Press Club
Police response to a hit and run suspect on Columbia Pike on Dec. 29, 2021 (via Arlington County)

(Updated at 2 p.m.) An Alexandria man suspected in five separate hit-and-run crashes was tased by police in an incident that shut down Columbia Pike last week.

On the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 29, police were dispatched to the intersection of the Pike and S. Greenbrier Street for a report of a crash. They encountered a man in a damaged vehicle who refused to come out.

Even as more officers arrived, the man just sat in the vehicle, at some point reaching for something under the seat, according to scanner traffic at the time. Police, fearing that the man might have a weapon, requested bulletproof shields, while additional units rushed to the scene.

Eventually, officers used a Taser to subdue the man and take him into custody. Columbia Pike was blocked during the evening rush hour incident.

A subsequent investigation determined that the 34-year-old man had struck four vehicles in Arlington and one in Fairfax County before finally coming to a stop at the Pike and Greenbrier, according to police. He’s now facing multiple hit and run charges, as well as a charge of driving under the influence.

None of the hit-and-run victims were injured, police said.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.

HIT AND RUN (significant), 2021-12290153, Columbia Pike at S. Greenbrier Street. At approximately 4:39 p.m. on December 29, police were dispatched to the report of a hit and run just occurred. Based upon information from witnesses in the area, arriving officers located the suspect vehicle, which had sustained significant damage, and attempted to make contact with the suspect. The suspect ignored multiple lawful commands from officers to exit the vehicle. Officers then removed the vehicle’s driver side window and attempted to remove the suspect, however the suspect continued to ignore their commands and resist arrest. Officers deployed a TASER and the suspect was subsequently taken into custody without further incident. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that prior to officers arrival, the suspect allegedly struck four vehicles in Arlington County and was involved in an additional hit and run in Fairfax County. No injuries were reported by the victims and the suspect was treated on scene by medics before being transported to an area hospital to be medically evaluated. [The suspect], 34, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Felony Hit and Run (x2), Attempted Felony Hit and Run, Driving Under the Influence, and Obstruction of Justice. He was also served with outstanding warrants out of Fairfax County. He was held without bond.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Geese clean themselves in Boundary Channel (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Hotel Redevelopment Plan Paused — “The redevelopment of one of Arlington’s oldest hotels looks to be on hold indefinitely, as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic disrupt the hospitality-focused project. Grant Investment Properties is asking county planners for more time to complete its overhaul of Rosslyn’s old Best Western Iwo Jima, now known as the Red Lion Hotel Rosslyn Iwo Jima, at 1501 Arlington Boulevard. A site plan for the project projected that it would be finished by March 2022, but the Chicago-based firm filed papers last week to ask for an extension through March 2025.” [Washington Business Journal]

Proposed APS Changes Questioned — “Based on feedback from the Arlington School Board, the Arlington Public Schools system is focusing on what they call more equitable grading practices. The preliminary proposal calls for: No late penalties for homework… No extra credit… Unlimited redoes and retakes on assignment… No grading for homework.” [WJLA, Washington Post]

Hit and Run Crash in Bluemont — From yesterday afternoon: “Several lanes of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Dr are closed after a reported hit-and-run crash in the intersection. Police and Fire Dept. on scene.” [Twitter]

Video: Crash on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “Watch: Another left turn in the middle of an interstate ends badly. 1p, I-395S at Rt 1. Third one recorded at this spot in the last month.” [Twitter]

Toby’s May Be Expanding to Vienna — “Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream, which saw a boost in sales over the summer thanks to the debut of its cicada sundaes, appears to be branching out. The Arlington-based shop, located along a Washington Boulevard in the Westover neighborhood, plans to open a new location at the Cedar Park Shopping Center in Vienna, according to Fairfax County permit data.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Fire and EMS Staffing Stretched — ” Fairfax County saw its largest-ever increase in coronavirus cases among fire and emergency medical responders this month, mirroring a surge in case rates compared to 2020. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department data shows that there are 53 positive cases and 14 in quarantine, all staying at home to curb the spread of COVID-19.” [FFXnow, DCist, Twitter]

