Bicyclist Survives After Dump Truck Runs Over His Head

by ARLnow.com November 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm 14,690 71 Comments

A man is lucky to be alive after a dump truck ran over his head in the Ballston area over the weekend.

The incident happened around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. According to police, the cyclist was stopped at a temporary red light next to a construction site on Quincy Street near Wilson Boulevard, when an unoccupied dump truck started rolling south on Quincy and struck him.

The man was knocked to the ground and one of the truck’s tires ran over his head, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The man was wearing a helmet at the time and the helmet likely saved his life. He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital’s trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries, Sternbeck said.

Immediately after the incident the driver of the dump truck, who had left it running and unattended next to the construction site, ran it down and managed to stop it from rolling further, according to Sternbeck. Occupational safety officials responded to the scene, inspected the truck and found multiple safety violations, he said.

Citations were issued and the truck was “taken out of service.” No word on whether any other charges are pending.

  • yequalsy



    Where are the CHARGES and ARRESTS. FREDTERP

    • Josh S


      • JamesE

        FREDTERP survived the move to the Big 10!

      • Tabby_TwoTone


  • Amused

    I see a HUGE lawsuit coming.

    • A lawyer

      …Arlington’s juries are stingy …

  • Becoming Indifferent

    This reads like a “Ripley’s Believe or Not” entry.

    • Kaydee

      Thought it sounded like a header from The Onion!

  • CW

    Charges would be nice, but this poor guy’s going to need a new front door with all the personal injury lawyers that have likely been beating on it. I hope he takes the trucking company for all they’re worth.

    Now time for the obligatory internet generalization leap…construction vehicles are incredibly dangerous around here. In Clarendon, I see them start running red lights and flying through intersections starting at 6:30 AM most days headed to the Washington/11th site. I’ve also seen them hop curbs full of waiting pedestrians while making right turns on numerous occasions. It’s a miracle they haven’t killed anybody yet.

    • drax

      It’s still the cyclist’s fault, somehow.

      • Happy Cyclist

        Another reckless cyclist, stopped at a red light.

        • Captain_Obvious

          Ha, another ? He was one in a million. Maybe if he broke the law like most bikers, he wouldn’t have ended up like Phil Leotardo. Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I’m kidding.

    • SHLady

      in a case like this, I hope he takes them to the cleaners.

    • WHAT

      how are constrction vehicles flying through intersection? thats a first

      • WeiQiang

        at the Boeing HQ building site, the build was – indeed – required to use flying dump trucks, given proximity to DCA. i can see them hovering right now.

        • WeiQiang

          ERRATA: … the builder …

  • BigBlue

    I haven’t checked lately, but will this affect the sign about “Days since last accident”? It was up to around 250 or so last I checked.

    • drax

      Days Since Last Running Over Someone’s Head with a Friggin’ Truck: 3

      • Josh S

        That’s comedy gold right there — +100.
        And along with the FREDTERP sighting, this thread is off to a great start……

      • drax

        Days Since Last Running Over Someone’s Head with a Friggin’ Truck: $

    • BallstonArea

      I ran by on Friday and remember thinking, “253 days is pretty good.” I wish they would have made it until the project was complete.

    • cynthiabigc

      you are right! i will check on that sign! .. i RIDE MY BIKE BY THERE EVERYDAY TO WORK! eegads.. and i wear a helmet.

  • Dezlboy

    Big endorsement contract from the helmet company?

  • Erick

    “Occupational safety officials responded to the scene, inspected the truck and found multiple safety violations,”
    ~ Shocking!!!
    Isn’t this the case with every f–king dump-truck we see in Arlington? Or for that matter anywhere in the area? Why are our roads littered with dump trucks in various states of disrepair that date back to the 70’s?
    Is this a reflection of “the lowest bidder gets the job” mentality we have adopted over the years?
    I guess you get what you pay for… APD should have road blocks inspecting every single one of these bush league outfits that riddle our road with fly by night owners and operators.
    Last year I lost a windshield when a retread flew off of one of these rigs on 66 and landed in my passenger seat. If I hadn’t of swerved, I would have been wearing a retread to work that day…
    It’s just total bullshit that we have to put up with this on our roads with our friends and family out there just trying to get to work.
    ROAD SIDE INSPECTIONS for these vehicles PLEASE!

