A triple fatal crash Wednesday morning in D.C. has claimed the lives of two young Arlington men.
U.S. Park Police just released the names of those killed. They include Jonathan Cabrera Mendez, 23, and Olvin Torres Velasquez, 22, both of Arlington.
The men were killed while riding in a Honda Accord with 42-year-old Mohamed Kamara of Burtonsville, Maryland. It is currently unclear whether Mendez and Velasquez knew Kamara or whether the Honda was being operated as a rideshare vehicle at the time of the crash.
The crash happened just before 1:45 a.m. on a curved section of the Rock Creek Parkway near P Street NW when a Lexus SUV slammed into the Honda. NBC 4, Fox 5 and other local news outlets reported that the Lexus had just fled an attempted traffic stop and had dozens of outstanding speeding violations associated with its license plate.
A man in the Lexus suffered injuries not considered life threatening, while a woman in the SUV suffered critical injuries, according to USPP.
More from today’s Park Police press release, below.
United States Park Police (USPP) officers have identified the victims of the crash that occurred on March 15 on Rock Creek Parkway involving a Honda sedan and a Lexus SUV.
On Wednesday, March 15 at 1:43 a.m., USPP officers were dispatched to a crash on the Rock Creek Parkway near P Street NW. The three occupants in the Honda were pronounced dead on the scene. The deceased were later identified as Mohamed Kamara, 42, of Burtonsville, MD, Jonathan Cabrera Mendez, 23, of Arlington, VA, and Olvin Torres Velasquez, 22, of Arlington, VA. The Lexus was occupied by an adult woman and adult man. The adult woman was transported to the hospital with injuries later considered life-threatening and the adult man was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
USPP detectives are working in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia as the crash remains under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.
Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact the USPP Tip Line at (202)379-4877 or email [email protected]
A 26-year-old man from Vienna, Va. has died after crashing his Range Rover on I-66 early Saturday morning.
The crash happened around 3:30 a.m. in the Rosslyn tunnel. Virginia State Police say the driver was not wearing his seat belt and was likely traveling at an excessive speed.
A passenger suffered minor injuries in the rollover crash.
More from a VSP spokesperson, below.
At 3:37 a.m. on Saturday (March 3), Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on westbound I-66 at the Rosslyn Tunnel.
A 2018 Range Rover was traveling west on I-66 when it ran off the right side of the road and struck a jersey wall just before the tunnel. It then traveled into the tunnel and overturned.
The driver, Talaat B. Hamooh, 26, of Vienna, Va., died during transport. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
A passenger, Hussain A. Aljahdali, 29, of Arlington, Va., sustained minor injuries in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt.
Excessive speed is being investigated as a contributing factor in the crash. The crash remains under investigation.
A young Arlington woman died today after a single-vehicle crash in the Shirlington area.
The crash happened around 1:45 a.m. on the 2500 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive, just west of Shirlington Village.
The driver, 20-year-old Mayra Cruz-Arriaza, was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said. Cruz-Arriaza was listed on a childcare hiring site as a part-time nanny who “love[s] doing arts and crafts, especially painting” with children and who helped to care for her brother with special needs.
More from a police press release, below.
The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal single vehicle crash that occurred in the early morning hours of February 21, 2023.
At approximately 1:47 a.m., police were dispatched to the 2500 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive for the report of a crash with injuries. Upon arrival, officers located the unresponsive driver inside the vehicle. She was transported to an area hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased. The deceased has been identified as Mayra Cruz-Arriaza, 20, of Arlington, VA.
The preliminary investigation indicates the driver was traveling westbound on Arlington Mill Drive when the vehicle left the roadway, entered the median and struck a pedestrian crosswalk pole and two trees.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective S. Lafley at [email protected] or 703-228-4052. Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
The man who struck and killed an elderly woman who was crossing Little Falls Road in a crosswalk has received a traffic ticket.
