For the second time in two months, a police chase from I-66 has ended in East Falls Church.
The vehicle pursuit began around 2:45 a.m., when a Virginia State Police trooper pulled over a Nissan Xterra that was heading east on I-66 at a high rate of speed.
“During the course of the traffic stop, the Nissan fled from the trooper and headed east on I-66. The suspect vehicle took Exit 68 and the trooper lost sight of it,” according to a VSP press release. “As the Nissan came through the exit ramp, it ran off the road, went through a fence, struck a tree and then an unoccupied vehicle in a parking lot. The driver then fled the scene on foot.”
Arlington County and Fairfax County police helped to search for the driver, who was apprehended just before 4 a.m. after being found “behind a trash can” at the East Falls Church Metro station.
The man, 21-year-old Artis Thomas, Jr. of Washington, D.C., was taken into custody “without further incident” and locked up in the Arlington County Detention Center. He was charged with ” DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs), felony eluding law enforcement, possession of a concealed weapon, hit-and-run, and possession of marijuana,” according to VSP.
Police say they recovered a handgun from Thomas’ vehicle.
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Three suspects are in custody after a vehicle pursuit ended near Benjamin Banneker Park in a quiet East Falls Church neighborhood.
The chase of a stolen vehicle that may have originated in Loudoun County was reported to Arlington authorities as it made its way down the Dulles Toll Road. The vehicle sped down toll road to I-66, with Fairfax County Police cruisers, the FCPD helicopter and Virginia State Police in pursuit, before exiting at East Falls Church.
The suspect vehicle finally came to a stop at N. Underwood Street and 18th Street N., near the entrance to Benjamin Banneker Park, around 3:30 p.m. Numerous vehicles were reported to be struck by the suspects in Arlington while they pushed through stopped traffic in the area of Lee Highway and N. Fairfax Drive.
Initially, only one suspect was taken into custody and two were reported to be fleeing on foot, according to scanner traffic. The helicopter and numerous Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and Metro Transit Police officers successfully searched for the suspects who were quickly apprehended.
A man and two women were arrested and are expected to face numerous charges, we’re told.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene for a report that the suspect vehicle caught fire after the crash. The fire was quickly extinguished.
Tri360 opened at 2121 N. Westmoreland Street, just off of the W&OD Trail, in 2012. It sold athletic apparel, accessories and shoes — everything a triathlete needs to swim, cycle and run — and also had a “full service” bike shop.
“They were doing fine business-wise but the couple who owned it found that managing the store, etc. was overwhelming in addition other responsibilities,” she said.
The store held a big going-out-of-business sale before closing late last month. Bonzai Sports in Falls Church now appears to be the closest triathlon specialty store in Northern Virginia.
Hat tip to Carol B.
Update at 6:15 p.m. — The disabled train has been cleared and trains are no longer single tracking past the station, Metro says.
Earlier: A large scale fire department response has been dispatched to the East Falls Church Metro station for a report of smoke on a train.
Metro says that a Largo-bound Silver Line train has offloaded at the station after suffering a brake problem. Trains are now single tracking past the station.
Light smoke reportedly filled at least one of the train cars, according to scanner traffic.