Crash and Arrest Block the Pike — Columbia Pike was blocked at S. Greenbrier Street yesterday evening after a crash in which one of the drivers reportedly refused police commands to exit the vehicle and was later tased. [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — There will be drizzle and possible fog before 2 p.m. on an otherwise cloudy day, with a high near 55. Sunrise at 7:26 a.m. and sunset at 4:54 p.m. Tomorrow, on New Year’s Eve, expect mild weather, with cloudy skies, a high near 60 and a low around 51. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

A Falls Church woman is facing numerous charges after police say she fled from officers after a hit-and-run crash — all while a child was in her car.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, in the Green Valley area. It started with a crash on S. Glebe Road, just north of the I-395 interchange, and ended with a second crash less than a mile away.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

At approximately 1:25 p.m. on December 25, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injury. As officers arrived on scene, one of the vehicles involved in the initial crash fled the scene. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, however, the suspect disregarded and continued driving at a high rate of speed in the area. Officers did not pursue the vehicle and followed at a distance. Officers observed the suspect strike another vehicle at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive, causing extensive damage, then come to a stop on Walter Reed Drive. The suspect exited the vehicle and was subsequently taken into custody by arriving officers without further incident. […] [The suspect], 25, of Falls Church, Va., was arrested and charged with Hit and Run – Attended Property: Injury/Damage >$1000 (x2), Eluding, and Abuse & Neglect of a Child, and issued summons for Improper Registration and No Insurance. She was held on a secured bond.

ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark said there was a child in the 25-year-old woman’s car at the time of the crashes, leading to the child abuse charge.

Only one minor injury was reported in the Christmas crashes.

“The driver of the second vehicle involved in the first crash sustained minor injuries and was evaluated on scene by medics,” Clark said. “No injuries were reported in the second crash.”

0 Comments
Emergency response (seen near the top of the screen) to kid struck by driver along Langston Blvd

Arlington County police are investigating a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a kid who was riding a bike.

The crash happened around 8 a.m. at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Langston Blvd, formerly known as Lee Highway.

“The driver of the striking vehicle fled the scene following the crash and responding officers located the unoccupied vehicle on Lee Highway,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The bicyclist, a juvenile, was transported to an area hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.”

The crash and the emergency response shut down multiple lanes at the intersection for about an hour during the rainy morning rush hour.

Police are continuing to search for the driver.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said Savage.

0 Comments

The former Uber driver who allegedly struck Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill last year entered a plea agreement on July 23.

Gigssa Bekele Bengessa pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a parking lot and to a felony hit and run. He will face some jail time and three years of probation.

In January 2020, Bengessa attempted to drive out of the towing lot in Ballston as O’Neill was closing the gate, according to a police report from the time. Bengessa struck him, a dumpster and light pole.

Per the plea agreement, provided to ARLnow, he will be sentenced to jail for a net of 10 days — 90 days, with 80 days suspended. During the time of his suspended sentence, he will be supervised. His driver’s license will be suspended for six months.

Provided that Bengessa meets all the court’s prescriptions over the next three years, he will be able to have the felony charge knocked down to a misdemeanor, the agreement said.

Bengessa has three years to pay court costs as well as $5,516.35, plus interest, to O’Neill for restitution.

He is being required to “follow all treatment recommendations made” after a psychologist’s evaluation from March 2020, according to the plea deal, and will “undergo any further mental health evaluations deemed appropriate” by his probation officer.

Further, Bengessa will be “prohibited from driving or operating any and all rideshare vehicles, including but not limited to: Uber, Lyft, taxi service, or any vehicle for hire,” the plea deal said.

The agreement comes as the Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, is preparing to go to trial in a lawsuit against Advanced Towing. The suit was filed in June 2020 and a trial date is scheduled for Oct. 6 of this year.

