SUV Runs Into the Front of Bangkok 54

by ARLnow.com July 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm 9,988 82 Comments

(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) An out-of-control SUV struck the front of Bangkok 54 restaurant (2919 Columbia Pike) this afternoon.

The crash happened around 3:45 p.m. Damage to the building appeared to be relatively minor and confined to the front facade of the eatery. The vehicle also nicked a street tree before coming to rest between Bangkok 54 and Maruko Japanese Restaurant. A box of beer could be seen in the back of the SUV.

The driver tried to run once police arrived on scene, we’re told. He hopped a fence behind the nearby McDonald’s restaurant but was tased by police and apprehended a block or two away.

The man, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, was evaluated for minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital, where he will undergo drug and alcohol testing, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. No other injuries were reported.

Police are investigating whether the vehicle might have been stolen or used without authorization.


  • Chris B

    Maryland plates. Nuff said.

    • 350sbc

      Negative. It appears to be Virginia. If you look closely in the picture where the tree blocks the rear plate, you can see the green “13” registration sticker on the top right.

    • John K.

      Definitely VA. Well, the Pike is having a fantastic week. I sure hope my travel orders come through soon!

    • Ralph

      Definitely MD!

    • dk (not DK)

      Definitely VA. If you look closely at the plate in the second image, you can see that the number 1 is in a serif font. Maryland uses a sans-serif font, as you can see in this example here:


      As you can see in these sample plates, VA uses a serif font:


  • esmith69

    Man, this place has the best Thai food around in my opinion. Hope they get this stuff sorted out ASAP. Is the restaurant still open?

    • If you say so…

      But I prefer Thai Square. Maybe it’s something about the fact that the check is written in Thai when you get it.

      Restaurant was open open last night when I walked past.

      • P. Monroe

        Mana Thai is right down the Pike and still is pretty darn good. Lots of good Thai food in the area.

        With some kinds of food, the dingier the place, the better chance you have of good food.

        • veeta

          Not necessarily–Bangkok 54 is my favorite, and not dingy in the slightest.

        • Flying Spaghetti Monster

          Do you mean Manee Thai?

          • jim

            Rincome used to be good and was the first Thai place in the neighborhood. But it has gone downhill in my view.

    • Conrad

      Thai Square>Bangkok 54>Rincome>Manee

  • 7-11-bum

    Can Columbia Pike get any more vibrant?

    • that’s what she said

      Only with a train whistle.

    • awesomepossom

      What’s your suggestion? Widen the road and increase speed limits?

    • drax

      There are never drunk drivers in the sprawl-choked suburbs.

  • nom de guerre

    Do you suppose the police will block the right lane of Westbound Columbia Pike during rush hour for an event like this one once the streetcar is operational? My guess is yes. Carry on.

    • that’s what she said

      No, because they will understand the train is running. Do police park on other rail tracks?

      • nom de guerre

        The police and fire department park wherever they want to. By the way, the streetcar is not a train.

  • John Fontain

    I hope they get more outdoor seating along the Pike (at places like William Jeffrey’s Tavern).

  • Joey

    the lot around back was full

  • David

    Lucky he didn’t hit anyone head on or do any other damage.

  • 7-11-bum

    From an eyewitness account – the guy they caught running from the SUV had a yellow reflective vest on.

    • There was a separate incident in the area around the same time where police stopped a man wearing a yellow vest thinking it might be the homicide suspect from Friday. We’re told that officers determined it was not, in fact, the suspect. He was released from custody at the scene.

      • What’s going on here?

        Sounds like they are profiling guys with yellow reflective vests.

        • Wilbur

          That’s an awful lot of bicyclists

        • drax

          What a waste of time, going after specific suspects based on their descriptions. Just round up the homeless and your problems are solved.


      • Joey

        I got a pic of the other incident if needed

      • South Awwlington

        The Jewelry Store suspect is considered linked to a crime of the same nature an 13th and F Sts NW.

  • UA

    “Don’t tase me, bro!”

  • awesomepossom

    How could this even happen?

  • Mc

    Bad week for the Pike. I love Bangkok 54. Pike deserves more people, fewer SUVs.

    • Right.

      I think the Pike deserves more SUV’s, personally.

      Not sure if you know how gentrification works – but it’s a sure sign that it’s working when you swap out beat up 15 year old Corollas and Accords for newer model Yukons, Explorers (and to be fair, in Arlington there’ll no doubt be one or two Priuses and Smart cars).

      No one’s going to move their young family around (the kind of people we want moving into the hood) on a bicycle.

  • my question is also : HOW????

    thanks for the recommendation on the restaurant – must try.

    • Thai Square.

      Thai Square is better (and for the record, it’s in just as much need for business right now – your business tends to be off for a little bit when there’s a murder scene literally next door).

      Bangkok 54 is fancier, sure – and it has more overpriced drinks.

      But it’s nowhere near as authentic.

      • Bob

        Thai Square blows. Waitresses are FAR less nice than those at Bangkok 54.

        • Your point?

          Nicer waitresses don’t equal better food, believe it nor not.

          And personally, I’ve had much more personable service @ Thai Square compared to Bangkok 54 every time. Do I get chitchat? No (probably related to the fact that Thai Square staff are generally not native English speakers).