    • CW

      Before your comment gets moderated away, I would just like to state that I agree 100%. I have seen many, many egregious safety violations by construction vehicles as I state above.

    • Dirty biker

      Hmmm if it makes you feel any better, I run a service business with class C (big, but not huge) trucks. We’ve been pulled over 3x as many times for DOT inspections this year as in previous years- fines are HUGE for non compliance so expect there to be a weeding out of unsafe vehicles over the next few years.

      (FWIW we have a zero tolerance policy for unsafe driving and monitor the speed and location and day to day condition of every truck- its expensive but well worth it in respect to this soty of incident or the cost of potential fines)

      • JPB

        Bravo, Dirty biker.

      • GoDumpTrucks

        Don’t mind the spoiled elitists here. Post first read later…
        They are pretty much indignant against anyone who is not a white collar liberal that pretends to feel for the less fortunate, unless of course, you inconvenience them.

        • drax

          Um, no, we just object to RUNNING OVER PEOPLE’S HEADS.

  • Novanglus

    Okay, I was looking for a reason to wear a helmet at all times. Now I have one. And there’s a store that sells them right at that intersection.

    • Dezlboy

      Novanglus, are you implying the helmet store was in cahoots with the truck driver? 🙂

    • SHLady

      Hear hear. Wear your helmet, people! head on asphalt is *ugly*.

    • BlueSkies

      Novanglus, here’s another reason to always wear your helmet – in addition to the fact that it can help save your life. If you are hit, and your helmet is undamaged, that can help you avoid an ambulance ride to the hospital because they’ll know your head didn’t hit the ground. Been there, done that. And hoping the cyclist in this case will recover fully.

  • Phil Leotardo

    I could have used a helmet like that.

  • JimPB

    Charge against owner of truck and driver: : Criminal negligence — ‘The failure to use reasonable care to avoid consequences that threaten or harm the safety of the public and that are the foreseeable outcome of acting in a particular manner.”

    Take note: Helmet likely saved life. I’ve seen too many head injuries with serious consequences when bicyclists had a spill and were not wearing a helmet.

    Don’t want to wear a helmet when cycling? Then assume responsibility for all of the costs of care and rehabilitation (no money, no care) and forgo any disability benefits if an injury and resulting disability arises from an incident when not wearing a helmet.

    Want to use tobacco products? Then assume responsibility for all of the costs of care from diseases that have a strong connection to tobacco.

    • SHLady

      I used to work next door to a head and spine injury center in Boston, and often saw patients in the cafeteria at lunch. It’s shocking to see so many people — all too often young, healthy men — quadriplegic and brain damaged for the rest of their lives. Head injuries are no joke.

    • Kevin

      So your saying if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet it’s his fault he got ran over by a dump truck!!??

      I agree it makes no sense to not wear helmet, but that doesn’t give you the right to run bikers over

      • JimPB

        A cyclist who doesn’t wear an approved helmet isn’t thereby at fault for being in an accident; who is at fault depends on the circumstances. The cyclist who is not wearing a helmet is at fault for exposing him- or herself to serious preventable injuries. SHLady alludes to the seriousness — and tragedy — of such injuries. Recovery is lengthy and, alas, often partial. To care for a person so injured is to have to cry at the life course altering impact while also feeling intense anger at avoidable dire results.

      • drax

        No, he’s saying it would be his fault for getting serious head trauma from being run over by a truck.

  • Arl4ist

    Must not have been a Capital Bikeshare rider.

    • CW

      I’ve actually seen a lot of CaBi riders who BYOH.

      • cynthiabigc

        most wear helmets. i have three helmets.. two at home, one a work. work one is for CaBi rentals. Going to do that later today.

  • The 53 percent

    Give the dump truck driver a free loan so he can buy a house in Arlington. He’s the real victim here.

