Join Club
Ambulance (file photo)

Ambulances were temporarily re-routed to other hospitals after VHC Health suffered some technology issues this morning.

The re-routing for non-critical cases was broadcast to Arlington County Fire Department medics around 10:30 a.m. As of 12:45 p.m., another broadcast suggested that the hospital was back on line for ambulances.

A spokesperson confirmed to ARLnow that technology issues prompted a re-route notice out of “an abundance of caution.”

“VHC Health is experiencing intermittent downtime of some non-critical systems,” the VHC spokesperson wrote. “The redirection is in an abundance of caution. Care for all patients on campus is not impacted.”

VHC did not directly answer a question about what caused the systems issue. American hospitals have been dealing with a wave of cyberattacks and ransomware hacks, sometimes knocking systems out for weeks at a time, various news outlets have reported.

Formerly known as Virginia Hospital Center, VHC Health opened an expansion of its Arlington campus earlier this year and has been expanding to other Northern Virginia locations.

Stolen ambulance chase in Pentagon City (photo via Dave Statter/YouTube)

(Updated on 8/16/23) The man accused of damaging upwards of 20 vehicles after stealing two trucks and an Arlington County ambulance over the weekend was previously arrested in Arlington in May.

Darell Caldwell, a 30-year-old Maryland man, is facing both federal and local charges in the wild Saturday afternoon incident, in which he led police on a winding chase of the stolen ambulance across parts of Arlington and into D.C. before his arrest, according to Virginia State Police.

New video from local public safety watcher Dave Statter gives an extended look at the chase.

Traffic camera video posted by Statter also shows how the series of crashes started: with the stolen truck sideswiping a vehicle in the Rosslyn tunnel along I-66. Prior to that, a truck was reported stolen from a construction site in the City of Falls Church.

Caldwell has a criminal record in Arlington, Fairfax County, D.C. and Prince George’s County, according to court records. He was out on bond from a recent Arlington case but became a fugitive after not showing up to a July court hearing, records show. The bond, for a drug possession charge, was approved by a magistrate judge.

“At no point before trial was the Commonwealth in a position to argue for or against Mr. Caldwell’s release,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti noted to ARLnow.

He was due in court after an incident just before midnight on May 25 along N. Glebe Road, a few blocks north of Ballston. According to Arlington County police, Caldwell was tried to run from police after he was seen walking in the middle of Glebe Road.

From ACPD:

NARCOTICS VIOLATION, 2023-05250307, N. Glebe Road and 14th Street N. At approximately 11:43 p.m. on May 25, 2023, a patrol officer observed two intoxicated males walking in lanes of traffic on N. Glebe Road and detained them. While conducting the investigation, Suspect One attempted to run from the scene while Suspect Two resisted arrest. With the assistance of an additional arriving officer, both suspects were taken into custody. Suspect One was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation and during a search of his property, officers recovered narcotics. Darell Caldwell, 30, of Brandywine, MD was arrested and charged with Drunk in Public, Disorderly Conduct, and Possession of Controlled Substance I/ II. Suspect Two was evaluated by medics on scene and, during the course of the investigation, officers determined he was in possession of two concealed knives. Anthony Jeffers, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Drunk in Public, Disorderly Conduct, and Possession and Concealing a Weapon by a Convicted Felon (x2).

The advanced life support ambulance Caldwell is accused of stealing and crashing into a dozen or so vehicles on I-395 and in Southwest D.C., meanwhile, is set to be repaired. The Arlington County Fire Department will utilize a spare unit until the ambulance, dubbed Medic 110, is back in service.

“The damage is repairable and depending on parts availability, should only take one to two months,” fire department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner tells ARLnow. “We do have a reserve medic unit to use, as we have five spare ambulances in our fleet.”

Stolen ambulance damaged in chase (photo via Virginia State Police/Facebook)

(Updated at 11 p.m.) A suspect in a truck crashed into multiple vehicles on I-66 and I-395, then led police on a wild chase in a stolen Arlington ambulance.

The incidents started shortly after 3:30 p.m., with reports of a stolen Freightliner truck striking vehicles on I-66 in the Rosslyn area and again on northbound I-395 just before the 14th Street Bridge. I-395 was blocked by the crashes and at least two people were hurt, including one with reported significant injuries.