Largo Town Center bound Silver Line train offloading at East Falls Church, brake problem. Trains holding behind. 547pm #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) September 15, 2015
Orange/Silver Line: Single tracking through East Falls Church due to a disabled train at East Falls Church. Delays in both directions.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) September 15, 2015
Org/Sil Line: No longer single tracking. Residual delays continue in both directions due to an earlier train malfunction at E. Falls Church.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) September 15, 2015
Impede Apartments, Get a Self Storage Place — In an editorial, Falls Church’s newspaper of record is warning of “The Lesson of Cube Smart.” The lesson: when Arlington County put up roadblocks to the development of the proposed Shreve Apartments in East Falls Church, developer Mark Silverwood eventually lost patience and figured out that building a “by right” self-storage place would be easier and more lucrative. Separately, Silverwood also proposed an apartment building in Bluemont that was rejected by the community, canceling a proposed revamp of the neighborhood’s Safeway supermarket. [Falls Church News-Press]
More Orange Line Delays — There were morning rush hour delays once again on Metro’s Orange and Silver lines today. A train malfunction at the Virginia Square station prompted single tracking past the station and, once that was cleared, residual delays. [Twitter]
Arlington Man Wins $100,000 — Arlington resident Robert Thomas won $100,000 in a Virginia Lottery Cash 5 drawing last week. Thomas purchased the winning ticket at the Chanda Market at 5550 Columbia Pike. [WJLA]
APS SOL Score Rise — Arlington Public Schools is touting “impressive results” on its students’ 2015 Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Among those achieving significant test score gains were Limited English Proficient and minority students. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Kitchen Fire at Zaika — A kitchen fire closed Zaika restaurant at Market Common Clarendon last night. Firefighters had to ventilate smoke from the Indian restaurant after quickly extinguishing the small blaze. [Twitter]
Nude Glebe Road Runner Identified — Police say the man arrested for running naked along Glebe Road while screaming at passing cars is Timothy Lowe. Lowe was previously arrested for doing pushups in the buff, in the middle of a street in the Nauck neighborhood. He also spoke out against alleged police harassment at a community forum last year. Police found a “large quantity of crack” after Lowe was arrested yesterday, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
History of Arlington View Co-op to Be Preserved — Arlington County is working on a plan to help preserve the history of the George Washington Carver Cooperative Homes in the Arlington View neighborhood. The circa-1945 cooperative is set to be razed to make way for a new townhouse development after residents agreed to sell it to developer Craftmark Homes. [InsideNova]
East Falls Church Profiled — The Washington Post profiles the real estate market of East Falls Church, which will be undergoing some changes as the area around the Metro station eventually develops into a “neighborhood center district” over the next couple of decades. [Washington Post]
New APS Teachers Hired — Arlington Public Schools has hired 325 new teachers this summer to keep up with rising enrollments and staff retirements. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Just as Metro was recovering from yesterday’s derailment in D.C., a train became stranded between the East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations around 6 a.m. due to a reported power problem.
Arlington firefighters helped to unload passengers, who walked down the tracks to the East Falls Church station.
Orange and Silver Line service was suspended between the two station for more than an hour. Trains are now single-tracking between the two stations, with delays in both directions. The train that lost power is still sitting helplessly on the track.
Orange and Silver Line commuters weren’t the only ones affected by Metro problems this morning. A Yellow Line train suffered a reported brake problem at National Airport around 7:30 a.m. The train was offloaded and taken out of service, but not before causing delays.
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) August 7, 2015
East Falls Church residents can now grab an energizing cold-pressed juice before heading off to work in the morning, following the opening of a new South Block Juice Company store at 2121 N Westmoreland Street.
The micro juicery’s factory and test kitchen had been located in the neighborhood since last summer, according to company owner Amir Mostafavi. When the cafe next door to his factory closed down, Mostafavi took the opportunity to expand.
The East Falls Church store will be able to seat 30 people inside and up to 15 outside, significantly more than either of South Block’s other locations, on 11th Street N. in Clarendon and at George Washington University. Mostafavi hopes this extra space will allow the store to expand its repertoire to include fundraisers, neighborhood events and maybe even some tours of the factory next door.
A grand opening celebration is planned for this Saturday (July 18) from 9-11 a.m. If the lure of a brand new micro juicery isn’t enough, the store will be offering free half pints of juice and $25 gift cards to the first 25 people to come out.
Although business is booming now, Mostafavi says his juices weren’t always so popular. He opened his first smoothie and health food shop at GW in 2004, when he was three years out of college, but the store just didn’t kick off the way he expected it to. It wasn’t until 2011, when Mostafavi opened his Clarendon location and bought his first cold pressed juicer, that things finally began to take off.
“I took a big risk when I changed to all cold press because no one in this area had heard of it — we tried to educate them on why it was better. It was a risk, but I really thought it was a better product,” said Mostafavi. “At first, people would say, no, I don’t want bottled juice, I want fresh juice, but we tried to educate them on why it was better and better for you. Six months later, that’s all anybody wanted.”
Mostafavi says he believes South Block has been successful partially because it is such a small company.
“I try to have things that people want, that are good for you, and I try to have it before anybody else and do it better than anybody else. I think that’s a benefit of being a smaller company — the bigger corporations catch on a little bit late, and they cut corners to cut cost, and it just isn’t the same quality product.”
In addition to their juices and smoothies, the East Falls Church store has trendy products like nitrogen-infused cold-brew coffee. Mostafavi tries to keep South Block ahead of the curve by paying attention to the products being introduced in California and New York, and then bringing those products to the D.C. area.
“I try to continue to evolve the products and the menu,” said Mostafavi. “I think that’s one thing that’s made South Block successful.”
