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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com March 18, 2013 at 9:05 am 3,398 90 Comments

Memorial Bridge by JD Moore

BMW in Fatal Crash Was Symbol of Father’s Success — The 2008 BMW M5 that 22-year-old Sami Ullah was driving the night of the crash in Rosslyn that killed him was a gift from his father, who had emigrated from Pakistan and worked as a dishwasher before eventually amassing a fortune from real estate investment. Police said Ullah was driving 90 miles per hour over the Key Bridge before the crash, something his family can’t quite comprehend. “He’d only drive fast on straightaways,” Ullah’s 27-year-old brother said. [Washington Post]

Board Reaffirms Plan for Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board reaffirmed its plan for Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City, at its meeting on Saturday. The plan includes the new Long Bridge Park Aquatics, Health & Fitness Facility, the construction of which is expected to begin late this year. “Our actions today move us closer to realizing the dream of transforming a former brown field into one of the region’s most dynamic parks, recreation and athletic facilities in one of its most beautiful natural settings,” said County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. [Arlington County]

Win for Wakefield ‘It’s Academic’ Team — Wakefield High School’s “It’s Academic” team picked up and will advance to a playoff match. The televised academic competition aired this past Saturday, March 16. [Sun Gazette]

Front Page Under New Management — The Front Page restaurant in Ballston is under new management. “We have been working hard to get the FPA back to the glory it’s longstanding tradition deserves,” the restaurant said on Facebook. “Please don’t judge us on past performance. Except for the loyal and exceptional bar and service staff all management is new.” [Facebook]

County: We’re Not Stopping Harris Teeter — Arlington County officials acknowledged on Saturday that they’ve been in private settlement talks with Harris Teeter over the incident that resulted in raw sewage flooding the S. Glebe Road store last year, forcing it to close indefinitely. Responding to a letters from residents, the county says they’re not preventing the still-closed store from reopening and are willing to help expedite the regulatory process, if Harris Teeter decides to reopen. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore

  • QTR

    Sorry to sound callous, but that Post article about the maniac who killed himself and almost two friends was horrible. It just relayed the facts as if it were no big deal that dumb father bought his 21 year old a 70K car, or that his brain-dead brother once drove the car 140 mph on the beltway. It’s a miracle these guys didn’t kill anyone else. Their absolutely reckless disregard for the safety of others is appalling, and the fact that the Post expressed no problem with their actions is equally appalling. “He’d only drive fast on straightaways”, said his brother. Good grief.

    • Nouri al-Maliki

      Key Bridge is pretty straight.

      • DCSnotty

        As someone who has driven a little too fast across the bridge to Arlington (not 90 though), at the end of the bridge it gets bumpy and dips quickly with a slight right bend. If you’re late on the brakes you won’t have much time to react. Add any moisture and you’re asking for trouble.

        • Buckwheat

          Agreed! Not to mention the fact you cannot see the traffic lights to the GW Parkway on-ramp or the next set to turn into Roslyn.

          Really stupid to not go the posted speed in that section.

        • Yup

          And I bet you, like me, will think twice about going “a little too fast”. I realized how fast I go across there and now just kinda say “ahhh eff it, let’s do the speed limit!” haha. I realized that I know what to expect on the other side of the bridge, so 5-10mph over isn’t unsafe for me, but someone behind/in front of me doing the same speed that isn’t familiar with that bump/dip could end up wrecking.

      • The Bible

        Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    • AL

      It was filled with lots of ignorance on the part of Sami’s family and friends. “His first and last mistake was driving the car that night.” Uh, you really think this was the only time he was involved in street racing?

      I shot coffee out my nose when I read that he only drove fast on straightaways. What ignorance!

      • jack33w

        Agree – “He’d only drive fast on straightaways” pretty much explains their mentality. In other words, you can take the family out of the third world but you can’t take the third world out of the family.

        • Yobimbo

          ^ Wow.

    • Why not?

      Shouldn’t his brother be arrested for admitting to driving 140 on the beltway? Or at least given a traffic citation!?

      • Cakes

        Do you really think that’s how the law works?

        • J22C

          Actually he can be *investigated* for admitting to it. They can find a way if they wanted to.

          • Josh S

            For speeding? How would you get enough evidence to prosecute?