Arlington County police announced the charge Tuesday afternoon, after a month-long investigation, noting that “sun glare” may have prevented the driver of the striking SUV from clearly seeing the victim.
The fatal collision happened the morning of Saturday, Oct. 8 at the intersection of Little Falls Road and John Marshall Drive in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
“Following a comprehensive investigation, which included the review of crime scene evidence and witness interviews, sun glare was determined to be a contributing factor in the fatal crash while other factors, such as speed and alcohol, were ruled out,” police said today. “The driver of the striking vehicle, Kyle Pasternak, 59, of Arlington, VA, has been charged with Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk and released on a summons.”
The original ACPD press release about the crash is below.
The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood on the morning of Saturday, October 8.
At approximately 9:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries involving a pedestrian in the 5800 block of Little Falls Road. Upon arrival, officers located the pedestrian in the roadway suffering from serious injuries. She was transported by medics to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased. She has been identified as Gwendolyn Hayes, 85, of Arlington, VA.
The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle turned left from John Marshall Drive onto Little Falls Road and struck the pedestrian as she was crossing the roadway in the crosswalk. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene.
This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Galiatsos at [email protected] or 703-228-4163. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.
(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) The intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and Old Dominion Drive was closed for nearly five hours overnight after a fiery crash that killed a teenager.
Two vehicles collided at the intersection, in the Rock Spring neighborhood, around 12:30 a.m. The engine compartment of one of the vehicles caught fire.
The flames were quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived on scene. The intersection was closed overnight while police investigated the crash.
Initial reports suggested that several people were injured and one person was found unresponsive.
Police confirmed early Friday afternoon that one person, a teen boy, was killed. The driver of the other car — an SUV, which caught fire after the crash — was also a teen. He has been charged with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter, according to ACPD.
The press release is below.
The Arlington County Police Department has charged a juvenile male in his teens with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter following a fatal vehicle crash in the Rock Spring neighborhood. He remains held in a juvenile detention facility.
At approximately 12:29 a.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to Old Dominion Drive at Williamsburg Boulevard for the report of a two-vehicle crash with injuries. Upon arrival, first responders located an unoccupied SUV on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished by the Arlington County Fire Department. The driver of the second involved vehicle, a sedan, was located unresponsive inside the vehicle and pronounced deceased on scene.
The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the sedan was attempting to make a U-turn on Old Dominion Drive when he was struck at a high rate of speed by the SUV. The driver of the SUV was taken into custody on scene. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.
The deceased is a juvenile male in his teens. His identification is being withheld in accordance with Virginia Code § 19.2-11.2 which limits Virginia law enforcement agencies from directly or indirectly identifying deceased juvenile victims of a crime.
This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective S. Whalin at [email protected] or 703-228-4159. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.
The victim has been publicly identified as Braylon Meade, a Washington-Liberty High School basketball player. The school’s principal says counselors will be available for students who need extra support next week.
Signs at tonight’s W-L football game mourned Meade, who wore #22 on the court.
As I said in my message to our larger W-L family, we know that many in our community will be personally impacted by this loss. On Mon, Nov. 14 and in the days after we will have counseling staff available for any student who feels that they might need extra support.
— Tony Hall (@Principal_WLHS) November 12, 2022
Screenshot via @STATter911/Twitter
Drunk driving — the alleged reason why a woman was killed in a hit-and-run last month — is on the rise in Arlington.
The fatal crash in the Arlington Heights neighborhood has county leaders considering greater emphasis on curbing drunk driving. Neighbors, meanwhile, are asking the county to add more traffic calming measures to combat risky driving, particularly near Alice West Fleet Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
On Aug. 1, a driver hit Viviana Oxlaj Pérez while she was walking near the Thomas Jefferson Community Center at 3501 2nd Street S. She was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital, where she died.
The Arlington County Police Department arrested Julio David Villazon at his home on Aug. 2 and charged him with involuntary manslaughter, hit and run, driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license.