          But I don’t go to a Thai restaurant (or any restaurant) to have a conversation with my server. I go there to converse with my dining companions, and eat good food.

          If I want quality, personable service from attractive young Asian women, I’ll visit a massage parlor.

  • Electricbill

    There has to be more to this story. From the pictures it looks like the SUV must have been driving in the wrong direction. No normal person would do that.

    Side note
    Bangkok 54 is the best Thia restaurant in the DC area.

    • Tabs

      Three words: green curry chicken

      And you must get their brown rice.

    • WeiQiang

      Love Bangkok 54 because it’s convenient, but ‘best in DC’? Try Duangrats.

      • Ben

        Best Thai (well was as I haven’t gone in a while) is Thai-Xing

  • Enough already

    This is a great area to invest tax dollars and build a streetcar for thugs to escape on. Columbia pike should have a barbed wire fence around it to keep everyone in

    • DeportEmAll


  • The hell is going on with the Pike this month


      No trolly to keep everything vibrant yet.

  • stephanie

    F Bangkok 54. There was a caterpillar in my food once, and they only gave my half off my individual meal. Ridiculous. Thai square AND rincome are better.

    • Tabs


    • Skeptical

      Yow. Thanks for the warning.

      Rincome is kind of Thai filtered through Cantonese, but it’s fun nonetheless. If you hit the right night, you get to witness the police action at the attached motel.

    • Mary-Austin

      Agreed. Rincome > Bangkok 54

    • Glad someone gets it.

      I’ve never had that kind of experience at Bangkok 54, to be sure – but I’ve also always walked out of there wondering why I paid that much for the kind of generic cookie cutter Thai food I could get at a strip mall in Manassas or something (or make myself with a rice cooker, a pound of the meat of my choice, and a jar from Trader Joe’s).

      Thai Square is infinitely more authentic. And while as pointed out below, Rincome is not quite as “traditional”, it’s better too.

      And they’re both a lot cheaper.

  • GC NOW

    I drove by this on the way home; they were diverting traffic onto Walter Reed. The truck was definitely facing the wrong way. Hopefully we’ll see an amateur video of the ‘perp getting tazed. The TAZER! The TAZER!!!

  • ferf

    well, i was eating in bangkok 54, actually sitting in the window table when the suburban struck. i looked up to see the SUV suddenly swerve in to oncoming traffic, jump the curb, and then start charging at the window. my friends and i leaped up, but the driver managed to straighten out and ended up just side-swiping the building. as mentioned in the article, there were empty alcohol containers in the suburban so that maybe was a factor, but the driver of another car that was almost hit told me that he thought the guy was reaching for something in his car and accidentally spun the wheel. in short: ridiculous.

    • Tabs

      Glad you are OK.

      • me too!! Scary – good reminder to not sit near windows.

        • Josh S


          • WeiQiang

            um, yeah

        • Also…

          A good reminder to never leave your house. Ever.

          Or to never be home. I’m not sure which.

          • sunflower

            love it….

          • Parkington

            Only breathe when necessary. Could be poison air.

    • Not Me

      Wow, dinner with a free show. Bangkok 54 is really turning it up a notch!

      Glad ur ok!

  • ferf

    thanks! it scary for sure

    • jackson

      Eating at 3:45 p.m? Late lunch or early dinner?

      • LolaMINI

        Who cares… pointless post.

        • jackson

          Unlike yours, which demonstrates that anyone can try trolling.

      • ferf

        late lunch…started at 2:30; we were pretty much the only ones in the restaurant which made it all the more unbelievable that we were sitting at that table.

  • UA

    Was he parked on the curb across the street at the ABC and gunned it to hard across the 4 lanes?

  • happycyclist

    If SUVs drivers want the right to be treated as vehicles, on the road, they need to learn to obey traffic laws. Until then they should only be allowed on SUV paths, or on sidewalks. Oh wait, never mind.

  • WeiQiang

    You know, bollards might have prevented the damage to the building.

    • nom de guerre

      My sources indicate that the driver was heard to be yelling “passing on your left” to oncoming pedestrians.

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      But what about damage to the bollards?

      • CW

        Never mind the bollards

  • It happen before there

    Driver going the other direction, but car stopped in about the same place, thinking it was about 1997 or 1998.

  • UA

    VA Plate.. XBR 4931

    Took a pic as I was walking by yesterday.

    Made me think of the crime report from last week
    07/22/12, VA XBH-1046 (tags only), wrong tag though.

  • stole my parking spot

  • Chris

    I love Bangkok 54, but the parking situation is horrific. I guess this person thought the same and came up with a novel solution.

  • U ROY

    City living

  • novasteve


    How much more proof do you need?

  • RightWingWhacko

    The new planning director is going to have to look into how we make Arlington sidewalks wide enough for SUV drivers.

  • T-Bone!!!

    Soooooo glad to see that Bangcock 54 now has a drive-thru!

    • Tom Saffell

      This T-Bone guy is a jerk! Someone should ban his comments.

      • T-Bone!!!


  • Id

    Once the street car is in place, this will never happen again.


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