          • Interrogator


          • J22C

            Car black box. Plus his admission of guilt already.

            And that isn’t speeding. That is reckless endangerment. Punishable by loss of license, jail time and a big fine.

    • flux

      I found it odd that the article mentioned he and his friends loved Kobe, the Koran, and kabobs, yet failed to tie in the fact that they died at Key Bridge. Maybe the writer did make that tie-in somewhere along the way and I just missed it within that horrible excuse for journalism.

    • WaltC

      I don’t think the tone of the Post article was supposed to take sides or judge the characters. It did lay out the story with quotes from those connected to the accident and readers could use their own brains to form a judgment about who was responsible for what happened.

      • QTR

        True, but that doesn’t mean the Post had to spend a HUGE amount of column inches on a death that was absolutely, 100% avoidable. How many other people recently died? How many of their deaths were their own stupid fault? How many of them have had their stories told? In other words, of all the deaths out there, why pick this one out and give it so much press?

    • J22C

      Agreed. After reading the part about him taking it to 100 multiple times on straight aways and his brother taking it to 140 on the beltway, I really don’t feel any remorse…in fact, we’re lucky they didn’t kill anyone else. They have no regard for the safety of others.

  • JamesE

    Buying an inexperienced driver a car that is rear wheel drive equipped with a large motor is a bad idea. Also it is very easy to lose control on a straightaway depending on road/weather conditions and what tires he had, probably summer super sports.

    • novasteve

      Reminds me of the “Porsche Girl” phenomenon from 5-7 years ago. Some rich parent gave his daughter a porsche, and she crashed into a toll booth, and someone leaked the accident scene photos.
      I’m just curious, what on earth was he thinking travelling beteween two jurisdictions, over a bridge, at 5AM driving 90 mph. At that hour, about 30% of the cars on the road are cops.

      • Yup

        Blows my mind too. 90 on the Key Bridge is, in my mind, is insane: either you cause an accident or are locked up for reckless. I just can’t get over that either. I do 50 across there and start to worry about cops or idiots.

        • novasteve

          Whenever I cross the bridges its in the daytime, so I’d be lucky to be doing 30 mph.. I can’t even imagine 90 mph on that bride.

          • Yup

            I think 40mph is about it. It’s not even that long! Wiki says 1700 feet, or roughly .3mi. That’s an insanely small length to hit 90 in, I don’t care if it’s a straightaway or not, it’s not even enough to drag race across unless you think of the bridge as a quarter miler.

            Literally, I cannot get it through my brain. At all.

          • Joe Hoya

            Makes you wonder how the cops arrived at that 90 mph number. Did it come from the BMW’s internal computer? Or skid marks? They were out were the info the next morning. Obviously, the car was going very fast, but 90 is crazy.

          • SHLady

            probably skid marks, point of impact, amount of damage. Police do this every day.

      • OX4

        It’s a moot question, unfortunately. People that drive 90 MPH in that situation don’t think of the consequences of their actions. They simply do what they like.

      • ARL

        I saw those photos. Absolutely horrible to look at.

    • Yup

      Agree. 110% agree. Even at my age of mid-20s I would still question if I have enough years under my belt to handle such a car. People can handle these cars, but those who have, have taken driving classes and track occasionally to better understand their car’s power in a controller environment with guidance and without harm to others. All this kid knew was that when you press the tall skinny pedal with the foot, it goes super fast and wows people.

      And the brother. Dear god why are you doing 1-andfreaking-40 miles per hour. ON THE BELTWAY.

      The whole thing is sad, from the point the dad bought a 21 year old an M5 right up to the actions taken that night and the human life loss. But, as with everything, there’s a silver lining: the fact that this car is off the streets for good.

  • NVRTrustDisqus

    I don’t like the whole tone being that since this kid was the prize of the poor immigrant rags to riches story then somehow the poor judgement is not a tragedy but the death is a bigger tragedy. Would this story receive the same kind of press had the M5 been driven by a 40 year old woman CEO on her way back from Neimans ? no they would have just ignored it.

    • Scott

      I don’t think a story about a 40 yr old woman CEO on her way back from Neimans driving 90 mph resulting in her death would be ignored.

      • Rory

        Is neimans open at 5 am?

