83°Partly Cloudy

Collision Involving ACPD Cruiser in Pentagon City

by ARLnow.com September 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm 6,714 74 Comments

An Arlington County Police cruiser slammed into a vehicle in Pentagon City while responding to a call this (Sunday) afternoon.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. The officer was heading westbound on Army Navy Drive, responding to a large fight in progress at the Sheraton National hotel (900 S. Orme Street), when a Saab pulled out in front of him from a Pentagon parking lot. Multiple witnesses told ARLnow.com that the cruiser had its lights and siren on, while the driver of the Saab had a green light. One witness said he was in his car with the windows up and could not hear the siren.

The cruiser and the Saab collided, sending the Saab careening into the eastbound lanes of Army Navy Drive. The cruiser wound up in the center of the intersection, facing an entrance to the Pentagon City mall parking garage.

Paramedics treated the female driver of the Saab at the scene for an apparent ankle injury. The officer did not require medical attention.

Eastbound Army Navy Drive was closed for at least an hour while police photographed the scene and took witness statements. No word yet whether any charges will be filed as a result of the accident.

  • Me

    Uhm…a “large fight in progress at the Sheraton National hotel” at 3:30 in the afternoon? Can we hear more about this please?!

    • What we were told was that there was some sort of conference involving Eritreans at the hotel. A number of Ethiopians showed up to protest the conference. Some protesters and conference-goers were involved in a fight. Shortly after police arrived on scene, they radioed back to say the situation was under control. We don’t have any additional information about the incident.

      • Me

        Wow! Thank you for the quick update.

    • Jd

      Fights are more common at those hotels than most are aware. More info is not necessary is it?

      • Me

        “Those hotels”? What does that mean? I’ve lived off of the Pike for 3 years and the Sheraton is the only hotel I know over there. And no, I am not familiar with or aware of the fights that apparently going on all the time. That’s why I read the news and ask questions.
        I appreciate your open mindedness in the matter.

  • Dama Diner

    Sorry, we were out of whatever the crap is that we serve, and people got touchy.

    • doug

      Your xenophobia is charmingly naive. Or is it?

      • Stitch_Jones

        Bad joke does not equal xenophobia. Please stop overreacting. If Chris Rock had said it onstage, you may have laughed.

        I suggest you look up the definition of large words before you use them.

        And also ask your alma mater for a refund.

        • HughJassPhD


        • doug

          Um…who is overreacting now?

          Xenophobia is not a big word, it is just a word. Sorry if it is too big for you.

          It is also the exact word for the situation – provincial (oh dang, another big word) yahoo denigrates (there I go again, sorry, can’t help it – must be my alma mater) cuisine of another country because it is “different.” yup, It’s the right word.

          • drax

            Depends. Is it actually crap?

    • MC 703


  • Joe

    I’d like to know if the Saab driver was on a cell phone or wearing headphones, or exhibiting any other form of distracted driving.

    I pass through that exact same area all the time, and I cannot fathom how a driver coming out of that parking lot couldn’t hear a police car with its siren blaring, and visibility there is excellent, especially with today’s weather, so it baffles me that the Saab driver didn’t see the police car.

    • bobco85

      I also wonder about the driver of the Saab, too. Who pulls out into an intersection without looking to make sure there are no cars coming? I mean, in Arlington Co people run red lights all the time, so I make sure before entering an intersection that it is safe.

      • Mike Hunt

        She just finished sunday funday at the local BW3..

      • drax

        Um, maybe the same people who run red lights all the time also pull out into intersections without looking.

        • happycyclist

          there are so many drivers who regularly disobey the rules of the road. This is why some people beleive cars do not belong on the roads (I think they can remain, but we need more enforcement)

          • MO

            People believe cars don’t belong on the roads? Righhhhhttttt.

          • wrinkly

            we don’t do irony

    • YTK

      Even SAAAAAAAB drivers are supposed to LOOK BOTH WAYS before pulling into a street – green light notwithstanding.
      Driver ed should be more than just “reading a manual” and being tested for basics. And there should be mandatory re-testing with each license renewal.