The same hit-and-run suspect then allegedly stole another truck before hopping in and stealing an Arlington ambulance around 4:15 p.m. Medics tried to pull the suspect out of the ambulance but he drove off, leading Virginia State Police — followed by Arlington police — on a chase through parts of Crystal City and Pentagon City. The suspect struck numerous vehicles on the northbound HOV lanes of I-395 as he fled into D.C., according to Virginia State Police.

Eventually the ambulance was stopped on I-395 in southwest D.C. and the suspect taken into custody, according to Virginia State Police.

All northbound lanes of I-395, including HOV lanes, were blocked as of 4:45 p.m., with delays on the highway extending upwards of two miles. The HOV lanes reopened by 6:15 p.m. while crews continued to clear the crash scene in the still-blocked main lanes. As of 7:15 p.m. two main lanes had reopened, per VDOT.

At least 20 vehicles were damaged over the course of the hour-long string of incidents, including the ambulance, a VSP cruiser, a parked vehicle in D.C., vehicles on the GW Parkway and I-66, and well over a dozen vehicles on I-395.

Virginia State Police said in a press release Saturday night that the suspect is a 30-year-old Maryland man.

At 3:40 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12), Virginia State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of I-66 near the 74 mile marker. The truck that caused the crash fled the scene. The truck had been reported stolen out of Falls Church, Va., and the driver was later identified as Darell T. Caldwell, 30, of Brandywine, Md. The driver of the other vehicle involved in this crash was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

At 3:41 p.m., VSP responded to a multi-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-395 near Exit 10 in Arlington County. The crash was caused by the same stolen truck being driven by Caldwell. A total of five people were transported to a nearby hospital as a result of this crash. Meanwhile, Caldwell fled the crash scene on foot.

Minutes later, State Police received a report of a crash on the George Washington Parkway involving another truck being driven by Caldwell that was driving the wrong way when it struck another vehicle. An Arlington County Fire Department ambulance responding to I-395 came upon the crash on the GW Parkway. The ambulance stopped and the medics got out to render aid to the drivers. While the medics were tending to the one driver, Caldwell ran up to the ambulance and drove off in it.

The medics waved down a VSP trooper who was responding to the crash scenes to alert him to the stolen ambulance. The trooper caught up to the stolen ambulance.  When the ambulance refused to stop for the trooper, a pursuit was initiated. At one point, the ambulance stopped in the road. As the trooper was getting out of his patrol car, Caldwell put the ambulance in reverse and rammed the state police vehicle and fled the scene.

The pursuit continued with Virginia State Police being assisted by Arlington County Police. During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance accessed the I-395 Express Lanes and then entered Washington, D.C., where it struck head-on a parked vehicle at 14th Street NW and D Street NW. State police and Arlington County Police took Caldwell into custody without further incident. Caldwell was transported to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation.

The parked vehicle that was struck by the ambulance was occupied by one person. That individual suffered minor injuries.

During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance struck multiple vehicles and again rammed the trooper’s patrol car. At this time, state police have accounted for and are investigating 13 hit-and-run crashes committed by the stolen ambulance. State police has not received any reports of serious injuries resulting from the crashes. No law enforcement were injured during the course of the pursuit. Anyone who was struck by the ambulance during the course of the pursuit is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026.

Caldwell has been charged by federal and local law enforcement. State police charges are still pending.

Videos of the crashes, the chase and the arrest are below.

A man runs past an ambulance on scene at 1100 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington County’s auditor plans to take a closer look at when ambulance fees are waived to see if he can save taxpayer dollars.

The plans are part of his office’s proposed audit plan for the 2024 fiscal year, which also includes scrutinizing how the county pays for gas in government cars and medical bills for Dept. of Health and Human Services clients. The Arlington County Board unanimously approved this plan on Tuesday.

Jim Shelton, appointed auditor in January, informed Arlington County Board members on Tuesday about his office’s plans to conduct a “data-driven analysis” to determine “the systemic reasons why some [ambulance fees] are waived or written-off.”

“[The analysis] will be focused on [the county’s] revenue and where do we generate it and where do we contain costs,” Shelton said.

