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Arlington police cruiser damaged by alleged DUI driver in crash (photo via ACPD)

Arlington police cruisers were “significantly” damaged in two separate DUI crashes in September, according to ACPD.

The police department said on social media that the crashes happened while “officers were working incidents along Arlington roadways” but “the cruisers were unoccupied at the time of the crashes and no officers were injured.”

It’s a cautionary tale against both drunk driving and failing to drive carefully around those working in the roadway, police say.

“These crashes highlight the dangers emergency personnel can face when they step out onto the roadway to assist travelers and keep our communities safe,” write ACPD. “We all have a responsibility to protect those who protect us. Slow down and move over when you see flashing red, blue or amber lights.”

The drivers of both striking vehicles were arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, the police department said. These incidents come amid a continued rise in DUI arrests.

DUI arrests in Arlington (image courtesy ACPD)

After falling in the first year of the pandemic, DUI arrests have been on the rise in Arlington County, according to ACPD stats provided to ARLnow. Between the first of the year and Sept. 22, there were 342 DUI arrests, compared to 253 and 318 arrests during that same time period in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

A fatal hit-and-run that killed a woman crossing the street near Thomas Jefferson Middle School in August has also brought attention to DUI and alcohol-related crashes. The driver was later arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, hit and run, driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license.

Alcohol-related crashes in Arlington are up nearly 50% since 2020, ARLnow reported earlier this month.

“Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive,” ACPD said via social media. “Always plan a sober ride — whether it’s a ridesharing service, taxi, public transportation, or designated sober driver.”

Asked about how the department handles cruisers being damaged by crashes, police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow that if repairs are not possible it takes 6-8 months to outfit a new cruiser.

“ACPD maintains a fleet of police vehicles for officer use,” Savage said via email. “Generally speaking, vehicles involved in crashes are removed from service and taken to the equipment yard for evaluation and repair. If a police vehicle is determined to no longer be operational due to a crash, it takes approximately 6 – 8 months to obtain and outfit a vehicle with the necessary police equipment.”

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Car goes vertical in the Arlington Mill neighborhood (photo courtesy anonymous)

The Arlington Mill neighborhood was the scene of one of the more unusual crashes in recent memory yesterday afternoon.

Just before 4 p.m. Sunday, police and firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of 8th Road S. and S. Florida Street for the report of a single-vehicle crash involving an older Toyota Camry and an elderly driver. One of the first arriving units reported the car “completely up on the telephone pole, a good 10 feet in the air.”

It appeared that the driver somehow backed up onto the guy-wire of a utility pole with enough force for the beige Toyota to get suspended vertically.

Thankfully, no one was injured, we’re told, and little damage was evident in a photo sent to ARLnow.

“The driver was out [of the car] prior to our arrival,” said Arlington fire department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner. “I can’t speak to the cause or how it happened.”

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All lanes of N. Glebe Road are closed just south of Quincy Street due to a crash involving an overturned vehicle.

The single-vehicle crash took down power lines, according to scanner traffic, and the southbound lanes of Glebe are expected to be shut down for an extended period of time as a result.

One person was reportedly taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Police are on scene and investigating the cause of the crash and whether the driver might have been intoxicated.

Dominion, meanwhile, is reporting via its outage map that nearly 2,750 homes and businesses are without power in the area of the crash. The utility company expects power to be restored between 3-6 a.m.

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Eastbound I-66 at Exit 72 / Langston Blvd (via Google Maps)

Someone driving the wrong-way on I-66 in Arlington caused a crash that seriously injured three people, state police say.

The crash happened early this morning around 1:30 a.m., near one of the Langston Blvd exits between Rosslyn and Glebe Road.

“At approximately 1:23 a.m. Monday (Sept. 19), Virginia State Police received an emergency call concerning a vehicle driving west in the eastbound lanes of I-66,” VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller tells ARLnow. “As state troopers were responding, the wrong-way vehicle struck an eastbound vehicle head-on near Exit 72.”

“The driver of the wrong-way vehicle, and the driver and passenger in the eastbound vehicle were all transported to a nearby hospital for treatment for serious injuries,” Geller continued. “The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.”

ARLnow is awaiting an update on the condition of the three people seriously hurt in the crash.

Hat tip to Dave Statter. Photo via Google Maps.

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(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) The rideshare driver who crashed into Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse last month likely experienced “a medical emergency” before driving into the building, police say.

This preliminary explanation comes after Arlington County police previously ruled out drunk driving as well as malicious intent.

The crash set fire to the popular pub, situated next to the “T” intersection of N. Courthouse Road and Wilson Blvd, during a local company’s happy hour event. It triggered a large emergency response and road closures as people fled the fiery scene. More than a dozen people were hurt.