  • anon

    file charges against that woman

    she put other people’s lives in danger by not paying attention to the emergency vehicle on the way to an emergency call

  • Just Me

    [Post removed per comment policy]

    • Me

      The fight wasn’t at the Pentagon City mall….Please read the ArlNow response to my question above.

    • Eric

      53 minutes: amount of time it took for a racially-tinged comment to appear. glad ya’ll don’t take weekends off.

  • IggyPup

    First World News

    • Resident

      So you prefer that ARLnow ignore everything except major international crises?

    • Ralph

      Yup, that’s right — that’s where we live.

  • LN

    I was near the SAAB, and as much as I could tell the driver did not have her music on nor was she on her cell phone. I had my windows down and although I could hear the sirens, it was only split seconds before the crash when I saw the police car. EVERYONE who was there today is VERY fortunate that no one was seriously hurt. Also to keep in mind, some pedestrians who were in the crosswalk (barely paying attention to the sirens) almost got hit (BTW, that intersection is notorious for pedestrians jaywalking). I agree with bobco85’s statement about making sure an intesection is safe before entering it because of all the stupid people running red lights. I’m not saying that the police officer nor the SAAB driver are stupid, but I am saying that people who think running a red light is a good choice, are stupid. Give yourself extra time when traveling. Thanks for reading, and be safe.

    • Michael H.

      I’m glad I wasn’t near that intersection today.

      I’ve seen a few police cars racing through local streets (in D.C. and Arlington) without turning on their sirens or lights. It always seems like an accident waiting to happen. Not saying that this was the case here. Just a possibility.

      On the other hand, I’ve seen far too many distracted drivers who pull out of parking lots, parking garages and side streets without bothering to look for oncoming traffic or pedestrians in the crosswalk. Not saying this was the case either.

  • BrianKal

    Do any ACPD cruisers have The Rumbler siren?

    • anon

      no, we use an old motorola siren

      • BreakPause02

        Thank goodness. The noise pollution those sirens generate is horrible – just see DC or NYC where almost cop has one.

        • Glaucoma

          I can hear the tumblers in DC from across the river.

  • Rick

    Looks like Tom Smikowski from Initech cleaned up when he launched his Jump to Conclusions mat. You people are going buckwild with the finger pointing today.

    Did anyone think maybe the cop was going balls to the wall, thinking the Pentagon lot would be empty and it wouldn’t be a problem to gain a little speed before tearing through there?

    It’s obvious the cop and the woman in the saab both got dealt deuce-7 but let’s see what the flop is at least before we lock her up and throw away the key…

    • Mike Hunt

      You really think the cop would be going balls to the wall?
      come on man!

  • Jake

    Good luck getting repair parts for that SAAB.. adios

    • NoVapologist

      That’s a late model Saab, so spare parts are interchangeable with the Chevy Monte Carlo and Impala.

      • bob

        Despite SAAB being owned by GM, they were completely unique cars other than the 9-7x, which was a GM SUV, and the 9-2x, which was a Subaru WRX.

    • PL25rd

      I was in a similar accident two years ago, and I think it’s a pretty good bet that the car is totaled, with a bent frame.

  • GodFila

    Nothing like a nice SAAB story with the morning Joe….

  • Garden City

    Too bad about the totaled Crown Vic. Ford doesn’t make those any more. The last model year sold in the U.S. was 2011 and the last 2011 model rolled off the assembly line in August, 2011. Some departments actually stocked up, buying extra unit and putting them in storage ahead of the line shutdown. I wonder if ACPD did.

    • BreakPause02

      I doubt it. I saw an ACPD Dodge Charger the other day. I guess they are moving on.

    • Glaucoma

      From the pictures, it doesn’t look like the Vic is totaled. The wheels are all straight, the passenger cabin is not bent. The Vic’s are built body on frame, so the frame looks to be fine. That is totally repairable.

  • Hollywood

    Am I missing something here? The lady had a green light. The cop should have been more careful before running a red.

    • CW

      Took 30 comments for a logical one to appear. A cop went tear-assing through a red light and t-boned a car. Story.