Arlington employs a third-party contractor that charges patients who use the county’s emergency medical services, Shelton said. It also has an agreement with surrounding jurisdictions to provide joint emergency medical services.

In March 2022, the County Board authorized the Arlington County Fire Department to raise its ambulance transportation fees to alleviate the burden on taxpayers and shift the cost of providing services to the user or medical insurance.

The county claims uninsured individuals are not denied access to emergency services, and in some cases, the fire department may choose to waive the fees if someone cannot pay.

Although Shelton did not give specific examples, he alluded to discrepancies between services rendered and bills that were not paid.

“And we would like to look at our failure to collect for whatever reason and whether it’s happening more inside the county or more outside the county,” he said.

Shelton said the audit would be conducted in the fall between Oct 1. through Dec. 31 and be primarily “data-driven,” rather than through interviews or other methods.

Newly appointed board member Tannia Talento, who was sworn in on July 15, did not attend the meeting Tuesday. A county spokesperson said she would be present at upcoming Board meetings.


A patient reportedly suffering a mental health crisis overpowered a Butler Ambulance crew at a Montgomery County hospital and took it on a wild ride followed by police cars from several jurisdictions.

The pursuit eventually ended in Arlington, near the Pentagon, after more than 30 minutes.

It started the Maryland hospital around 2:40 a.m. when the patient started wrestling with the crew. He overpowered them and sped off with the strobe lights activated and the rear doors wide open.

The man traveled at modest speeds ranging between 55 and 65 mph while driving the ambulance on the major roads to reach I-270 and then the Beltway, according to scanner traffic.

For much of the trip he was reportedly on the phone with the Montgomery County 911 center. The operators urged him to pull over, but he refused. He continued driving on the Beltway, across the Potomac into Virginia, before turning onto I-66.

Finally, around 3:15 a.m., the man brought the ambulance to a stop in the area of Washington Boulevard and Route 110, adjacent to the Pentagon reservation, and was taken into custody by Arlington County police without further incident.


Morning Notes

Ballston Company’s IPO Soars — “Privia Health Group, which provides technology and services to physician practices, began trading Thursday on the Nasdaq and saw its share price jump in early trading — and stay there. Shares closed at $34.75 per share, up 51 percent from its opening share price of $23, with just over 10 million shares traded.” [Crunchbase]

Ambulance Crash in N. Arlington — “Crash involving an ambulance (not ACFD) at Old Dominion Drive & Lorcom Lane. @ArlingtonVaFD & @ArlingtonVAPD on the scene.” [Twitter]

New Hire for County Retirement System — “After a nationwide search, the Arlington County Employees’ Retirement System (ACERS) has selected Susie Ardeshir as Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer. The appointment is effective July 6, 2021. Ms. Ardeshir has more than 15 years of investment management experience. Before joining ACERS, she was the investments director at a public university system in California.” [Arlington County]

Grants to Nat’l Landing Merchants — “The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) teamed up with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) to provide $100,000 in relief funding to 30 businesses as part of their “Love Local” campaign. Funds are allocated evenly across the eligible National Landing establishments to help cover necessary operator-related expenses including rent and employee wages.” [Press Release]

VHC Doc, Nurses Honored — “Virginia Hospital Center… is pleased to announce Michael Silverman, MD, FACEP, chair of emergency medicine, was recently selected as one of five 2020 Facility Medical Directors of the Year by Alteon Health [and] five members of the nursing team were selected by Washingtonian Magazine to receive Excellence in Nursing Awards.” [Press Release]


Students at a Clarendon area daycare center are spending part of their morning on the Arlington County Fire Department’s mass casualty ambulance bus.

A fire department spokesman said the ambulance bus was dispatched to the 1200 block of N. Ivy Street, where firefighters are investigating a possible gas leak inside a building.

The block is home to NOVA KinderCare, a daycare center. The spokesman said the bus was deployed to keep children warm as firefighters investigate the reported leak and await the arrival of Washington Gas.

No injuries have been reported.

Update at 9:35 a.m. — The daycare building has been deemed safe to re-occupy, according to scanner traffic.

Photo via ACFD/Twitter


A collision at a busy intersection in Lyon Park blocked traffic during the Monday evening rush hour.