        • NVRTrustDisqus

          it *can* be ; )

  • Cletus Van Damme

    There’s enough topics on these morning notes for the comments section to get quite messy today…

  • PikeMan

    It was a symbol of his father’s excess, not his success.

    • samoht

      Great success? Interesting that there is no mention of these young men who were so blessed by American serving in the armed forces. Apparently, they are not that thankful for the bounty that America has bestowed on them.

  • KARLington

    I can only hope that the new Front Page owners will keep menu specials like the ones listed on their Facebook page: “Chicken Gordon Blue” “Pan Roasted Marsala” “Shrimp Rose Pasta” and “Montreal New York Strip.” Stick to cheap beer and game specials for bro-dudes, FP.

  • Arlington Chris

    From the Washington Post article: “buying an M5 for their son symbolized their ascendancy into the upper class”

    Interesting cultural point. Since BMW’s are so common, are they truly still an upper class thing?

    • JamesE

      M5, yes. leased 3 series, no.

      • J22C

        I’d love to magically remove all the *leased* 1 & 3s from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, etc in the area..then see what we’re left with from all these 20 somethings. Then again, that might be coming true with the sequester.

    • novasteve

      Oh no, it was an M5, not a 1 series or 3 series. It reminds me of Mercedes owners furious that Mercedes introduced smaller, cheaper cars. Takes away from their status. I feel pity for insecure people who need a BMW or Mercedes to “prove” their worth or show off their “Status”. So common in the DC area.

      • Jay

        The only thing that M5 ownership demonstrates is that the owners have enough time and money to endure the required repairs.

        • novasteve

          Not necessarily the ones who buy used ones.

    • drax

      Can’t people just be wealthy without having to make sure everyone knows it? Or just wear a t-shirt that says “I’m rich!” and get it over with.

      • L

        ….or a bumper sticker saying: “my other car’s an M5”

  • flux

    What’s the deal with Front Page? I never hear any complaints and I know plenty of people that go there. Maybe that’s the problem, plenty of people I know were going there.

    • Ian

      I have had horrible service there. I also had a waitress add on an extra $15 tip. Called CC wanted the evidence to pass on to ACPD but they would not release it to me. CC did take it the fraudulent tip off my card.

  • FUNdamental

    is hard being a parent, but your actions must be for guiding your child to
    himself making the correct choices as he grows up. You don’t ask your child
    “Do you want to do your homework now or later?” You ask your child
    “Do you want to do your homework in the den or at the kitchen table?”

    You do not give your child things he is not ready for because he will not make the
    right choices with it. Giving you child a credit card at 15 is not a good
    idea. They will not make the right choices with it. Giving a 21 year old a
    car that goes from 0-60 in under four seconds is dumb, reckless, and
    irresponsible. To cite “status” as an issue is myopic at best; today’s 21 year olds need their ego deflated a little bit, not inflated to the point of arrogance, entitlement juxtaposed with a sense of immortality. His parents failed here. Giving a car like that to a 21 year old boy, and mentally, by his own actions he was immature so I use the word “boy,” is akin to giving a child a loaded gun. The guys are “Car Talk” have been very clear on this matter; If you by a sports car for your child, go down the street and by a cemetery plot the same day- it will just save you time.

    • mjw703

      He actually got the car when he was 18, which is even worse.

    • ARL

      Oh, come on.

      He was an adult. He was 100% responsible for what he did with that car.

      It was bad judgment, perhaps, on the part of the dad. But the dad isn’t responsible for what the son did, not one bit.

      But the bigger issue here is whether we should expect people to be adults at 18 or even 21, when we know how immature they still are. Recent research has shown that our brains don’t fully develop until about age 25.

      • dk (not DK)

        But if you think there is a bigger issue regarding whether we should expect people to be adults at 18 or 21…why do you start your post saying “he was an adult…100% responsible?” These two statements seem at odds.

  • JoseR

    The Board approved the full time homeless shelter on 14th street. Over 50 people will be subsidized by the taxpayers. Between affordable housing and the homeless shelter Arlington County seems happy to take all of DCs derelicts. Be ready for more crime and harassment around the Courthouse area. Flushing $ away and raising taxes, thanks.

    • novasteve

      Little ch ildren being exposed is a small price to pay for the feel good moment!