      • sunflower

        if you were on the losing end of that fight, or otherwise waiting for police help, youd be glad he was tear assing through the light. as far as i know, he had the light bar on and was running his siren. if he werent hurrying,people on here would be complaining about slow response time from acpd—sheeesh!

        • CW

          Um, actually I’d rather the cop take the extra 2 seconds to roll through the light slowly and actually make it to my fight rather than have to hang out at an accident scene, but that’s just me.

      • that’s logical?

        Sure she had a green and he had a red, but he also had sirens on and she didn’t think to look when she heard them before saying “oh hey, I have a green so I’m just gonna go”. And that’s logical? This is a right that emergency vehicles have and it’s something you’re taught when you learn to drive… it doesn’t matter if you have a green light… if you hear a siren look first. Why assume that he “went tear-assing” when it’s possible he saw no one and she saw green and just went while he was already in the intersection because she didn’t look or care? Were you there? Just funny what “logical” is to some people.

        • CW

          If you read the witness accounts in the story, you will see that the accounts differ as to whether, when, and to what extent any siren may have been audible.

          “She had a green…she didn’t think to look…she heard them”. Again, you’re assuming the siren was audible. Secondly, while the story uses the term “pulled out”, that is colloquialism, and it may not have been that she “pulled out” from a dead stop but rather was just cruising through a light that had long been green. How often do you look both ways on a green light? Be honest. 100% of the time?

          Yes, he was tear-assing because he managed to strike a car while running a red light. That is tear-assing in my book. If I were in the business of running red lights, even with lights and sirens, I’d at least do an “idaho stop”.

          • Hollywood


          • sunflower

            what the hell is an “inaudible siren”? sounds like an oxymoron. if she didnt hear it we need to know why. if acpd needs a different type of siren, then thats another issue.

          • CW

            One that is not on, I would think. Like I said above, there appear to be differing witness accounts of whether the siren was on. Personally, I’ve seen countless instances of ACPD only blipping their sirens off and on intermittently, i.e. not leaving them on.

        • Rick

          ““oh hey, I have a green so I’m just gonna go”. And that’s logical?”

          Sounds good to me, and maybe everyone else ever.

          • CW

            Wait, as I said above, it’s not clear if she just got a green or if it was long green (say when she was passing under the 395 overpass). If it was the latter, you really expect her to slow down or stop without reason?

          • WeiQiang

            The photos and article suggest that she was exiting the Pentagon aux parking lot on Army Navy. There is no automotive 395 underpass at or near that intersection [the intersection across from which is the Fashion Centre lot exit].

            I do take your point that she may or may not have heard/seen the lights/siren. I also think that it’s more reasonable to expect the emergency vehicle to slow when entering an intersection against the light than to expect a private vehicle to do so. I live just down the street from Station 5 near there and the engines and ambulances, in my observations, always slow roll the intersections in that neighborhood.

          • CW

            Oh wow, thanks for explaining in the first paragraph. I learned something new today – I did not know that those mystery lots along army navy were Pentagon lots. When I read the article and looked at some of the pictures, I’d placed the accident at Eads street, thinking that leaving a “Pentagon lot” meant that she had left the actual Pentagon, gone under 395, and come to the intersection at Eads. I now see from the pic with the fire truck in the foreground that yes, this is further west. This makes more sense.

    • BreakPause02

      Let’s see the cam footage. That’s why it is there.

  • Garden City

    In some states, an emergency vehicle running LAS has the right-of-way, regardless of traffic control signals or signs. In some states, running LAS is only requesting right-of-way, and the traffic control signals or signs still have precedence. Does anyone know which camp VA falls into?

  • dk (not DK)

    From the Code of Virginia:

    § 46.2-920. Certain vehicles exempt from regulations in certain situations; exceptions and additional requirements.

