers IIRC. I believe they erected barriers to prevent NB traffic from doing it again.

        • Grateful
        • charlie

          i think the teenagers were going southbound and continue into the building instead of navigating the turn.
          of course some of us remember when Spout Run Parkway went along the west side of this property….

          • charlie

            i correct myself, the kids were going northbound and failed to make the turn.

          • Interesting

            Did it go all the way to Va Square? Parallel w/Kirkwood?

          • Lou

            I don’t even remember that. But I do remember this.

          • Interesting

            Thanks, Lou. Is that the intersection in question? Those apts look familiar…

          • CW

            Back then, they were opposed to widening 66 to one lane!

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I remember that too, Lou!

          • Love the old vehicles in this photo.

          • Lou

            Old cars, but that photo is only from the 80’s. That doesn’t seem that long ago to me. And I don’t know my Chevy’s all that well, but is that a Chevelle SS in in the middle? Quite a fortuitous snap, I like how all the cars seem to be waiting for 66. A celebration of driving.

          • ArlingtonNative

            Wow – awesome picture. Seeing that shocked my brain back to a much quieter and simple time in Arlington! Thanks for the blast from the past!

          • Cherrydale Ken

            I remember the “funky” building that where Walgreens is now. Marymount University used it for a time but I’m not sure if it was something else prior to that. (A bank? Offices? Shops?) I moved to Arlington in 1991 but I love learning about its history. The building in the background is Cardinal House at 3000 Spout Run Parkway. If you look closely, there appears to be a bridge on Lee Highway beyond the train trestle. That is probably crossing Spout Run (the creek). I-66 runs along what was once the Old Dominion train bed. That rail line extended from Rosslyn to McLean. (Possibly further?) This is why there is an Old Dominion Drive which also runs along another section of the old train bed. The overpass you see in the mid-ground of the photo is the old train trestle that was probably being dismantled to make room for the new I-66 road bridge. Back to Spout Run: The creek now runs under Kirkwood (beginning near the rear of the Walgreens) and continues to run under the roadway and the Lyon Village Shopping Center parking lot until it exits under I-66. It then quickly crosses back under NB Spout Run and stays in between the roadway until it reaches the Potomac. To avoid the creek, Spout Run Parkway likely ran on a different course than it does now. What I wonder is, was the shopping center still there or was the road moved to make way for the shops?

          • Lou

            What looks like a bridge on Lee Highway is actually a retaining wall structure that is still there today.

            And the shopping center to the left under the trestle is essentially unchanged (physically) from what it was when this photo was taken.

          • drax

            CW: yep, and the compromise was that they would only put in 2 lanes – and promised not to add more. So much for promises.

          • I think that promise expired when the road became clogged with Arlingtonians using it to commute to Fairfax County to work. It isn’t considered a “pass through” to the District now. Widending benefits the residents of Arlington who use it every day.

    • Chris

      I believe it also occured at the CVS across the street.

      • Chris

        No wait… wrong Walgreens I had in mind. I was thinking this was the one up by Glebe.

  • Johnny Utah


  • UnlimitedCustoms

    Why do Arlington police dress like they are ready for war?

    • They are moving the vests to the outside of their uniform shirts. Alot of police departments are going to this b/c it helps by moving alot of their gear off their waists which eventually helps with lower back problems.

      • CW

        So they can survive attacks from the ALOT MONSTER! RARRRHGHHH!!!!

        • CW

          Didn’t attach properly.

    • arglebargle

      Because they consider themselves to be at war?

    • KalashniKEV

      So when they get shot they have a better chance of surviving.

      Next question.

  • Tabby

    Gee, an SUV. What a surprise.

    I said it once and I’ll say it a million times.

    There should be a requirement for people to get a special license to drive them.

    • Look at the plates.

      • Tabby


        Driver’s license–SUV/Other oversized vehicle.

        It’s long overdue.

        • I was referring to the Diplomatic plates giving them immunity.

          But, there are truck specific plates in Virginia for vehicles over a certain weight. That exists already.

    • TGEoA

      They do. It’s called a drivers license

      • Tabby

        *rolls eyes*

        A special license–just like for people driving a truck.

        • TGEoA

          A drivers license is already special. It is special because it allows you to drive a motor vehicle, as opposed to shoot a deer.

          • drax

            So you think anyone with a regular license should be allowed to drive an 18-wheeler, TGEoA?

          • Except it was a small Ford SUV that hit the building. It does not meet the GVW requirements to be listed as a “truck”, and it hardly takes the same skill to drive as a tractor trailer with 18 wheels. It probably takes the same sort of skill as a station wagon would.

          • drax

            Right, but the point is that different vehicles have different licenses sometimes – “special” ones.

            I don’t think we need an SUV license though.

  • DarkHeart

    Does APD still park a car in that lot?

    • ACE

      They are usually there at nights.

    • Wonderin’

      Anyone know why they park an empty car there? Save on garage fees? ACPD officer works a second job at Walgreen’s?

      • AllenB

        They sometimes park police cars in troubled areas to scare off potential criminals. Though not sure that Walgreens is the site of much crime.

        • Deputy Dawg

          The reserve cars are parked around the county to deter crime in some areas, but there to slow cars down. This and the deadly car chase are NOT the only times that building has been hit by vehicles.

      • Elliot

        I used to cut through this lot coming home from work and saw an ACPD car (sometimes 2) parked there every day and wondered the same thing. I’m fairly certain this is not a preventive measure like Allen suggests — you can barely see the car unless your in the lot and the area is as clean as they come.

        Anyone else know what the deal is with this?