Herring’s complaint alleges that Advanced Towing has violated state and county towing code provisions, resulting in towing conduct that is “frequently predatory, aggressive, overreaching and illegal.”

“Virginia consumers should not have to worry about towing companies acting illegally or employing predatory, unsafe business practices,” Herring said in a statement last year. “My team and I will continue to hold towing companies and bad actors accountable when they break the law and take advantage of consumers.”

This is not the first time such an accusation has been leveled against the company. Advanced, which tows cars that are considered to be trespassing on private lots and then charges the vehicle’s owner a fee, faces frequent accusations of “predatory” towing.

The company gained national notoriety in 2015 after video emerged of an ESPN reporter, whose car was towed, berating an Advanced employee.

0 Comments

A Virginia State Police trooper was seriously injured after a driver plowed into the back of her cruiser on I-66 in Arlington.

The crash happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday, on eastbound I-66 near East Falls Church and the Sycamore Street exit, in a work zone.

“A 2014 Volkswagen traveling east on I-66 through a mobile Work Zone changed lanes and crashed into the rear of a Virginia State Police patrol car,” VSP said in a press release. “Both the female driver and the male passenger fled the scene on foot.”

Arlington County police assisted VSP in apprehending the passenger, who’s being charged with being drunk in public and obstructing justice. The driver remains at large.

VSP said the trooper was seriously injured but after a hospital stay she is now at home recovering.

Late last year six highway workers were injured after being struck by an alleged DUI driver along I-66 in Arlington. In June a man was struck and killed while reportedly walking in an eastbound lane of I-66 after midnight.

More from a press release:

Virginia State Police is reminding motorists to make safety a priority when traveling through active Highway Work Zones after a trooper was struck in Northern Virginia Friday night (Nov. 6). Trooper M. Hart was seated inside her patrol car when it was struck. Trooper Hart was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. She was released later Saturday morning and is recovering at home.

At approximately 11:27 p.m. Friday, a 2014 Volkswagen traveling east on I-66 through a mobile Work Zone changed lanes and crashed into the rear of a Virginia State Police patrol car. The crash occurred just prior to Exit 69 in Arlington County. Both the female driver and the male passenger fled the scene on foot.

With the assistance of Arlington County Police, state police located and apprehended the passenger, Christopher G. Rush, 37, of Woodbridge, Va. Rush refused to assist state police with identifying the driver. Rush was arrested for being drunk in public and obstruction of justice. He was transported to Arlington County Detention Center.

The female driver was not located and state police is still investigating to identify her. The crash remains under investigation.

0 Comments

(Updated at 12:30 p.m. on 10/30/20) A juvenile suspect is facing a number of potential charges after a reported hit-and-run crash on Columbia Pike overnight.

The crash happened just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday, at the intersection of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that after the suspect vehicle struck the victim’s vehicle, approximately 5-6 juveniles exited the vehicle and fled on foot,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Arriving officers located the subjects in the area and identified the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash.”

“The two occupants of the victim vehicle sustained minor injuries,” the crime report continues. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect vehicle had previously been stolen from Fairfax County earlier in the evening.”

ACPD says the suspect was also “found to be in possession of a controlled substance” and is now facing petitions for Hit and Run, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle with Intent to Procure or Pass Title.

Separately, on Wednesday evening, S. Carlin Springs Road was blocked near Campbell Elementary School due to an incident involving Virginia State Police. Witnesses report seeing police with guns drawn.

https://twitter.com/cdemers80/status/1321582460237471744

The Arlington County Police Department said officers assisted state police with a suspect search, but referred additional questions to VSP. On Friday, state police provided additional information about the incident — which turns out to be the conclusion of a vehicle pursuit that started on I-395 — to ARLnow:

At 4:57 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2020, a Virginia State Police trooper observed a 2007 Honda Civic traveling on I-395 abruptly slow to 35 mph (55 mph posted speed limit). The trooper pulled in behind to see if the vehicle was experiencing a problem or the driver needed assistance. The vehicle took the Shirlington Exit and kept going well under the speed. The trooper also observed that the temporary license plate tag was unsecured and initiated a traffic stop. The vehicle pulled off the right shoulder on North Quaker Street. But, as the trooper walked up to the vehicle to talk to the driver, the Honda pulled away at a high rate of speed and a pursuit was initiated. The Honda finally stopped in the 600 block of Carlin Springs Road and one of the passengers fled the vehicle on foot.