    A. The driver of any emergency vehicle, when such vehicle is being used in the performance of public services, and when such vehicle is operated under emergency conditions, may, without subjecting himself to criminal prosecution:

    1. Disregard speed limits, while having due regard for safety of persons and property;

    2. Proceed past any steady or flashing red signal, traffic light, stop sign, or device indicating moving traffic shall stop if the speed of the vehicle is sufficiently reduced to enable it to pass a signal, traffic light, or device with due regard to the safety of persons and property;


    B. ….The exemption granted under subdivision A 2 shall apply only when the operator of such emergency vehicle displays a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights as provided in §§ 46.2-1022 and 46.2-1023 and either (a) sounds a siren, exhaust whistle, or air horn designed to give automatically intermittent signals or (b) slows the vehicle down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions, yields right-of-way to the driver of another vehicle approaching or entering the intersection from another direction or, if required for safety, brings the vehicle to a complete stop before proceeding with due regard for the safety of persons and property.

    • WeiQiang

      /\ this /\

    • PL25rd

      “Due regard” being the key there. I would say that t-boning someone who has the green light isn’t exactly showing “due regard.”

      • dk (not DK)

        Since I wasn’t there, I have no opinion on whether the vehicle was showing “due regard.” I was simply answering the question of whether the emergency vehicle had the right to run a red light in VA. The answer is yes.

        However, I must ask: do accidents never happen in your world?

        • PL25rd

          Of course accidents happen in my world! (See my comment above re: being in a similar accident two years ago). But the question is, from a legal standpoint, whether or not the officer was showing “due regard” for others when entering the intersection on a red light. Like the accident I was in (where I was going straight through an intersection on a green light and got similarly t-boned), it’s a matter of liability. Was there any contributory negligence on the part of the Saab driver, for example? I was surmising that, based on the description of the accident, the officer appeared not to have been showing “due regard”. It takes a lot of force for damage like that to occur – trust me, I know!

          In my accident, the other driver was 100% at fault and I recovered completely. Here, it may be that the Saab driver can’t recover completely because he/she wasn’t paying attention to the sirens. That appears to be up for debate, based on the description from the witness.

          Also: touchy, much?

    • Jason S.

      That “due regard” counts for quite a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ambulance or firetruck not take a second or two before going through a red light. Although, equally anecdotal, I often see ACPD doing 50-60mph down Wilson or Fairfax at night without lights or sirens.

      It’s probably a cultural difference at play, one group would rather not harm people, the other rather would.

      • sunflower

        what a police-hating thing to say!

        • Jason S.

          OK, you’re right, I should love them for nearly hitting me a few times on the way home late at night. I could waste my time filing a complaint, but only a moron would think something would come of that.

          • Brasco

            Try not to walk in the roadway when your trashed and you won’t “nearly” get hit. And for your info, police usually arrive first to secure the scene for Fire and Medics, who will wait before entering a dangerous incident…other than the Fire they are trained to handle.

          • sunflower


          • Jason S.

            Walking home from work late is not walking home “trashed”. Running red lights, turning right on red without stopping, and speeding are all traffic violations in Virginia. God forbid our welfare case police officers follow those same rules.

            If a cop is speeding, he needs lights at least, lights and sirens are better.

    • CW

      “Exhaust whistle”!!!

      That’s only in the mornin!!


  • Gerry

    I’ve been concerned for decades about how inaudible electronic sirens are. As the story noted, one witness with windows rolled up couldn’t hear the police cruiser’s siren.

    Electronic sirens are dangerous because they can’t be heard untl the emergency vehicle is almost on top of you. The difference between the electronic sirens of today and the older electromechanical sirens of the past is probably the purity of the electronically produced sound – which doesn’t carry very far.

    If I were to guess, it would have something to do with what is called harmonics. No pun intended, but they are an accident waiting to happen.

  • South Awwlington

    Not one mention of how well that Saab held up against a Crown Vic????

    I’d say pretty damn well given the condition of the Cruiser.

    You have to be tear-assing to do that kind of damage to a CV.

    • anon

      From the pictures, it doesn’t look like the Vic is totaled. The wheels are all straight, the passenger cabin is not bent. The Vic’s are built body on frame, so the frame looks to be fine. That is totally repairable. Plus, most of the bits that are broken are the plastic bumper, etc.


Subscribe to our mailing list