        • Elliot

          before someone else corrects it – that last “your” should be “you’re”

        • Allthatglimmersisnotgold

          County businesses and civic associations can request police cars be parked in certain areas in case there are any security concerns. The pd does it as a courtesy at no cost to the business. I have also heard the pd does this in exchange for free parking. The county does not allow PD to park their personal cars at the Courthouse, they have to use the pay lots.

          • Cherrydale Ken

            Another possibility: The officer who drives that car parks the car there because he/she lives in another county and the county-owned car cannot be taken outside of the county for an extended period. The location is very convenient to I-66 (a possible commuting route for the officer) and since that lot is rarely full, it’s a good place to park the car. In addition, Walgreens may welcome having a police car park there for deterrence. (As others have said.)

  • Novanglus

    It’s at least the third time. Twice, it was people speeding up Kirkwood and missing the curve (one was a teen DUI that killed 3, don’t know about the other). But this looks like a lower-speed hit to east side (facing Tarbouch).

    The diplomatic plate might be a clue. Tarbouch is a big hangout for 20-something Arab kids with more money then sense.

    • Novanglus

      Oops, that came off wrong. Not to imply that all Arab 20-somethings have more money than sense. And Clarendon has plenty of white 20-somethings who fit the description.

    • Smilla

      I’ve always wondered about Tarbouch. It looks packed every time I drive by (without running off the road and into the Walgreens). Is the food good? Is it a hangout for a particular demographic? Can you smoke on that sort-of enclosed patio and, if so, does that explain its appeal?

      • Hookahpalooza

        Draw is the Hookahs – and the food is OK. But what’s with sitting in the parking lot? Always the teaming masses in parking lot – doesn’t seem so cool.

        • CW

          Seriously…the place makes Spider Kelly’s look empty. Yet, even though I have lots of discussions about food and run in decent food circles, I’ve never heard a peep about the place. Who goes there and where do they come from??!

      • drax

        Food is fairly good. There’s a room inside without all the hookahs if you’re not from the Middle East or not a douche into outdated trends.

  • paging nova steve

    time for your customary anti automatic transmission rant….

    • Steve

      I did, and it’s FACT. This couldn’t have happened but for an automatic transmission unless it was a deliberate act.

      • I blame 4WD. It is clear this driver thought off-road was the way to go for a little fun.

      • drax

        That’s bull, Steve. It is definitely possible to accidently have a standard transmission in gear, thinking it is in neutral, and then step off the clutch, lurching forward even without stepping on the gas. And I’ll bet that’s even happened to you.

  • Steve

    Diplomatic spouse’s plates, SUV + AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION = this.

  • Steve

    This couldn’t even have happend with a manual transmission. ONLY with an automatic. Automatics enable incompetent people to drive.

    • Actually, incompetence enables incompetent people to drive.

      • Interesting

        I disagree with the “only” part of it, but Steve does have a point. Driving a stick requires a lot more focus. You can’t be texting, eating, or doing anything but driving. It requires a lot more engagement with the car and thinking ahead about the traffic.

        There are a very few bad manual drivers out there, but at this point, people who drive a stick are disproportionately “into” driving (which would change if all cars were stick).

        • I partially agree. You also have an extra pedal and a gear shift to maneuver. The propencity for people to eat, text, drink, read, and everything else while driving just lends to a more dangerous situation SHOULD they be doing those things in a car that requires more attention.

          • Interesting

            OB, in theory, what you say makes sense–but in practice, it’s basically impossible to do anything but drive at the wheel of a stick-shift car. In the middle of Montana, sure, you could coast and then do whatever. But around here, it’s constant focus and constant shifting.

        • DarkHeart

          Manual drivers in bumper to bumper traffic encourage lane shifters because of the gaps they create.

  • JimPB

    Looking for a new angle: Perhaps the driver and SUV were overly eager to participate in Walgreens introduction of charging outlets for battery powered vehicles (initiated in San Fran) and getting its pharmacists out from behind the counter to interact with and help customers (initiated in Chicago).

  • pajam259

    What’s with this building? It’s the same store where two individuals fleeing police were killed some years back when, driving at a high rate of speed on Kirkwood toward Lee Highway, they careened off the road and hit the back door of what is now the Walgreen’s. Then, it was an Eckerd Drug. Crazy!

    • AllenB

      I thought they took the 66 off ramp next to it too quickly and went into the back of the building.

  • TGEoA


  • Andrew

    Hey Steve, I bet you $100 the car is an automatic!

  • George

    I remember that. If I recall correctly, there was another incident in the late nineties where someone crashed into the Eckerds then as well.

  • Don Ager

    I wonder if this is a new policy of not blurring plates?
    Or did you just forget to, or since it was diplo you didn’t care?
    DLR- I believe is either a diplomat from Liectenstein or Bosnia-Herzegovina. Depending on which list i looked at was up to date.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    “…however the pillar is decorative… ”

    Yes, and so was the driver.

  • ArlintonNative

    With the Diplomatic plates, the “D” prefix is for a diplomat and the “S” prefix is for embassy staff. The 2nd & 3rd letters designate the country. And yes, Department of State did re-assign the designators a number of years back. I’d have to imagine another, updated list has since been published somewhere.
    They got damn lucky on hitting a decorative pillar!

  • JimPB

    There’s an as yet unknown part of the story.

    What was the driver’s explanation for the crash?

    Who owns the vehicle? Who was the driver? Was the driver cited? If not, why? If so, with what?

    While it may have been that the vehicle’s condition was such that it could have been driven away, was the driver in condition to safely drive it away?

    P.S. The other half of the stories of other incidents of vehicles smashing into structures and going off the road have also have to be reported, at least in ARLNow.Com. Complete stories, please.

  • Just Me

    “Nobody was hurt and there is no damage to the vehicle.”

    How can you run into a building and not have damage to your vehicle?

    • Steve

      I guess Ford can use this for advertising purposes.


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