Police said today that all three pub-goers who were hospitalized with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries have now been released — a little over a month after they were admitted. One patient was still in critical condition and two others were in stable condition within a week of the crash.

The seriously injured people are expected to undergo a rehabilitation process as they continue to recover, we’re told.

In all, 15 people were injured, including nine brought to local hospitals. Of them, three were Four Courts employees hospitalized for less serious injuries, including smoke inhalation.

Four Courts Managing Partner Dave Cahill told ARLnow that the patrons who were seriously injured may not have survived but for other quick-thinking fellow pub-goers, including a volunteer firefighter, as well as first responders who arrived on scene just moments after the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers have been with them for this whole time,” Cahill said of the victims. “They’re regulars who come in here all the time… we’re happy that they’ve started the next stage of recovery.”

Building inspectors determined that Four Courts is structurally sound but not fit for occupancy due to the extensive damage.

The pub is planning to rebuild, funded in part by a now-closed GoFundMe campaign that blew well past its $50,000 goal, raising just over $95,000. Tonight, fellow Arlington Irish pub Samuel Beckett’s (2800 S. Randolph Street) is hosting a fundraiser and silent auction for Four Courts staff.

Cahill told ARLnow today that insurance and other matters are still being worked out before construction can begin that would allow at least part of the pub to reopen. If demolition starts soon, he said, the best case scenario would be reopening in late spring or early summer of 2023.

When the doors swing back open, he wants customers to feel like nothing has changed, and for regulars to request the same TV channels and sit in the same seats they’ve sat in for years.

“We’re going to work and recreate Four Courts as close back to the original as possible,” he said. “We don’t want people to walk in here and think they’re in a different place. Things will be updated, obviously, but we want people to feel at home in the Four Courts.”

The only thing that many repeat customers would miss would be their personal mugs. Four Courts had a mug club with more than 1,475 mugs people purchased; added their names, football team logos and family crests to; and drank from whenever they came in.

“We lost a lot of mugs,” he said. “When the fire came, it melted the mug and left the handle. We’re sad about that. That was a big part of the brand.”

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The Aug. 9 bike-on-bike crash on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn (image via Arlington County traffic camera)

Paul Kiendl doesn’t even remember what happened.

It was early August and he was on his bike, making his way to work via his regular route on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn. He recalls being stopped at a traffic light near the intersection of Langston Blvd and Fort Myer Drive.

Then, memories come in bits and pieces for Kiendl. Lying in a patch of poison ivy, in the back of the ambulance, and then being in the hospital.

It’s been about a month since the bike accident, which left Bluemont resident Kiendl with a severe spinal injury and nerve damage. He’s begun to piece together what exactly happened, believing he clipped another cyclist when it sped ahead of him at the traffic light.

“I think that was just a bicyclist that was trying to run a red light on Fort Myer Drive,” Kiendl tells ARLnow. “And I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.” 

But knowing exactly the cause of the accident has proven to be very difficult. That’s because Arlington County Police Department didn’t prepare a crash report, as it would when a driver of a car hits a bike or pedestrian.

So, there’s no account of what happened, no identifying details, no interviews with witnesses, and no diagram of the crash.

The information about Kiendl’s crash was so sparse that a family member reached out to ARLnow, after seeing our brief post on Twitter, above. We did not have any information beyond what was in the tweet, however, and at the time the injuries involved were reported to be minor so no reporter was sent to the scene.

The lack of a crash report in keeping with police protocol, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage notes. The county police department does not put together crash reports for bike-on-bike or bike-on-pedestrian incidents.

“ACPD follows Virginia law and guidance by the DMV for reporting crashes,” Savage said in a written response to ARLnow. “In Virginia, a crash report involving a bicycle is required only when the bicycle is involved with a motor vehicle in transport.”

Bruce Deming, the “bike lawyer,” thinks this is a very bad policy. He’s been practicing law in Arlington for more than 30 years, exclusively representing injured cyclists and pedestrians.

Deming notes that by not taking a crash report, there’s no information or official documents one could use to pursue any sort of civil compensation or insurance claims for help with medical bills.

“Why should the Arlington County police treat injured cyclists that are involved in a bike-on-bike collision as second-class citizens?” Deming rhetorically asks. “They’re badly injured and they need the information to pursue their own civil claims just as much as a motorist would need it.”

Per Savage, a crash report is taken in accordance with Virginia Code § 46.2-373 which says one must be prepared when a “motor vehicle accident” results in injury, death, or property damage of $1,500 or more.