      • FYI

        ” Between affordable housing and the homeless shelter Arlington County seems happy to take all of DCs derelicts”
        DC still has a higher % of poor than any other jurisdiction in the region. Arlingtons % poor has actually been declinging the last few years, I beleive.

      • Faye Jisette

        Who is exposing themselves to little children?

    • HP2000

      I was in Courthouse on Friday afternoon. There was a homeless guy lying down at the foot of the parking meter kiosk in front of the current shelter. He was harassing people as they tried to pay for parking. The County is making it very easy for this type of behavior and it is being completely tolerated. He was right outside the shelter and across the street from the police. Sheesh.

      • J22C

        Yep, I know the area. They do that a lot there.

      • That’s what they’re for

        So call the cops on the non-emergency line for this guy

      • drax

        So if you close the shelters, how will their behavior improve? They’ll be all over the place. Will they all go to DC instead? Maybe, maybe not.

    • speonjosh

      In what ways are you subsidized by the taxpayers on a daily basis?

  • flyover_country

    This kids death is awful. Unfortunately, you could cut and paste from pretty much the same story every couple weeks, not sure why this one merited the extensive Post coverage. For variation one, see today’s Post article on the kid in Loudoun County who gets in at 2:30am, breaks into a neighbors house, owner of the house wakes up and shoots him dead. Article doesn’t say, but anyone wanna guess what his BAT will be? (it being St Patricks Day and all).


  • Ren

    I only go to Front Page for the Cafe Scientifique events on Tuesday evenings and the service for those was pretty bad (except for the March 5 event). I know they have to walk out to the mall courtyard, but we recently waited 90 minutes for our burgers. I wanted to bring in dinner from outside to avoid having to deal with their service. It was as if there was no system whatsoever.

  • CW

    Unfortunately, this is a story that is all too common. The first generation grinds their way up from nothing, never forgetting where they came from. They don’t want their children to share that experience, so they spoil them. The trappings of their success transfer to the next generation, but the hard-earned, blood-sweat-and-tear-soaked lessons, common sense, and street wisdom don’t. And this is how it ends.

    • Eric

      Of course had it been a picture of Key Bridge rather than Memorial Bridge it would have tied in with the lead story. Editor’s goof.

      • Joe Hoya

        Morning Notes photos never tie in with the stories below. You must be new here…

    • Not my experience

      That hasn’t been my experience at all. In fact, of the first generation people that I know, the VAST majority have put their nose to the grindstone in school and work to make the most of what opportunities they have since their parents drummed the fundamentals of a hard work ethic into them so hard. My experience is mostly with Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese so maybe there’s a cultural component there too, but I’d say this was just a random reckless spoiled kid. There are plenty like him, sure, but for every one of him you’ll find 10 more of the good ones at hospitals, engineering firms, and the like.

      /white guy married to an Asian

  • John Fontain

    I found it odd that the family publicly praised one child as being smarter than the others and that they bought him a nicer car than his siblings because of his “superiority.” Seems like that would have a messed up effect on the family dynamic.

  • ATownGirl

    Stop insulting the dead!!! Stop insulting the parents who have to bury their own child! Have some respect for a family who can actually afford nice things. So the father can afford a 70k car SO WHAT he worked his butt off to be a self made man. We need more people like that in this country. Just because people make mistakes doesn’t mean they’re horrible and irresponsible people. Let the family grieve I’m sure they feel guilty enough considering they lost their child!!

    • Guest

      I’m very sorry for the parents and the other people left behind. But, we don’t need “more people in this country” who try to drive 90 miles per hour in a busy area.

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      1) He was not a child, he was 22 year old adult. He was their son.

      2) His father was not a self made man, he took loans from his cousin as stated in the WaPo article.
      3) It was not just a “mistake” but he broke the law in two separate jurisdictions by reckless driving and exceeding the speed limit by 3 times the posted limit. I would call that horrible and irresponsible by ALL means.

      4) The family can grieve, but this accident is public knowledge, we have the right to know and have an opinion.

    • DCBuff

      “Just because people make mistakes doesn’t mean they’re horrible and irresponsible people.”
      My guess is that most people consider driving 90 mph on Key Bridge and killing oneself and maiming friends (putting aside the apparent 140 mph elsewhere) to be the epitome of irresponsible.

  • John Fontain

    I think today’s photo, by JD Moore, is really impressive. Nice work.

