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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) A man suffered injuries that are reported to be life-threatening after an on-the-job accident in the Old Glebe neighborhood.

Police and medics were dispatched to a large, under-construction home on the 4600 block of N. Dittmar Road around 1 p.m. Initial reports suggest a worker was carrying a ladder when it made contact with power lines, electrocuting him.

The man is being rushed to a local hospital by Arlington County Fire Department medics.

Police are now investigating the accident. A Dominion power crew is also being requested to the scene.

Arlington police are investigating more gunfire on the same block near Drew Elementary as another shots fired incident this past weekend.

The shots were fired around 12:30 a.m. this morning, on the 3200 block of 24th Street S., police say. Officers responded to the area and found evidence of gunfire but no one who was shot.

“Responding officers canvassed the area and recovered evidence confirming shots had been fired,” said ACPD. “At this time, no injuries or property damage have been reported.”

A shots fired call on the same block Saturday night also didn’t immediately turn up any victims — but eventually police found someone with a gunshot wound. An arrest in that shooting was made Tuesday and announced yesterday.

The Green Valley neighborhood saw two reported incidents of shots being fired over the summer, including one that took place in the Drew Elementary parking lot.

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding this morning’s shooter.

“Anyone with information or home surveillance that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” said the police department. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

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An early morning, single-vehicle crash along Route 50 led to the driver being struck by an oncoming vehicle.

The crash and a subsequent police investigation closed eastbound Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) at the Glebe Road overpass for several hours. The victim suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive, police say.

“At approximately 4:23 a.m. on September 3, police were dispatched to the area of Arlington Boulevard and South Glebe Road for the report of a crash with injury,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Kirby Clark tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was driving eastbound on Arlington Boulevard when they struck the overpass wall on the right shoulder. The victim then pulled over in the left lane along the median, exited their vehicle and was in the roadway when they were struck by an oncoming vehicle.”

“The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries,” Clark continued. “The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. Eastbound Arlington Boulevard was closed from Glebe Road to N. Jackson Street while the crash investigation took place.”

The highway reopened shortly before 7 a.m.

Flickr photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) A bicyclist has suffered potentially life-threatening injuries after a crash 2-3 blocks from Yorktown High School.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. on the 2700 block of N. George Mason Drive, just south of Yorktown Blvd. Initial reports suggest the front wheel of the bike somehow came off and the cyclist flipped over the handlebars, suffering a possible head injury.

The detached wheel could be seen next to the bike, which appeared to have a motor that powered it. A pool of blood was nearby, in the middle of the bike lane.

The cyclist was rushed to a local trauma center for treatment. So far there are no reports of any vehicles being involved in the crash.

“ACFD arrived on the scene of a single-bicycle crash in the 2700 block of N. George Mason Drive,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “The bicyclist was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. Police were dispatched to the area and remain on scene investigating the crash.”

Drivers should expect the northbound lanes of N. George Mason Drive to remain closed while police document the scene and investigate the crash.

Arlington PTA budgets for the 2018-19 school year, by region (by Hannah Foley)

Parent-Teacher Associations are how students get new spirit wear or go ice skating with their class. They host staff luncheons during Teacher Appreciation Week and help to pay for classroom supplies.

These independent organizations play a pivotal role in the kinds of enrichment opportunities to which students, primarily elementary schoolers, and teachers in Arlington Public Schools have access.

And a PTA’s ability — or lack thereof — to pay for these activities varies dramatically by zip code. Some PTA leaders tell ARLnow that they know the money their organizations raise can exacerbate existing inequities among Arlington’s schools, and are trying to raise awareness and effect change.

“We already have schools that are unequal and on top of that — like really thick icing on a cake — it’s making disparities bigger,” said Emily Vincent, a member of the Arlington County Council of PTAs.

ARLnow requested and obtained copies of the 2018-19 budgets from a sampling of elementary school PTAs in northern, central and southern portions of Arlington. Individual PTA revenues ranged from $30,000 in South Arlington to more than $125,000 in North Arlington. PTA expenditures ranged from $18,000 to $139,000, a nearly eight-fold differential

While t-shirts and luncheons form the bread-and-butter of PTA expenses, other common expenditures improve the school through new furniture and books, or add to the curriculum with outdoor education and field trips.

Many PTAs did not respond to our requests for comment or for a copy of the budget.

Vincent said she saw similar discrepancies in the 2017-18 school year budgets she collected. PTA revenue at individual schools ranged from $20,000 to $200,000, and as a whole, Arlington PTAs spent $2 million. About 75% of that spending happened north of Route 50, she said.

(Northern Arlington neighborhoods are generally more affluent than those south of Route 50, which have higher poverty rates and lower household income levels.)

The Arlington County Council of PTAs is trying to tackle these entrenched discrepancies among its chapters. For about six years, the council has operated a grant fund: PTAs donate to the program and those who need extra funding apply for a grant. A 2019 report on the fund said most recipient schools use the money to pay for books, furniture and field trips.

But the grant fund can only go so far, especially because the requests are outpacing donations, Vincent said. Establishing a new policy could help address systemic inequities, particularly around PTA purchases that — if they were borne by APS — would result in a fairer distribution of resources, she said.