As defined by Virginia Code § 46.2-100, the term “motor vehicle” does not include bicycles, scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, electric personal mobility devices, or motorized skateboards.

Just because a crash doesn’t involve a car, however doesn’t mean someone can’t be badly injured.

Deming recounts another situation back in 2015 when a client of his was severely hurt colliding with another bike in the Rosslyn/Courthouse neighborhood. Deming says the police showed up, but wouldn’t take any witness contact information or interview the other cyclist.

Bike-on-bike crashes often result in terrible injuries. You’ve got two bodies and quite often [it’s] a head-on type of situation,” says Deming. “It doesn’t take a physics professor to understand the type of force that happens when you have two bodies collide at any kind of speed. It’s a terrible policy.”

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Those in line to get coffee and donuts in the Buckingham neighborhood this morning were met with an unusual sight.

The driver of a white Volvo drove partially down an embankment next to the Dunkin’ drive-thru at 70 N. Glebe Road, becoming wedged between the sidewalk and the restaurant’s driveway. It’s not clear what led to the crash, though the drive-thru line is not typically associated with excess speed.

“I’m not sure what the story is or how the car ended up this way,” said a tipster, who called it an “odd scene.”

No emergency vehicles are seen in the photos above, which were taken around 7:45 a.m.

The Dunkin’ and its drive-thru lane opened in 2017, replacing a former KFC.

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Pickup truck that crashed into and damaged the side of the Memorial Bridge (photo courtesy John Wilcox)

The driver of a pickup truck nearby ran off the side of the Memorial Bridge this evening.

The truck mounted the southern sidewalk and smashed through the decorative masonry on the side of the bridge, over the GW Parkway and the Mt. Vernon Trail. It was likely just a few feet away from falling off the side of the bridge and onto the trail.

Police described it as a single-vehicle crash. U.S. Park Police officers and Arlington firefighters were among those to respond to the scene. No information on injuries or the cause of the crash was immediately available.

The inbound lanes of the bridge were closed to traffic for a time after the crash but have since reopened.

Memorial Bridge underwent an extensive, two-year rehabilitation project that wrapped up in 2020. The work included cleaning, repairing and reinstalling the bridge’s “historic granite balustrade.”

It appears that the truck smashed through one of those sections of balustrade. Repairing it may take awhile.

More on the balustrade work from a 2019 Washington Post article:

Hunks of curbing, benches and hundreds of ornate 80-pound balusters, for the balustrade, or stone railing, were scattered across a large Lorton Stone company work yard in Upper Marlboro, Md., like pieces of a huge puzzle.

There, they were being power-washed and repaired, if needed, said National Park Service spokesman Jonathan Shafer.

Many of the pieces have been stained by rust over the years from passing cars and nicked by snowplows, said Lindy Gulick, a Park Service architectural conservator.

Missing parts are being replaced by new pieces that are glued in place and sculpted to fit.

The original balusters were handcrafted from stone cut in a quarry in Mount Airy, N.C.

Replacements for the few that could not be repaired are being made with the help of a computer and with stone from the same quarry, Gulick said.

More on the crash via social media:

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Major backup after GW Parkway blocked by crash (via Google Maps)

The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway were Friday afternoon blocked after reports of a “major” crash near the second scenic overlook.

The Arlington County Fire Department is among those that responded to the crash, south of Chain Bridge in Arlington. So far there’s no word on injuries nor the exact nature of the crash.

Northbound traffic was diverted onto Spout Run Parkway, but a significant number of drivers may have gotten stuck in the backup after Spout Run.

Drivers on the southbound GW Parkway were also seeing delays near the crash scene due to the emergency response.

Update at 1:50 p.m. — All lanes have reopened, according to U.S. Park Police.

Photo via Google Maps

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Ireland’s Four Courts on fire and an injured person being helped after a vehicle crashed into the pub (photo courtesy Craig Smith)

When Timo Klotz saw the smoke and the gaping hole from across the street, he sprinted towards Ireland’s Four Courts.

“I ran across the intersection right there and followed the hole into the building, to go inside,” Klotz told ARLnow, a few days after a car barrelled into the Courthouse pub, critically injuring several people. “As soon as I saw what happened, I was like ‘I need to help.'”

A volunteer firefighter and EMT in Fairfax County with a job in emergency management, Klotz knew he had only a matter of seconds. Sifting through the wreckage, alongside Four Courts customers who also put themselves in harm’s way to help the injured, he helped pull people out of the pub and got them to safety only moments before the inferno engulfed the bar.

If it wasn’t for Klotz’s quick thinking and instincts, the situation might have been a whole lot worse.

“If it would have been 20 seconds more, yeah,” he said, trailing off a bit. “I don’t think they would have made it out.”