There has been an uptick in alcohol-involved crashes in Arlington. Last year, ACPD recorded 143 alcohol-involved crashes, up nearly 49% increase from 96 in 2020, according to its 2021 annual report. In 2022, ACPD has recorded 116 alcohol-involved crashes, says police spokesman Ashley Savage.
Driving under the influence is one of the top contributing factors to a “disproportionate” number of critical and fatal crashes in the county, says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien. The others are speeding, turning left at an intersection, turning right across bicycle lanes and failing to yield to pedestrians.
Each of these behaviors is being addressed during an ongoing “Critical Crash Mitigation Campaign” through December.
The recent rise in alcohol-related crashes chips away at what had been a broader downward trend in drunk driving. Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol attributed this initial decrease to efforts, such as the ACPD Arlington Restaurant Initiative and the Washington Region Alcohol Program, as well as the growing popularity of ride-sharing services — which have been getting more expensive.
“Now, however, national trends are indicating major increases in alcohol-related traffic fatalities during the pandemic (regional data is lagging but reasonable inference suggests our local trends may be similar),” Cristol said in an email to ARLnow. “This indicates to me that there is a greater role for the County Board in public education about the threat that drunk driving poses to our own community.”
Cristol said the most important message she can communicate about last month’s crash is that “there is no safe way to drive drunk.”
“In this situation, the driver was impaired, and there is no ‘safe’ BAC above zero to get behind the wheel. Any intersection or roadway — irrespective of the physical safety improvements, visibility interventions, or other designs to the built environment — is unsafe when a drunk driver is present,” she said.
The DUI is Villazon’s second driving offense within the last 10 years, according to court records. He was previously found guilty of “improper driving” in the Arlington General District Court. Under state code, the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving can be knocked down to improper driving if either the judge or the prosecutor find that the offense was not serious.
His next court date is in February 2023.
The crash that killed Oxlaj Pérez is being examined by a broad swath of local agencies, including Arlington’s transportation staff, the police and fire departments, Arlington’s Dept. of Human Services, Virginia State Police and the County Manager’s office.
But neighbors say the problem is not hard to understand. They say drivers, particularly during school drop-off and pick-up times, speed down S. Glebe Road and Arlington Blvd (Route 50), run red lights, roll stop signs, make illegal U-turns, block crosswalks and go the wrong way on 1st Road S., a one-way street — and they’re not drunk.
“I understand the tragedy that occurred a few weeks ago involved alcohol and likely wouldn’t have been prevented with traffic changes,” said one neighbor, Kelly Cherry-Leigh Davison. “But we have brought up these safety issues numerous times to everyone we can think of and are getting nowhere. I’m worried every day another tragedy is going to occur and we could be preventing it.”
(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) A Wakefield High School junior has died in the hospital after being struck by a driver while riding a scooter.
Miguel Angel Rivera suffered what were described as “massive injuries” after being struck while returning from work on an electric scooter.
On Monday, his parents said on a GoFundMe page that Rivera had died at a hospital in Fairfax County.
With heavy hearts, we want to announce that our Miguelito has passed as of early this morning, 9/5/2022. He is now in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ and will forever be remembered. He is now an angel looking down on us all.
We are in awe of the amount of love, support, and generosity that is being shown to help the family during this time of unimaginable sorrow and heartbreak. Miguel Angel was loved by so many, please keep the prayers coming for those closest to him that that they find peace, comfort, and healing.
The GoFundMe page, which has raised nearly $20,000 for medical and funeral expenses, does not detail what happened. A community leader who shared the page on social media said over the weekend, and again on Monday, said he did not have additional information about the crash.
ARLnow hears that the crash happened just over a week ago in Alexandria. Police there issued a press release about a crash that happened just after 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 along Beauregard Street, west of the Mark Center.
The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a traffic crash that occurred on Saturday, August 27, 2022, at the intersection of North Beauregard Street and Sanger Avenue.