“We’re hoping for a culture shift,” Vincent said. “I do think a lot more of our PTA leaders understand that their decisions are not limited to their school.”

No school is an island

Over the last decade, outgoing Tuckahoe Elementary School PTA president Allison Glatfelter said APS has transitioned from a federation of schools that operated quasi-independently to a united school system. That transition, she said, revealed the extent to which some PTA budgets support school operations.

It was common for schools to improve their grounds through PTA funding without going through APS, she said. Budgets indicate that some associations have laid down track, installed sun shades or repaved their courtyards. Tuckahoe’s PTA once paid for a pond that the parent organization continues to maintain, she said.

Nowadays, she said wealthier PTAs spend money “on things that are hard to see.”

The budgets ARLnow reviewed indicated large expenses such as teacher training or, in the case of Jamestown Elementary in the 2015-16 school year, a dedicated horticulturalist.

PTAs get funding from donations and membership dues, but the bulk comes from fundraisers: from “no frills” fundraisers to auctions to restaurant nights in which a local eatery donates a percentage of sales.

According to the budgets that ARLnow obtained, the wealthier PTAs in north and central Arlington set aside tens of thousands of dollars for educational opportunities and capital improvements. Not all of that money gets spent, meaning the same schools have reserves exceeding $100,000.

Tuckahoe, for its part, is trying to change its relationship to fundraising and maintaining reserves, Glatfelter said.

“We definitely pared down fundraising. We don’t need the extra things that we were spending money on. Our kids don’t need extra field trips to places to which we can take them on weekends,” she said. “None of our schools should have giant budgets because we are an excellent school system with a lot of money.”

Vincent said she is not sure APS understands how much PTAs can contribute to school budgets. A policy that caps fundraising or redistributes donated furniture could equalize student experiences and ensure administrators keep tabs on school budgets that rely heavily on their PTA, she said.

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For the second month in a row, police are investigating early morning gunshots in the Green Valley neighborhood.

No one was hurt, but a resident found a bullet hole in her home’s door, according to the Arlington County Police Department. The gunshots were reported around 4:45 a.m. Sunday on the 3500 block of 22nd Street S.

Like the June 6 gunfire incident, the shots were apparently fired near Drew Elementary School.

“Responding officers made contact with the victim and observed that a glass door in her residence in the 3200 block of 24th Street S. was shattered and had a bullet hole in the glass,” said an ACPD press release this morning. “While searching the area, officers located an additional shattered window in a construction site across from the residence. No injuries have been reported.”

“There is no suspect(s) description at this time,” the press release continued. “This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information or home surveillance that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

A neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, told ARLnow that if the gunfire continues it’s only a matter of time until someone — either the intended shooting target or a sleeping local resident — is hurt.

“At approximately 4:43 this morning my husband and I woke up to the sound of several gunshots,” she recounted. “We immediately called 911 and saw police respond. ACPD called back around 5:15 and asked for someone to come out and speak to them. My husband walked down at that time and the police reported that bullets had gone through a bedroom window at the Shelton and a parked vehicle.”

In a home surveillance video reviewed by ARLnow, three shots can be heard in quick succession.

“We have seen stepped up police enforcement since the large shooting in June,” she added. “However, we are barely one month out since that time and we already have another incident. This morning’s shooting could have struck an innocent victim sleeping in their residence.”

The resident called for authorities “to take increasingly aggressive steps to deter further gun incidents.”

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A serious two-car crash Friday evening on Route 50 has claimed the life of an Arlington woman.

Police say the crash happened shortly after 5 p.m. at the intersection of Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) and N. Manchester Street. Two cars, each with two occupants, collided at the intersection, pinning a 63-year-old woman who was a passenger in one of the vehicles.

“Upon arrival, medics extricated a passenger from one of the involved vehicles and transported her to an area hospital in critical condition,” Arlington County police said in a press release Saturday afternoon. “She later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased. The driver of that vehicle was transported with non-life-threatening injuries and the passenger of the other vehicle was transported in critical but stable condition.”

“The deceased has been identified as Marilou Jocson, 63, of Arlington,” the press release said.

A nearby resident said people tried to help the woman before medics arrived.

“The person who died was a passenger in the vehicle with the passenger side door destroyed,” the resident said. “Neighbors rushed to her side immediately after the accident but she was unresponsive.”

He added that a local civic association has been pushing for safety improvements at Manchester and Route 50.

“We have struggled for years to get VDOT to do something about this treacherous intersection,” the resident said. “Thus far VDOT has no plans to improve the safety of this intersection.”

“People speed, run red lights, turn into traffic on a ‘flashing yellow,’ and generally do unsafe things at this intersection every day,” he continued. “Unless VDOT takes action (not Arlington County jurisdiction we were told) these tragedies will continue.”

ARLnow has previously reported on several notable crashes at the intersection, which received some safety improvements in 2018.

In 2011, an SUV ran off the road and crashed through an iron fence. In 2019 an 83-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed and, later that year, at least two people were hurt in a crash nearby.

The Arlington County Police Department is asking for anyone with information about Friday’s fatal crash to contact investigators.