Mostafavi says the business is still expanding, with plans for future stores in both Vienna and Georgetown.
The suspect, described as a white, Hispanic or Middle Eastern man in his mid- to late-20s, jumped into the woman’s car while she was dropping off the man at the East Falls Church Metro station at about 4:20 p.m., according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm. The victims told police the suspect said “I need a ride” and directed her to drive.
“Just drive and no one will get hurt,” the alleged abductor told the two victims, according to Malcolm. “Don’t do anything stupid, and no one has to get hurt.”
The victims pulled into the Exxon station at 400 W. Broad Street in Falls Church, Malcolm said, and were able to exit the vehicle and call police after the suspect fell asleep in the back. The suspect, described as 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-11, 160-170 pounds with black hair, wearing a dark ball cap, dark blue hoodie, and blue jeans, fled the scene and avoided apprehension when he heard police sirens approaching.
From this week’s crime report:
ABDUCTION, 141122061, 1900 block of N Sycamore St, On 11/22/14 at 1620 hours, the male and female victims told police they had exited the highway and had stopped to allow the male victim to exit the vehicle when an unknown male suspect entered the rear of the vehicle demanding they continue to drive and threatening them if they called police or used their cell phones. The victim(s) continued to drive into Falls Church where the pulled into a gas station, exited the vehicle, and called police. The suspect, who was now asleep in the back, was alerted by police sirens and fled the scene. He is described as a white Hispanic or Middle Eastern male with no discernable accent, unshaven, 5’09” to 5’11”, mid to late 20s, 160-170 lbs, black hair, wearing a dark ball cap, dark blue hoodie, and blue jeans.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Four projects aimed at improving pedestrian safety, removing invasive plants and more are likely to be approved at this Saturday’s regular Arlington County Board meeting.
The final four projects funded by the 2012 Neighborhood Conservation bond, approved in June by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, will receive a total of $2,540,175 if the Board approves them. About $1.3 million of those funds would come from the 2012 bond, while about $1.2 million is expected come from the bond referendum on the ballot on Nov. 4.
The four projects up for approval:
- Pedestrian safety and street improvements for the intersections of N. Vacation Lane with N. Stuart and N. Utah Streets in Donaldson Run. Improvements include replacing a yield sign with a stop sign at the northeast corner of N. Stuart Street, replacing sidewalks on N. Utah Street and curb extensions at both intersections. Total cost: $608,749.
- Street improvements for N. Quintana Street between Washington Boulevard and 19th Street N. in East Falls Church. This includes constructing curbs and gutters on both sides of the road and installing a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side on the street. Total cost: $756,581.
- Park improvements for Oakland Park at 3701 Wilson Blvd. in Ballston-Virginia Square. This project is meant to give the park a complete upgrade, bringing features up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards and adding new site furnishings, ornamental plantings and wood decking. Total cost: $798,845.
- Removing invasive plants from Lucky Run Stream in Fairlington-Shirlington. The project calls for creating a “pollinator habitat between the stream bank and bike trail” and creating buffers with trees on either side of the stream. Total cost: $376,000.
The four projects were selected from a pool of 26 applications from neighborhoods around the county because they scored the highest on the NCAC’s points system, which is explained in the county staff’s report.
The county also has produced a five-minute video, embedded above, in honor of the Neighborhood Conservation Program’s 50th anniversary.
“When it was created in 1964, the goal was to empower residents by having them come together to discuss and share ideas for improving their neighborhoods,” the narrator says. The video includes interviews from NCAC Chair Bill Braswell and other committee members. “Over the years, the program has moved from beautification efforts to focus more on infrastructure needs… The program enables residents to identify and plan projects in their own neighborhoods.”
(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Arlington County Board has agreed to help fund a new fire engine, ambulance, ladder truck and three additional firefighters at the Falls Church Fire Station (6950 N. Little Falls Road in Arlington).
The station is located in Arlington but the land and building are owned by the City of Falls Church. According to the county staff report, half of the station’s coverage area is in Falls Church, while the other half is in Arlington. The partnership contract between the two jurisdictions had not been updated since it was passed in 1989; the new agreement the Board approved on Saturday would replace the former contract.
The Arlington County Fire Department staffs and operates the station alongside the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department.
“The new Fire and Emergency Medical Services Agreement between Arlington County and the City of Falls Church is a much-needed update to an agreement that dates back to 1989,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in an email. “This new agreement better serves both communities, by more clearly defining operations and cost-sharing, and taking into account how service delivery has changed since 1989.”
