Young Driver Killed in Rosslyn Accident

by ARLnow.com March 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm 111 Comments

Fatal accident near the Key Bridge, via @jamesp326(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A young man is dead and two others are critically injured after an early morning wreck just past the Key Bridge in Rosslyn.

The incident happened around 5:00 a.m. Police say a 21-year-old man from Leesburg was driving a white 2008 BMW M5 at approximately 90 miles per hour over the Key Bridge when the car hit the curb of a traffic island on the Rosslyn side of the bridge, flipped 5 times and ended up in the bushes of the Key Bridge Marriott. The force of the accident sheared the sports car’s roof off, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

There were two passengers, ages 21 and 22 and both from Leesburg, in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

sami-ullah-instagramThe driver was pronounced dead at the scene, one passenger was ejected and found unconscious a short distance from the vehicle, and the other was pulled from the wreck by VDOT workers who witnessed the accident, Sternbeck said. Both passengers were transported to a local hospital with what were described as critical injuries. They remain in serious condition. One passenger is in a medically-induced coma with three broken vertebrae, a broken left scapula, pulmonary contusions, and hemotoma around the heart, according to police.

The driver has been identified by police as 21-year-old Sami Ullah of Leesburg. Yesterday, less than 24 hours before the accident, Ullah posted a photo of his car on Instagram with the caption “I call her Snow White. #m5 #beast #snowWhite #conlosterroristas #570 #ponies #vroomVroom.”

Photo (top) via @jamesp326. Photos (bottom) courtesy Rob Laybourn. Hat tip to @CAPT258.

Aftermath of fatal car accident near the Key Bridge (photo courtesy Rob Laybourn) Aftermath of fatal car accident near the Key Bridge (photo courtesy Rob Laybourn)

  • A Form of Justice

    It is fortunate that this BMW M5 driver only managed suicide and not murder.

    • transreductionist

      You barely catch a glimpse of who you are as you pass windows that reflect your light. But it is enough to scare you, and yet at the same time it makes you feel powerful. It tingles doesn’t it.

      • Asker


        • transreductionist


          • Asker

            Wait, what? Huh?

  • Spilio

    I saw the car on the back of a flatbed on the way home from Georgetown this afternoon; it was almost un-recognizeable, and completely shredded. Sad story of a kid with a car way too powerful for him to respect or handle.

    • DCBuff

      I wonder what the parents of this young man who perhaps bought/loaned him such a car are thinking now. And, whether they understand that by providing an M5 they gave their son the means to kill himself. Sad.

      • Hugh

        Yeah they probably figured that out by now. Don’t stress yourself wondering too much.

        • ghough

          don’t be a churl, Hugh

      • skippys

        His parents did not loan him the car, he bought it himself. He was very educated if you knew him in real life… But Rest in Peace Sami you will be deeply missed!

        • m.m.

          Maybe book smart. Not too street smart.

          • novasteve

            Exactly. It’s not the most educated thing to be going over twice the speed limit in an urban area.

        • Tyler

          Sorry for the kid but that’s a 50K$ car… and he was 21? are u sure he had all that money?

          • Clarendon Cruiser

            Uhhh, more like $98K, after delivery, that’s a M5 not a M3. And yes, I’m confounded how a 21 year old has this earning power. Feel sorry for the passengers and others

          • E

            “I’m confounded how a 21 year old has this earning power. ”

            I take it you’ve never watched the Shahs of Sunset?

          • nice

            naa we don’t watch that crap

          • MADD

            He DIDNOT purchase the car by himself. His parents got it for him in 2008.. He went to NoVa and was currently at Vtech, home for the weekend.

          • Morpheus

            Rick Ross – Speedin’

            What a waste of a perfectly good car…

  • Stupid drunks

    The driver should be tried for attempted murder in absentia.

    • Ess Dee

      Dude already got the death penalty. What’s the point?

      • Charles

        “Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils”

        • Tim

          Saddest thing is that this is one of the quotes on his Facebook page.

    • AmyS

      You’re disgusting. A kid lost his life and now his parents have to bury their own child. Clearly we all know that he made a huge and deadly mistake.

      • awesomepossum

        Yes, he almost killed some of his friends (he may still)

  • TAC

    So disturbing.

    • flux

      I know. So many people who feel the need to take someone else’s tragedy and use it to validate their sad lives.