    • drax

      Gigantic straw man.

    • drax

      BTW, you didn’t answer my question about whether you worked your way through college without parental or government grants or loans….

      • kj

        asks the guy in his mom’s basement

      • The 53 percent

        Student loan, paid back with interest. The taxpayers made a good return. They weren’t forced to give me a free loan. And the loan was a safe investment, unlike middle income homeowners with as little as 1% stake in a home they can’t afford.

        • drax

          Ah, so you got a low-interest loan, guaranteed by the government, to help you get a start in life.

          Much like the loan program for home buyers that you were whining about. Your hypocrisy is showing.

          And no, the loan was by no means a safe investment. A college loan is about the least safe investment there is. There’s no asset to sell if you fail, and no requirement whatsoever that you not fail. You could pay your tuition for that semester and then drop out or flunk, and nothing could be recovered. Or you could get your degree and then smoke pot all your life and collect unemployment. Homeowners have a home that can be foreclosed on and sold.

          • The 53 percent

            I guess you don’t know that it’s not possible to default on student loans? They stay with you forever, just like delinquent taxes. So yes, it is a safe investment. Home loans, on the other hand, can be released through bankruptcy. And I wouldn’t call my 8% student loans “low-interest.”

          • Smokin It Up

            I smoke pot everyday, pay all my loans on time, and have a successful career.

            On the flip-side none of my unemployed acquaintances smoke.

            But thank you for the 1930s perspective.

    • SHLady

      the truck was “unoccupied”.

  • CW


  • Chano

    What kind of bike helmet was it? Most are made of styrofoam, which I would think would split under the pressure of a truck tire.

    And I echo all the criticism of construction trucks around here. So many of them look like rolling haunted houses including the delicious jet black smoke the frequently pours from their exhausts.

    • SHLady

      The helmet is built to split or get dented on impact. As long as it dissipated the energy long enough for the wheel to pass over the man’s head, it would have worked.
      Yeah, I definitely want to know what brand it was.

      • Dezlboy

        FYI from helmet manufacturer. Helmets don’t last forever. If the helmet is visibly damaged (cracked outer shell, crushed or cracked foam liner or any other damage) don’t use it. Some or all of the helmet’s protective capacity is used up when impacted, and the damage to a helmet is not always visible. If you have any questions about your helmet call the company. Most companies will inspect helmet and even give credit for replacement.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    I’m sure the operator of the truck is a fine upstanding citizen with an impeccable record.

    • bobbytiger

      Not any longer, he isn’t.

    • drax

      Most likely a homeless illegal alien from Maryland.

      • Osprey’s at Belmont Bay

        Thanks for proving my earlier point. Elitist.

      • ID

        Obama is not deporting anyone anymore, not to worry. Because Maryland is running private business out of the State, no wonder he had to ride to VA to look for work.

  • A comment

    Biker should not play the lottery. Chances are highly unlikely he will hit the lottery-of-his-life twice.

  • Andy

    Horrible, where is the DMV is vetting these run down commercial vehicles?

  • Julio

    I want to know what’s the name of the helmet he was wearing?

  • JMB

    Has his head run over by a dumptruck and lives?! Who is this guy, the T-1000?

    • ID

      I want your boots and the keys to your dump truck.

  • ID

    Riding a bike in this town is having a death wish. Drivers completely disregard them or do not know how to handle bikes on roads. You better have your affairs in order when you ride Arlington roads.

  • Jérémie

    I love this helmet so much.

  • Rick

    bikers need to learn the rules of the road. If bikers ride on the road, they are subject to the same rules as the cars. most bikers do not follow the rules and therefore subject themselves to collisions and problems, very simple. Also, when there is a bike path on the side of the road, ride on the bike path and stop trying to make a point by riding in the middle of the road. Get a life.

    • Mike

      I knew it was only time before an anti-cyclist rant was posted, even though the injured cyclist was stopped at a red light and wearing a helmet and was struck by an unattended truck whose driver was cited for the incident! Thanks Rick!


Subscribe to our mailing list