The driver, Prince Jakim I. Maldonado, 21, of Woodbridge, Va., was taken into custody without incident at the scene.  The passenger, Joshean D. Stokes, 20, of Dumfries, Va., was taken into custody without incident at the scene. Both Maldonado and Stokes were charged for felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, felony possession of Schedule I/II controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm while in possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance, along with several misdemeanor charges. Maldonado was also wanted out on outstanding warrants in Prince William County. Both were transported to Arlington County Jail.

During the course of the short pursuit, the trooper witnessed objects being thrown from the window of the Honda. The trooper returned to that location and recovered a handgun and ammunition.

The search continues to locate the second passenger who fled on foot and left his wallet and ID behind in the vehicle.

0 Comments

(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) A teenage boy was struck by a speeding driver this morning on a residential street in Ashton Heights, near Virginia Square.

The hit-and-run happened just before 11:45 a.m. on the 600 block of N. Kenmore Street and was caught on a neighbor’s home surveillance video system. Miraculously, the teen escaped with only minor injuries.

The video, provided to ARLnow by the victim’s mother in the hopes of helping to identify the driver, starts with the sound of squealing tires. A four-door Chevy sedan can then be seen speeding down the street, followed by the 17-year-old victim tumbling down the roadway after being struck.

The teen was crossing the street when he was struck, according to his mother. The driver did not stop and fled the scene.

The boy — a Washington-Liberty High School student — suffered lacerations and road rash and “is in a lot of pain,” but was not seriously injured, we’re told. He was unable to spot the license plate number.

An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman echoed the mother’s account of what happened and said the crash is under investigation.

“The driver of the striking vehicle failed to stop at the scene of the crash and fled traveling south on Kenmore Street,” said Ashley Savage. “The pedestrian was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. The striking vehicle is described as a white sedan. The investigation is ongoing.”

The incident comes a day after a woman was struck and killed by a driver while crossing the street in Pentagon City.

Anyone with information about the incident can call the Arlington County non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 or can provide an anonymous tip to the police department by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

0 Comments

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A teenager was allegedly behind the wheel of a car that struck a 10-year-old girl and killed her dog in Arlington’s Donaldson Run neighborhood.

Police confirmed this morning that “the suspected driver has been located.”

Photos sent to ARLnow on Monday show police behind a black Chrysler 200 sedan, with temporary Virginia tags, matching the description of the vehicle involved in the Friday afternoon crash. The photo was taken near Yorktown High School, at the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and Little Falls Road.

“The investigation is ongoing and charges are anticipated at a later date,” Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “In accordance with Virginia law, the suspect’s identity is not releasable due to age.”

Video sent to us by the victim’s family (below) shows the car quickly driving up N. Upshur Street around the time of the incident. The victim’s mother posted publicly on Facebook about how “our world was split open” as a result of the crash.

“Some reckless and selfish person in a black sedan racing down a quiet Donaldson Run residential street hit my 10-yr old daughter and our puppy at the corner of N. Upshur St. and N. Vermont St.,” she posted on Friday. “She did what she always does. Look left and right conscientiously.”

“The car hit our little Peanut leaving him in a pool of blood while she was luckily able to leap out of the way,” the mother continued. “In that moment, he could’ve ripped apart our world even further and killed her. It’s gut-wrenching enough that the sweetest puppy we’ve ever had was simply murdered. Gone in an instant. The driver didn’t blink an eye. Didn’t stop.”