  • novasteve

    Gee, at 5AM. I wonder if alcohol was involved?

    • AL

      I can barely get up at 5AM, let alone drive!

    • Pierre

      I wonder the same thing

  • bob

    Darwin Award.

    • really

      What kind of car do all Persian guys own? White BMW?

  • Brian Amaya

    Sami was my friend, and as close to a brother as a man could be without having to come out of the same woman. He was a wonderful person, he made a mistake. We’ve all sped before, and something like this could have happened to anyone while speeding. If anyone of you people would have known him, you would be in tears just as I am right now. He never judged anyone, and always wanted to share his love with people. I miss him dearly, and I hope you all respect that a person lost their life, not just a name or a car.

    • Hee-Haw

      I get all that, but 90mph on the Key Bridge ??? Come on now.

      • Brian Amaya

        Yes, it was stupid. If he were alive I would have choice words for him. I don’t get that damn luxury.

        • Ziv Bnd

          Brian, I know where you are coming from. Sometimes friends do ill-advised things and we get to let them know about it after the fact. And sometimes ‘ill-advised’ gets them and their friends killed. I hope the other passengers recover fully.
          Sometimes when you play hard, you pay the price. I am glad that no bystanders got killed. Small favors.

          • amber

            if passengers were killed it would be called INVOLUNTARY manslaughter. His intentions weren’t to kill anyone. It was a stupid act and there are no excuses, but I am sure there were other influences also involved based on his post prior to the accident. It will be interesting to see what the blood results reveal. However, it is sad and no life ( including Sami’s) should end like this. It bothers me that people can be so unsympathetic for the family and friends at this time. Yes, things can always be prevented….i think that making people more aware and educated earlier in life and being proactive would be more productive.

      • Pierre

        Kids that age are soooooo stupid with cars. I know I was and I have other friends who are still suffering from reckless car accidents they had 40 years ago. 90 mph over Key Bridge really doesn’t surprise me that much….I know of other kid accidents that were just as stupid.

    • ClarendonLover

      Brian, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and Sami’s family and friends. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and grief you all are experiencing. I hope his two friends make a full recovery.

    • There will be plenty of time for recriminations. For now, it’s just very very sad that such a young person has lost their life, and others are so severely injured. My thoughts are with the individuals and their families.

    • Anon

      I’m fairly sure no one reading this article has gone 90 mph on Key Bridge. Hell I think its damn near impossible unless you have an M5. And no, I do not speed. I’ve had far too many friends who’ve died in car accidents. Maybe now you and all of your friends will slow down as well and learn to take cabs instead of driving home drunk.

    • Mmmmm

      Everybody does not speed…and know the dangers involved–vehicle manslaughter, death, paralysis, retardation,litagation, destruction of property, etc.

    • argawarga

      Isn’t it strange how one silly and irresponsible act in death can overshadow a person’s entire life?

      I suspect this wasn’t the first time Sami drove with such wanton disregard for his own safety, not to mention the safety of others. I suppose his luck just ran out this morning.

  • Arlington Chris

    ARLNow, there’s a typo in the last paragraph — “Lessburg” instead of Leesburg.

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      Freudian Slip perhaps, Leesburg is one less as of Sunday Morning.

  • JimPB

    Death and serious injuries are far too high a tuition price to pay to learn the lesson of the consequences of reckless speeding.

    Prevention should be the priority: What about a governor on the computer module to limit speed. Ultimately, sensors in cars and along roadways to transmit the speed limit to the speed governors on cars. Allow the driver to have an override for a brief burst of emergency speeding.


      kind of irrelevant but there is a governor on m5’s… unfortunately it’s set between 155-170mph depending on the year (top speed of stock models is over 200mph). Incredible machine but absolutely no reason this car should be in the hands of someone so young.

      • Skippys

        Just to tell you he bought it himself without any parents money!

        • Seriously

          No he didn’t. His parents got it for him in 08

  • It’s me

    Prayers for all. Drove by with my soon-to-be teen driver as the fire department was scrubbing down the sidewalk…very painful teachable moment.