The crash happened just before 5 p.m., at the intersection of N. Daniel Street and 10th Street N. One vehicle, a Volvo XC70, tipped to its side while a Mitsubishi Eclipse was severely damaged.

Two ambulances were dispatched to the scene, though no serious injuries were reported, according to the police scanner. The intersection was temporarily blocked by emergency vehicles; it reopened around 5:45 p.m.

At least two vehicle occupants were walking around the closed-off intersection speaking with police and taking photos of the crash.

Map via Google Maps


Morning Notes

Record High Low Temperature — The area has set another record for a warm low temperature. Yesterday, the low temperature at Reagan National Airport was 74 degrees, besting the previous Oct. 9 record of 72 degrees. [Twitter]

Record APS Enrollment — Enrollment at Arlington Public Schools for the 2017-2018 school year has been recorded at 26,927, surpassing the previous record set in 1963 in the midst of the Baby Boom generation. “The official count was up 789 students – 3 percent – from a year before, and has now risen 27 percent since the 2010-11 school year,” the Sun Gazette reported, though the final figure was well below the more than 27,000 projected. [InsideNova]

Record School Library Circulation — Print is apparently not dead yet, as 1.044 million books and other printed materials were checked out at Arlington Public Schools libraries last school year, a new record. It is the first time that count has exceeded 1 million. [InsideNova]

ACFD Getting New Ambulances — The Arlington County Fire Department is getting two brand-new ambulances for its fleet. [Twitter]

Courthouse Meeting Bowls in KidsPost — “Near Arlington’s courthouse, three unusual round wooden objects are attracting attention and exploration by people of all ages. Some think they look like amusement park rides. To Hadley Christiansen, 3, of Arlington, ‘they look like salad bowls.'” [Washington Post]

Meeting Set on High-Speed Rail Line — A public hearing is being held in Alexandria next Tuesday to gather public input on proposed high-speed rail service from D.C. to Richmond. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by James L.


Police and paramedics were called to Arlington’s Department of Human Services after a man collapsed and suffered an apparent cardiac arrest in a taxi.

The incident happened just after 2 p.m., outside the DHS building at 2100 Washington Blvd. The man — a 65 year old Arlington resident, according to scanner traffic — was in a Red Top Cab when the driver saw that he was suffering a medical emergency and pulled over.

“The driver noticed that [the passenger] was slumped over in between the seats,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Alvin Guice.

The driver checked on the man and found that he didn’t have a pulse. Someone then ran to the DHS front desk and screamed “call 911,” according to a witness.

“We called 911 to respond to a building visitor who appeared to be in distress,” said DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick.

Passersby helped to pull the man out of the cab so they could render aid, the witness said. By the time paramedics arrived, someone was performing CPR on him. Medics took over and continued performing CPR as they rushed the man to Virginia Hospital Center, where doctors were unable to resuscitate him.

“Unfortunately, he was pronounced [deceased] at the hospital,” Guice said.


(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Huge lines, some impatient voters and a couple of election machine glitches were reported today around Arlington, but election officials say there have been no major problems hampering voting.

Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg acknowledged to this afternoon that there have been long lines at many of the county’s 52 polling places — some longer than 2.5 hours, according to those responding to our earlier poll. Some voters grew impatient, she said, but no one got out of control to the extent that they caused a disturbance.

“The lines are long and people aren’t happy about having to wait,” said Lindberg.

Several electronic voting machines froze and had to be reset, according to Lindberg. At least one had to be replaced with one of several backup voting machines kept in reserve by election officials.

(Arlington County officials said they have “far more voting machines than required by state law for today’s election.” The county’s voting precincts have one machine for every 220 registered voters, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius, compared to the minimum of one machine per 750 voters required under Virginia law.)

Unlike in elections past, Lindberg was unable to reveal specific voter turnout figures. She did predict, however, that today’s turnout may break records in Arlington in terms of the number of voters casting ballots.

Twice today paramedics were dispatched to polling stations in Arlington for a report of a voter suffering medical problems. One such dispatch was for an elderly voter who looked like he or she was about to faint. The other was for a voter who reportedly collapsed at a polling place in Pentagon City (see photos, below).

Lindberg said she was unaware of any medical emergencies at polling places, but said that election workers are trained to provide chairs for elderly voters, as needed.



Subscribe to our mailing list