  • jackson

    Yuck, Gordon. Stay classy.

  • OX4

    Racism and religious intolerance in one sentence! At least you’re efficient.

  • abc123

    A lot of comments say that the car was bought for Sami when he was 21-year old. The Post article makes clear that it was bought for Sami as a high school graduation present. He was 17 or 18 years old at the time.

    Sami was longing for a BMW for his high school graduation. Sure, the parents said. Which one?

    “I still remember him looking online at BMWs, and he was looking at M3s,” Rabi recalled. “And we were like, ‘Why don’t you get an M5? He was like, ‘Really? I can?’ ”

    No one in the family worried about giving a teenager such a powerful machine. Everyone joked that Sami drove like an old man. And local court records don’t show that Sami had any speeding tickets.

    The cost of the car didn’t deter them either. Its price tag: $72,700, plus several thousands of dollars more for a new air filtration system and a louder exhaust.

    To his parents, buying an M5 for their son symbolized their ascendancy into the upper class. It also reflected their hope that Sami would one day run his father’s businesses.

    “I worked very hard for my kids. He deserved it,” Mahmood said. “He was so happy.”

    The sleek white BMW arrived in 2009 on Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Sami could not wait to drive the car to his mosque and show it to his friends.

    I’m certainly not gloating over the Sami’s death, as I sometimes wonder how I survived the stupid things I did.

    It used to be the policy of the Loudoun Times-Mirror not the use the word “accident” in articles about car wrecks, on the grounds that no other outcome was to be expected in the wake of the driver’s course of action. I hope that Sami’s 140-mph-driving brother either gets off the road or comes to his senses before he, too, hurts someone.

    • mjw703

      A week ago, someone on here was claiming that he bought the car with his own money, which apparently was not true. That may be why everyone is thinking he got it recently.

      • abc123

        Yes, I remember that. The Post article clears up a lot.

        • DCBuff

          Yes, and it was in response to my posting that posed the thought that the car was bought for him by his parents. All his “friends” claimed he was a great guy who earned it. BS.

          skippys > DCBuff • 8 days ago

          “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!”

          • VABuff

            I don’t suppose he could have told his friends he bought it himself to impress them, do you?

          • J22C

            Ill believe the article and that his parents bought it. No 18 year old has that kinda cash unless hes a drug dealer, entrepreneur or has rich parents…and we know he wasn’t #1 or #2.

          • VABuff

            That isn’t the point I was making.

    • J22C

      Not sure if an 18 year old *deserves* anything…not trying to sound harsh but that’s the issue with kids and entitlements these days. You only deserve what you earn yourself. Giving an 18 year old an M5 because he did well in school sets a bad precedent.

      It should be understood that doing well in school is expected of you and leads you to a better life. He also would have learned the value of money by earning/saving/spending it yourself.

      • NVRTrustDisqus

        yeah I was thinking that also. In our house – graduating from HS? puh-leaze, that was an expected accomplishment and warranted at best, a trip to the beach, a photo album and a check for <$100 from the grand-parents. graduate from college – maybe a handmedown car and a bed plus a trip to the beach, a picture frame and a check for <$100 from the grandparents !

        • J22C

          Exactly. Also, this area is filled with many families that have immigrated over here from the middle east, china, india, etc and so on that have good exchange rates and when they come here, they are instantly rich. I can’t tell you how many young foreigners around here have cars like these and drive recklessly. Their parents just buy them something and then they are off and running. Clarendon is filled all the time with them and the same with fairfax, etc.

      • uh, yeah.

        Getting into Virginia Tech is not an outstanding academic achievement.

        • Rory

          An out of stater getting into their engineering program is the closest thing to outstanding in terms of being admitted to Tech. But he was in state studied business….makes you wonder where his brother was accepted, NOVA?

    • Wondering…

      One thing NOT being mentioned here is that Sami was a male child. Dollars to donuts, if he had a sister, she was given an old banger. Male children in eastern families tend to be the trophy children, and they get pretty much what they want.

  • abc123

    Rabi, the 140-mph-driving brother, is about to find out that insurance agents read the newspaper.

  • Josh

    A beautiful image of Memorial Bridge—hats off to the photographer!

  • NitPicker

    Hey the comments are back! A while ago all comments for all stories were set at 0.


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