  • Rabia

    I know the family personally and he was the sweetest and most caring person that you would ever meet. He’s like a younger brother to me. May his soul rest in peace and may God give his family and the other families involved peace, there is no need for the negative remarks, we have all done stuff we regret and can’t change now. Someone has lost their live, there is no need to pour salt on someone’s open wounds. Don’t speak ill of the dead. They need prayers and comfort! If you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to keep quiet.

    • awesomepossum

      The dead most definitely do not need prayers.

  • Bubba

    RIP, prayers to his family & friends. Also prayers to the injured.

  • gman

    This is really sad to hear about! Who cares what kind of car he was driving or how fast he was going?

    • novasteve

      so how fast we was going doesn’t matter? Gee, if he had been going the speed limit, he probably wouldn’t have even hit the curb, let alone flipped as a result of it. The speed is the factor that caused his death.

      • awesomepossum

        Agreed (wow)

    • awesomepossum

      Right, after several people are killed and/or injured, who cares what happened or who is to blame?

      • DCBuff

        Apparently, the driver’s friends. Fascinating that, if one reads the postings here by his “friends,” virtually none express any concern for the passengers, who presumably would also be friends, who were severely injured by their friend.

    • mjw703

      Because going 90 MPH across the Key Bridge is not normal behavior. Because someone could have been on the sidewalk or driving nearby and could have been wiped out by this maniac. Because several public servants had to go out clean up an extremely grisly crime scene. That’s why.

      • DCBuff

        Thank you for pointing out this was a (felony) crime scene and not simply some sad story.

  • billj

    21 year old kid with an E60 M5?

    • Arlingtron

      Was wondering that myself. Either he earned it and/or got in debt up to his eyeballs to get it or was a gift. If a gift it was irresponsible. In the hands of such a young and inexperienced driver this powerful car is more like a weapon. That is dangerous and reckless.

      • happycyclist

        All cars are potential weapons. You can kill someone coming off that bridge at 80MPH, which any compact can do.

    • awesomepossum

      Drug dealer?

  • Mmmmm

    He could be alive right now if it were not for his stupid thinking….I wonder did the passengers in the car reprimand him for driving fast….if not, they too are stupid!

  • novasteve

    In VA isn’t 15 mph over the limit considered reckless driving? And he was way way way over 15 mph over the limit.

    • AL

      I believe the threshold is 20 mph over the limit. But the officer still has quite a bit of discretion.

      • Arlingtron

        The bridge is technically DC up to the Va. side of the river.

    • Yoda

      Reckless driving by speed in VA (which is a criminal violation, not traffic) is either going 20MPH or more over the posted speed limit, or going over 80MPH, regardless of the posted speed limit (which has caused some consternation for speeders of some of the 70MPH interstates in ROVA)..

    • Good cops in ACPD

      I’ve come in contact with many ACPD officers over the years and I’ve also taken the Citizens Police Academy course, and I’ve found all of the officers to be extremely professional. My experience does not at all reflect the opinion that you’ve expressed.

      • mdosu

        Agreed, ACPD is 100% professional.


      I think every police force has a few bad apples, unfortunately it seems you have run into those w/ ACPD… For the most part I’ve found ACPD to be extremely professional and far more interested in their job responsibilities and serving the community than MPD and other nearby jurisdictions. That said, I think the courthouse and commonwealth’s attorney offices are both incredibly poorly staffed and managed, which doesn’t help ACPD do their job properly.

    • Grammar Police

      You could improve your almost non-existent credibility by at least spelling “chief” correctly, chief. “Discretion” might earn you a few extra points, and “minions” a few more as well. We’ll work on grammar and punctuation in your next rant.

  • info81

    If one day my child wants to buy a car like this when he is still under 30, I will do everything I can to talk him out of it. If he is interested in fast cars I will tell him to join a race car club and buy a special car to do it at the track where it belongs. I bought a ’84 5.0L mustang when I was younger and looking back it was a bad decision, I never crashed but that was only luck, that car was 175 hp, this BMW is 570 hp. Prayers for his parents and the passengers.

  • Sensible person

    This guy was no kid. He was 21 years old. That’s an adult. A very irresponsible and reckless adult, no matter how nice he was. He could have killed many other people.

    The guy deserves no sympathy, He was not fit to survive in his environment or pass on his genes to another generation. Natural selection worked well in this instance.

    The injured passengers should sue his estate for all that it is worth. People who own expensive cars like that one he wrecked often have enough money to pay for all of the care that the passengers will need and deserve.