Though the girl’s injuries were considered minor at the time, she was subsequently hospitalized over the weekend after an onset of lower body pain, ARLnow has learned.

Photos courtesy anonymous

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Dorsey on Death of George Floyd — Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey posted the following on Facebook Sunday afternoon: “Why is it when we are bird watching, retrieving mail, swimming in a pool, walking down the street, or living in our own homes that you view us as a threat? Why do these routine activities see us being reported to police and losing our lives? It is a question my daughters ask, as do the children of every black person in America. Yet that question needs to be seriously be pondered non-Blacks. We then need you to transform episodic outrage into all-the-time anti-racism.” [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Apple Store Boarded Up in Clarendon — Workers placed plywood over the entrance to the Apple Store in Clarendon Sunday, as a precaution, after the weekend’s clashes in D.C. [Twitter]

House Fire in Hall’s Hill — “1800 block of N. Cameron St — crews encountered fire in attic. Fire was quickly controlled, 6 occupants escaped without injury and one dog was rescued in good condition. @RedCross called in to assist occupants.” [Twitter]

County Creates Badges for Mask-Requiring Businesses — “In response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order that face coverings must be worn inside public places, the County created the ‘We Are Covered’ program. This gives Arlington businesses, multi-family residences, and houses of worship a way to show they have pledged to protect the people who come through their doors.” [Arlington County]

Tables, Tents in CC Sports Pub Parking Lot — “With outdoor seating now permitted as part of Phase One, Finlay and his staff worked to turn the restaurant’s parking lot into a patio. Outdoor tables are all set up six feet apart. ‘We’re lucky and blessed to have a parking lot that’s big enough to accommodate that type of spacing and still have the social distancing and be able to abide by all the rules and regulations we have to go by,’ he said.” [WJLA]

ACPD Releases Photo of Car That Struck Girl, Dog — On Sunday, Arlington County Police released photos of the dark-colored sedan that struck a girl and killed her dog Friday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood. ARLnow also obtained video of the car. [ARLnow]

Bayou Bakery Donates Thousands of Meals — “Back in 2005, [Bayou Bakery owner David] Guas saw first hand how Hurricane Katrina impacted his hometown and the importance of rapid response in rebuilding the community. In March 2020, when COVID-19 closed school doors, he knew he needed to provide the same fast-acting relief to area children and families left underserved.” [Washington Life]

Discussion with AED’s Telly Tucker — “We talked with Telly Tucker, the new head of Arlington Economic Development, about Friday’s reopening, what’s going on with the local economy, the plight of small businesses during the pandemic, and the growth of tech companies in Northern Virginia.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]

0 Comments

(Updated on 5/31/20) Arlington County Police are investigating an apparent hit and run that claimed the life of a dog Friday.

Around 1:45 p.m. police were dispatched to the area of N. Upshur Street and N. Vermont Street, in the Donaldson Run neighborhood, for a report of a girl and a dog struck by a driver.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that the juvenile victim was crossing the street while walking her dog when they were struck by a vehicle,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The juvenile suffered minor injuries and did not require transport to the hospital. The dog died on scene.”

The deceased dog was covered in a white sheet, in the middle of the intersection, while police documented the scene and interviewed the girl, her father, and witnesses.

The driver kept going after the crash and is currently being sought by police, Savage said.

The father of the girl who was struck emailed ARLnow to share the description of the vehicle and ask for the public’s help in locating it and identifying the occupants.

“The car was a black sedan possibly with a green pinstripe, with a male driver and a female passenger, both in their 20s,” he wrote. “It had temporary tags and was in the neighborhood between 1:15 and 2 p.m. We are asking that if you live in Donaldson Run and know of anyone who drives a car with that description to contact the police.”

A video of the car, as seen on a Ring doorbell camera, was sent to ARLnow.

On Sunday, ACPD released several photos of the car via social media.

Map via Google Maps. Photo (4) via Facebook.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list