The fateful moment — last Friday, Aug. 11, around 6:45 p.m. — will be long etched in the memories of those who were there. A rideshare driver plowed a car into Ireland’s Four Courts at the end of a “T” where N. Courthouse Road and Wilson Blvd intersect. A total of 15 people were injured with three still remaining in the hospital. One person is still in critical condition, as of the last update from Arlington County police.

It remains unclear what led to the crash. Police said the driver is cooperating with authorities, didn’t do it intentionally, and alcohol was not a factor.

“The cause of the crash remains under active investigation and detectives continue to collect and review evidence and speak with witnesses to determine the events that preceded the crash,” an ACPD spokesperson told ARLnow yesterday (Thursday).

What is clear, though that the actions of Klotz and others likely saved lives.

Friday was Klotz’s last day working for the Arlington County Circuit Court before moving to a new job with Fairfax County’s Department of Emergency Management. So, he and several colleagues decided to have a going-away party down the street from his office, at Four Courts.

It was about 6:30 p.m. when he stepped out of the pub to move his car out of a parking garage that was set to close for the weekend. Klotz retrieved his car and parked it on N. Courthouse Road near Bayou Bakery. While getting out, that’s when he heard a loud bang.

“There’s always a lot of noise [around there], so I really didn’t make anything out of it,” he said.

But then he started hearing people screaming and seeing lots of commotion. Then, a person on the street said a car had ran into a building. Klotz ran and saw the bar he had been in only a few minutes earlier now had smoke pouring out of a large, jagged hole.

That’s when he made the split-second decision to go inside and help. Klotz told ARLnow that when he entered through the hole made by the Toyota Camry, he was stunned at what he saw.

“I couldn’t even make out that there was a car in there. There was ceiling, wires, cables, tables… everywhere,” Klotz said. “It was demolished. Like a bomb went off.”

Then he saw a person on the ground to his right. He helped that person up but saw another trapped under debris. Before he could even help them, he caught a glimpse of another person, bloody, lying on the ground.

“There’s people everywhere,” he said. “At that moment… I was almost overwhelmed to the point of thinking ‘what am I going to do? There’s so many people.'”

But Klotz’s instincts kicked in. As a volunteer firefighter, he had seen fires grow fast. As the smoke turned hot and flames started shooting out of the debris, Klotz knew there was one thing that had to happen now.

“We have a fire. We need to get people out,” he said, remembering that moment.

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Arlington County police say the rideshare driver who crashed into Ireland’s Four Courts on Friday did not do so intentionally and was not drunk.

Beyond that, not much is known — or, at least, being revealed publicly — about the circumstances that led to the fiery crash that severely injured several people inside the long-time Courthouse pub.

“The Arlington County Police Department continues to investigate the cause of Friday’s crash,” the police department said in a statement late Monday afternoon. “Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives do not believe the crash was an intentional act and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor. The driver of the vehicle is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”

“Detectives continue to encourage anyone with information related to this investigation to contact Detective K. Stahl at [email protected] or 703-228-7145,” ACPD said. “Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.”

Police said that three people are still in the hospital, including one who’s still in critical condition and two others that are now in stable condition.

Initially, police said four people had been taken to the hospital from the scene in critical condition. In all, 15 people were injured, including nine brought to local hospitals, six of whom have since been released.

ARLnow previously reported that the quick actions of customers and first responders to treat the injured and move them away from the growing inferno likely saved lives.

Meanwhile, Four Courts has told local news outlets that it is planning to rebuild.

The pub and its staff will be helped by a GoFundMe campaign, which has blown past its $50,000 goal and raised more than $77,000 as of publication time. Four Courts employees, three of whom were hospitalized but have since been released, are also getting an assist from a fellow local Irish bar.

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub, at 2800 S. Randolph Street in Shirlington, is organizing a fundraiser and silent auction on Thursday, Sept. 15 for Four Courts staff.

Already more than 1,000 people have said they’re going or expressed interest in the event on Facebook.

“We at Beckett’s and Kirwan’s on the Wharf would like to hold a fundraiser for the staff of Ireland’s Four Courts,” wrote owner Mark Kirwan. “We will have a silent auction and a night of fun and entertainment to raise money for these poor unfortunate souls who went through hell… Thank you in advance and let’s make this road ahead for these folks a bit easier.”

Firefighters and county building officials were at Four Courts on Monday. The pub’s general manager, Dave Cahill, told ARLnow this afternoon that Four Courts is still trying to determine how to move forward, depending on what the inspections find.

“We are working with the county and inspectors to determine the next course of action,” Cahill said. “We are extremely grateful for all the neighborhood support.”

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