    • Lex2286

      This is someone’s child! Wtf is wrong with you?! You are cold hearted! Shame on you! Rip Sami!

      • Mark P.

        Aren’t we all someone’s child?

      • Scott

        The two passengers in critical condition as also someone’s children– one with 3 broken bones in his back.

    • drax

      So once you turn 18, you should have absolutely no sympathy for making a mistake ever again?

      That’s crap.

      • awesomepossum

        He behaved no better than someone who “accidentally” shoots their child.

    • Mary-Austin

      You sound like a nasty person. Sounds like you lost your empathy a long, long time ago. Also, 21 year olds don’t have estates.

  • I saw a white bmw just like this one that same night around 3am zoom passed me on 66 heading into Va at about 100+ miles/hr and the whole time I was thinking he was gonna flip the car in a curve … Wonder if it was the same vehicle

    • AL

      You may want to alert the police.

      • Observer

        Alert them to what? There are lots of white bimmers speeding around, and if it was indeed the one that crashed, well that’s done with now isn’t it?

  • mk176

    Sami was a very intelligent person. He made a poor decision and unfortunately, it cost him his life. I had known him since high school and we attended a few college classes together. He was a very kind person and he will be greatly missed. I am keeping the passengers in my prayers (as I know them also) and I pray for their recovery.

  • Carspotting

    Very high speed driving in high performance cars is happens every weekend night on Key Bridge, and then on to Lee Highway and 66. I live there and hear/see it. In the past six months, i have seen Aventadors, 458 Italias, SLRs, 911 Turbo S, and plenty of M3s and M5s on this loop. These cars are deceptive to drive because they give such a strong sense of control to the driver that normal speed limits seem quaint. But physics always wins. yesterday you could see the burnout strip where someone launched on the Georgetown side of the bridge. The tracks hopped about 15 feet to the right (common for high-torque launches done manually) which is fully across the double yellow. I get the appeal, and I’ve certainly done more than my share of dumb things in a car, but it’s not right. There are too many “civilians” walking around, even at 5am My condolences to his family. Guys, please move the action to Summit Point. Make it a weekly event. Maybe it would be a way to remember your friend.

    • mdosu

      Yes, agreed. The Key Bridge, and Lee Highway stretch is filled with exotic and sports cars showing off. I get why drivers do it, I’m a car-nut myself owning an 08 M3, and admit I have sped a bit on both stretches to hear my engine roar. I also have to say, I was never even close to 90mph either. But this is a wake call for everyone, please take it to a track. The area is filled with fantastic tracks offering HPDE courses where you can learn your car. Summit Point, VIR, etc…You’ll find out soon that there’s not much showing off at these courses, it’s learning your lines and physics of your car that determines your speed, and you will be humbled by how little you know about driving a fast car.

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    This is not the first time that young people have died in a M5 by the use of bad judgement, I remember this one a few years back. I think the parents of this youth even paid for the chip to remove the speed governor.


  • $45608367

    good grief. typical.. someone makes a stain out of himself and “oh heavens! its so saaad, it wasnit his fault, you see he was such a niiiice person, oh no, he didn’t deserve this…blah blah blah.” Blech. KIDS, wise up before YOU become the sausage filler. Physics doesn’t let you get away with anything just because you are young and smart and rich and all that crap. This was not some mysterious ‘thing that happens, and out of our control’. A community has to bury someone and process this mess – and it is all the dead person’s fault. GTFU

    • ARL

      Yes, it’s all his fault. But it’s still sad he died, right?

      • happycyclist

        is it okay to be happy he did not hit a cyclist or pedestrian (at that location there are often lots of both)

  • AngelAbove

    God has a plan for all of us. And thankfully God did us all a favor and took this young man from the planet so he could do no more harm to anyone else.

  • Unknown

    RIP SAMI. You were truly an angel. Gone way too soon. All the unnecessary comments need to stop. This young man lost his life. Whether it was his fault or not, he is now gone. May his soul rest in peace. Rest in paradise Sami Ullah. You will missed.

    • Confused

      Whether it was his fault or not? Is there any doubt?