The new agreement calls for three more full-time equivalent positions, for which the county and city will split expenditures. Despite the new purchases and new positions, county staff doesn’t anticipate any additional “net tax support.”
“While the County has additional expenses under the new agreement, such as Fall Church Fire Station maintenance,” the staff report states, “these additional expenses will be offset by additional reimbursements from the City.”
The old agreement, staff writes, did not clearly define how costs for maintenance and replacement of outdated equipment would be split between the two jurisdictions. In the first year of the new agreement, Falls Church has agreed to pay for capital improvements to the station to “bring the facility to an acceptable operating baseline.” The county has agreed to be responsible for maintenance and the city will fund all capital improvements going forward.
The city will pay the county $150,000 a year for capital investments, which the county will manage, and $738,000 for the initial improvements, which include replacing windows, overhead doors, and HVAC design.
Photo via Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department
A bicyclist was struck by a car today at a W&OD trail crossing in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood.
The incident happened just past noon near the intersection of N. Little Falls Road and N. Four Mile Run Drive, on the border with Falls Church. Initial reports suggest a cyclist was struck by a car and suffered a head injury.
The cyclist was reportedly conscious and alert following the accident and was transported via ambulance to a local hospital. The driver remained on scene.
Damage to the bike and to the car’s windshield was visible following the collision. No word yet on whether any charges will be filed. Police on the scene declined comment.
While microbreweries are popping up all over the D.C. area, East Falls Church could soon be home to a “micro-juicery,” from the owner of South Block Cafe.
Amir Mostafavi says South Block Juice Company will open at 2121 N. Westmoreland Street in the next few months. The facility will produce the juice served at South Block and will be available for pickup around the area and for home delivery.
Mostafavi said he wants customers to be able to look into the location and see how the juice is made, and perhaps take tours like visitors do at microbreweries. The juice will also be sold fresh next door at Urban Pantry, which opened last week.
“It’s going to be our new production facility,” Mostafavi said. “We needed a larger space for our kitchen. The space we’re making the juice at right now, we’ve just outgrown it. We’re getting a larger juicer that’s going to greatly increase our volume and capacity. It’s something we’ve been looking into for a little while now as we’ve grown in the juice part of the business.”
South Block has been getting its juice from Mostafavi’s kitchen at Campus Fresh on George Washington University’s campus. Mostafavi opened that store 10 years ago and South Block Cafe opened three years ago, but when he bought a cold press a year ago to sell juice in bottles, the business exploded.
“Once I bought the cold press, that’s when the business took off,” he said. “We’ve already been getting a lot of customers throughout the area coming to our shop for the juice for juice cleanses.”
South Block Juice Company will get a revamped website around when the micro-juicery opens, Mostafavi said, which will make it easier for customers to order juices for delivery. That includes the three-day juice cleanse, which includes 18 bottles of juice, to be drank in specific order, for $150.
Mostafavi also said South Block is looking into “satellite locations” in the next year or so, and he hopes to soon begin national distribution.
Yayla Bistro, at 2201 N. Westmoreland Street, applied for a liquor license with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Jan. 15, requesting the ability to sell wine and beer on and off premises.
According to an employee at La Côte D’Or Cafe next door, the restaurant will be located in their former private dining room, which was sold recently “to a group that wants to open a Turkish restaurant.”
The owner of Yayla Bistro, listed as Gozukaya Entertainment LLC, did not return messages seeking comment.
The Tuckahoe/H-B Woodlawn 5K will close down streets on Saturday from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning, the same roads will be closed from 8:00 to 10:30 a.m. for the National Race Against the Odds 5K. According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following road will be closed:
- Williamsburg Blvd will be closed to eastbound traffic from N. Underwood Street to N. Sycamore Street.
- Little Falls Road will be closed from N. Sycamore Street to Washington Blvd.
- 26th Street N. will be closed from N. Sycamore Street to Washington Blvd.
- N. Underwood Street will be closed from 24th Street N. to Williamsburg Blvd.
Racers can still sign up for the Tuckahoe/H-B Woodlawn 5K this evening (Friday) from 3:00 to 6:00, or tomorrow, before the race begins at 8:00 a.m. Proceeds will go to H20 for Life. Registration for the Race Against the Odds — which raises money for pediatric brain cancer research — has closed.
Flickr photo by Diltch1