At approximately 10:17 PM, police responded to the area for a scooter struck at the intersection of North Beauregard Street and Sanger Avenue. Preliminary investigation suggests the victim, 16 years of age, was making a left-hand turn onto Sanger Avenue from the southbound lane of North Beauregard Street when he was struck by a Black Toyota RAV-4 traveling northbound on North Beauregard Street. The victim was transported to the hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
The […] driver of the Black SUV, remained on the scene.
APD’s Crash Reconstruction Team is investigating the crash. The investigation is ongoing.
As of Tuesday afternoon school administrators had not yet sent an email to WHS families about Rivera’s death and, we’re told, were awaiting permission from the teen’s family to do so.
NBC 4 reported Tuesday night that Rivera was just minutes from his father’s house when he was struck. He died after being taken off life support at the hospital.
There’s still no word on whether the driver of the SUV will face any charges.
(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) A woman has died after being struck by a driver who then fled the scene, according to police.
Viviana Oxlaj Pérez was walking near the Thomas Jefferson Community Center around 7:30 p.m. Monday when the driver of a truck struck her and then drove off, a family member told ARLnow.
Police and medics quickly responded and treated the critically injured woman, but she later died at the hospital.
Police closed the intersection of 2nd Street S. and S. Glebe Road, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, for about two hours to investigate the hit-and-run crash.
Police remain on scene investigating. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to call police at 703-558-2222.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) August 2, 2022
An online fundraiser was established for Oxlaj Pérez early Tuesday morning by her daughter, Hilary Lopez Oxlaj.
Reached by phone, Lopez Oxlaj said her mother was walking across the street with her bike, on her way to the nearby 7-Eleven store, when the driver blew through a stop sign at the intersection and struck her.
Lopez Oxlaj said her mother, who was 53, had lived near the Arlington Career Center for 17 years and was known as the “lady with the bike” who sells cold drinks and ice cream to soccer players at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center fields.
“She was a mother who worked very hard,” she said. “Everyone knew her as a very kind woman.”
Oxlaj Pérez was a married mother of six and frequent churchgoer, who would often donate food to people who were struggling, her daughter said.
Lopez Oxlaj hopes that her mother’s generosity is returned so the family can afford funeral expenses.
“We are collecting funds to… send my mother’s body to Guatemala,” Lopez Oxlaj wrote on the GoFundMe page. “She was a very hardworking lady fighting every day… Please ask for your help, it will be a great blessing.”
As of 11 a.m. the page had raised nearly $3,000 of its $25,000 goal from a few dozen donors.
Police said Tuesday morning that officers arrested the alleged driver, a 62-year-old Arlington man, after finding the striking vehicle about a mile away from the crash scene. Alcohol is “believed to be a factor in the crash,” according to police. The man is now facing numerous charges.
More from an ACPD press release, below.
An Alexandria man has died after a crash last week on I-395 in Arlington.
The single-vehicle crash happened around 1:30 a.m. Friday. The driver was ejected from the vehicle and later died from his injuries.
More from Virginia State Police:
At 1:28 a.m. on Friday (June 10), Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on the on-ramp from southbound Washington Blvd. to southbound I-395.
A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro was on the ramp when it ran off the left side of the road, struck a curb and overturned.
The driver, Jose T. Villanueva, 31, of Alexandria, Va., was transported to George Washington Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
Speed and alcohol are being investigated as a contributing factor in the crash. The crash remains under investigation.
Several lanes of southbound I-395 were closed during the overnight hours as a result of the crash.