“This 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,” ACPD said. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

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Arlington’s top prosecutor said she is working with Arlington County Police Department to establish a multi-agency cooperative effort to tackle the carjackings and vehicle tamperings here and in the D.C. area.

“My philosophy has always been to focus on crimes that are a public safety risk,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti tells ARLnow. “Car tamperings and car thefts, I don’t look at those as simple ‘property crimes’ because those are things that make people feel vulnerable and set people up for dangerous situations.”

Dehghani-Tafti, who was elected in 2019 on a platform of criminal justice reform, said she has been following the theft and tampering trend and looking for patterns. She said she has also been encouraging early and constant communication between her office and ACPD, while the two are working with other Northern Virginia and Maryland jurisdictions and some federal agencies.

This coordination may turn into something like a task force. Talks about one began in February, and she said officials will soon be able to announce some kind of organized intra-jurisdiction response.

“ACPD has been working on the task force, and I’ve been promoting the task force,” the prosecutor said.

Property crimes from 2016 to 2020 (via ACPD)

Motor vehicle thefts have risen steadily since 2018, according to ACPD’s newly released 2020 crime report.

Dehghani-Tafti said that is playing out across the river in D.C., which saw five times more carjackings in the first quarter of 2021 than the same period in 2020. Similar sprees are occurring in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Howard County, she said.

“We’re seeing this across the country, whether or not a reformer is in office or the county government is progressive or not,” she said.

And Dehghani-Tafti said she has reason to believe the car thefts are organized. A few weeks ago, she drove around with ACPD detectives to see what they see and maintain the collaboration she said is needed to tackle more organized crime sprees.

“The carjackings started to look [organized] when a few people were arrested in February and March and the instances went down dramatically in all the jurisdictions in the D.C. area,” she said.

Her office has one person whose job is to provide early assistance to ACPD and other agencies as they build carjacking and tampering cases. The sooner law enforcement agencies reach out, the sooner her office can support officers as they ask for search warrants, gather evidence and build cases.

Such a collaboration “adds value and context of a case” to investigations “so that we don’t take things that are serious insufficiently seriously and we don’t overreact to cases that are not within the organized pattern we are seeing,” she said.

“The criminal-legal system is a blunt tool, and what we’re trying to do is make it more surgical,” she said.

That approach does not mean she is “soft on crime,” she argued, but that she is going after the right people.

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A woman used a fraudulent cashier’s check to steal a vehicle from an Arlington resident who was offering it for sale, according to police.

A woman who identified herself as “Stacy James” showed up at a home with the fake check in hand earlier this month, ostensibly to buy a used vehicle that was listed on Facebook Marketplace, police say. Five days later, the victim was notified by her bank that the check was fraudulent.

Police are now asking for the public’s help in identifying the alleged fraudster, who was wearing sunglasses and a mask but who had distinctive piercings in one ear.

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division is investigating a larceny from false pretenses and is seeking the public’s assistance identifying the suspect captured in home surveillances images.

On June 11, the victim filed an online police report regarding a fraud. The investigation determined the victim was selling a used car on Facebook Marketplace when the suspect, who identified herself as ‘Stacy James,’ made contact with him. On June 5, the suspect arrived at the victim’s home, inspected the vehicle and provided the victim with what appeared to be a cashier’s check for the purchase. On June 10, the victim was notified by their bank that the check was fraudulent.

The suspect is described as a white female, approximately 5’2″ tall and weighing 155 lbs. She has long, red/purple hair and multiple piercings on her left ear.

Anyone with information related to this incident and/or the suspect’s identity is asked to contact Detective L. Bello at 703-228-4166 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Police are investigating blood found at a North Arlington park.

Crime scene tape was placed around Woodstock Park in Waverly Hills, a park and playground popular with children, this morning shortly after 8 a.m. One local resident described a “pool of blood” being found at the park.

So far, however, police haven’t determined where the blood came from.

“At approximately 8:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the 2000 block of N. Woodstock Street for the report of blood located in the park,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “At this time, no victims or crime have been determined. ACPD remains on scene investigating and will canvas the area for additional information related to the incident.”

The crime scene caused concern among neighbors, who took to social media to ask about what happened.

Map via Google Maps

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(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) A residential street in Ballston has been blocked off by police while Arlington’s bomb squad investigates “concerning materials” found in a home.

The discovery was made by police while executing a search warrant on N. Stuart Street between 11th Street N. and Washington Blvd. The raid happened in response to a suspect making violent threats against an individual, said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The suspect is in custody and residences immediately surrounding the house have been evacuated as a precaution, Savage said. The road closure is expected to remain in place for an extended period of time.

In addition to Arlington County police and firefighters, federal law enforcement could also be seen arriving on scene. Savage said ACPD requested the assistance of “federal partners” in the investigation.

The Arlington County Fire Department bomb squad truck arrived at the scene around 4:30 p.m. Later Tuesday night, the police department said that “evidence of bomb making materials were recovered” and that the street remained closed due to an “additional suspicious item” being found.

At 9:10 p.m., police said the all clear had been given and the road would reopen soon.

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