  • disqus_qgvCYmysRn

    I saw this car rev up and speed away at the other end of the bridge (along with another car, who must have bailed on their friends as soon as the accident happened). Me and my friends would have been walking where this car flipped if we had left our party 10 minutes earlier. There were other pedestrians around as well, and with all the debris flying around, this guy’s lucky not to have harmed more people than he did.

    • Arlington Chris

      You definitely want to talk to the police, if you haven’t already done so.

      Non-Emergency number Arlington police: 703-558-2222

      • disqus_qgvCYmysRn

        You’re right, I should. I’m going to do so right now.

  • Arlingtron

    Mix together young people, possibly some alcohol, very late night (nearly next morning), powerful vehicle, speed, many peers also in car, and see what you get. Also this past weekend in Ohio: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/03/11/173993010/in-ohio-town-mourns-death-of-six-teens-killed-in-crash

  • Mike Honcho

    Death does not excuse ignorance. Had Sami been as caring and intelligent as some believe. He would be alive and his friends would not be hospitalized.

  • Hmmmm

    There should be “Car-Control Laws”

    They are especially dangerous in urban areas, killing our youth

    • novasteve

      Did you hear about the incident in Ohio this weekend? Something like 7 teens died in an SUV accident

    • cyclist

      Nah, just get rid of all the bicycles and the roads will be safe. This never would have happened if a bike hadn’t caused it, somehow.

    • ARL

      There are already car control laws. You have to have a license to operate one, after demonstrating you are competent and know the law and safety procedures.

      So maybe we should do the same for guns.

  • novasteve

    Even had he not crashed and killed himself and hurt his passengers, at the rate he was going, had he been pulled over, he would have been arrested even if he weren’t drunk. Would you be stating words of praise for him had this just been him having been arrested for reckless driving? Because that’s exactly what he did.

  • leiva23

    It’s pretty sad that our freedom of speech gives a lot of cowards the right to seat behind a computer and just say whatever they want to say without repercussions. The young man has died and there’s a family mourning the death of their offspring. If it was one of your family members you definitely wouldn’t be here talking smack.

    • moof

      No it isn’t sad in the least. “Cowards” is a loaded word, why do you call them cowards, just for saying something you disagree with? I’m glad we can speak our mind instead of — under your plan i suppose — to just parrot your mind. If it was my family member I’d be sad but I would still think he was an idiot and I wouldnt be shy of saying so.

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      His achievements up until the point he died may be admirable.

      But his death was newsworthy in the fact that he exhibited extremely bad judgement, carelessness for others around him and costly accident for all.

      To most here he will only be notorious for the latter. Sorry, he choose the way to be remembered.

  • ch Hassan cheema

    dont be judgemental…

  • r

    I witnessed the entire accident from A-ZI and was the first person on the scene and ran over to try anything possible to help. I can’t believe what I’m reading below. It’s a very unfortunate situation, but is it right to bash and dishonor a person who is no longer with us (a child of only 22)? Also, I attended the funeral and burial both of which had a turnout like I’ve never seen before. This turnout only further exemplified his loving personality and good natured heart. Before you all run and judge all of this, stop and think…”What if I knew this person?” Would you continue to demean his character? Would you continue talk ill about the fallen? Would you enjoy reading these hateful posts? I never knew Sami Ullah (may he rest in peace), but now I’ll also never forget him. Bottom line is a young aspiring kid is gone and a family is left grieving and playing “what if” scenarios in their heads for the rest of their lives. Please pray for the family they are wonderful people who just lost their angel.

    • Gordon Blvd

      If I had been on that bridge, he could have KILLED ME. Sorry I dont have much respect for criminally negligent actions. ENABLE MUCH?

    • Umm…… yeah right

      In his community, if you have even met him or any single member of his family ONCE you are almost obliged to go to the funeral……… meaning probably half of those people didnt even meet him!!!!!!! Its just how their culture is, ask anyone who is familiar with the culture norms. It isnt a matter of him being “loved” AT ALL. He was an arrogant and reckless driver and got what he deserved

  • AJ

    criminal stupidity seems to run in the family:

    ““I don’t know what made Sami do this,” said his brother Rabi Ullah, 27, a Leesburg real estate investor, picking up bits of the BMW. “He’d only drive fast on straightaways.” It was Rabi who tested the car’s maximum velocity, once gunning it to 140 miles per hour on the Beltway, he said.”

    – WaPo


Subscribe to our mailing list