MD #Arlington I-395 SB near VA-27/Washington Blvd (x8), crash & response. 1 left lane gets by. #vatraffic #dctraffic Listen live to WTOP's latest traffic reports every 10 minutes on the 8s. https://t.co/k7ONQAzTiR
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) June 10, 2022
Restorative Justice Coming to Schools — “Restorative Arlington has partnered with Arlington Public Schools (APS) to support Restorative Justice in Education. Restorative Arlington has allocated over $140,000 to provide direct services to APS, including services for students who have experienced harm as well as restorative justice training for staff and additional resources.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Candidate Addresses Achievement Gap — “The county’s likely next School Board member has become the latest to try and enunciate ways to address [the academic-achievement gap]. The gap is significant and ‘has gotten worse’ over the pandemic era, candidate Bethany Sutton acknowledged during a May 14 forum sponsored by the Blue Families caucus of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.” [Sun Gazette]
Fatal Crash Near Arlington Border — “Officers responded at 2:16 a.m. to the 3700 block of S. George Mason Drive. Preliminarily, detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit determined the driver of a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta was travelling southbound on S. George Mason Drive attempting to turn left into Skyline Plaza. The driver of a 2018 Honda Accord was travelling northbound on S. George Mason Drive and struck the Jetta on the passenger side. Initially, both occupants of the Accord ran from the scene.” [Fairfax County Police]
It’s Friday — Rain and storms throughout much of the day. High of 73 and low of 67. Sunrise at 5:49 am and sunset at 8:26 pm. [Weather.gov]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington: a highly educated and affluent riverfront county looking over D.C. Some say it has a kindred spirit in Hoboken, New Jersey, described as a “vibrant, walkable” city with waterfront views of New York City.
What makes Hoboken walkable seems to also make it safe for pedestrians. For the last four years, the city has not logged a single pedestrian death.
The trend drew the praise of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose department released a national plan in January to reduce and eventually eliminate thousands of road deaths.
Arlington, like Hoboken, has adopted a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic-related serious injuries and deaths by 2030. The county saw seven deaths between 2018 and 2020, and — depending on the exact location on the D.C./Arlington dividing line — one death in 2021. So what can Arlington and its 26 square miles (population ~237k) learn from the “mile-square city” (population ~53k)?
Hoboken transportation planner Gregory Francese credits the city’s success to Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s top-down, interdepartmental approach that involves residents. He says Hoboken regularly tackles challenging roads with temporary fixes that are made permanent later.
But the city wasn’t always pedestrian-friendly, he said. Cars could park up to crosswalks, which were faded, and intersections were in poor condition.
Those conditions began to change through repavement projects under the last mayor, and the work accelerated under Mayor Ravinder Bhalla when he established a Vision Zero task force, made of department leaders and residents.
“A big part of Vision Zero is removing the silos between transportation, enforcement [and other departments],” Francese said. “It takes someone who can remove those silos to unite people around Vision Zero.”
Planners test out quick, cheap and temporary solutions to find creative solutions to Hoboken’s main challenge: fitting safety improvements on narrow roads while balancing driving and parking needs. He said this approach translates well to bigger cities.
Like Hoboken, Arlington’s Vision Zero initiative has improved county government-wide cooperation, project manager Christine Baker said.
“The Vision Zero program has truly allowed County staff to place a spotlight on safety for all transportation-related projects and programs,” said Baker. “Our staff are coordinating interdepartmentally in a way that we have not in the past, which has streamlined the ability to get safety improvements on the ground.”
County staff map crash locations and respond with quick-build or capital improvement projects and pilot programs. The Arlington County Board, meanwhile, is setting policy. It has voted to further limit speeds and install speed cameras around schools and road construction areas, as a change in state law recently allowed.
Local transit and safety advocates say the county is on the right track but can still take notes from Hoboken.
Bicycling enthusiast Gillian Burgess picked up on Bhalla’s top-down approach. She also said Hoboken has more concrete actions and deadlines that are easier for the public to find and read, and the city’s emphasis on encouraging drivers to be more careful is front and center.
“When you have good leadership and concrete plans, you get something done,” she said. “We need the County Manager and the County Manager’s office and leadership at the Department of Environmental Services to take more ownership.”