Favola Weighs in on Country Club Tax Bill — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) said in an op-ed that Gov. Ralph Northam should veto a bill lowering the taxes of Arlington country clubs. She added: “If the country clubs are really interested in preserving open space, Virginia has a successful land preservation tax-credit program. It gives financial incentives to landowners who agree to keep their open space undeveloped, in perpetuity, while ensuring that the space is maintained for everyone’s benefit.” [Washington Post]
Fatal Motorcycle Crash Near Fairlington — A 34-year-old Haymarket man died after he crashed his motorcycle on King Street near Fairlington early Friday morning. Residents said on a local online group that a large group of motorcyclists was riding down King Street at the time of the crash. [Patch, WTOP]
New Ballston Restaurant Serving Nepalese Dishes — Urban Tandoor, which opened last week in Ballston, is serving Tibetan dumplings — or momos — in addition to the traditional Indian fare that makes up most of the menu. [Eater]
Dance Party on Streets of Clarendon — An impromptu group song and dance performance broke out on a Clarendon sidewalk after last call early Saturday morning. [Twitter]
Another Successful E-CARE — Arlington’s E-CARE recycling and disposal event over the weekend collected 83,208 pounds of “household hazards” over the weekend. [Twitter]
Hundreds Give Blood in Ballston — “Hundreds lined up at the Washington Capitals practice facility to donate blood for Inova Blood Donor Services. The drive, held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, was one of several sports-themed drives that Inova holds every year, teaming up with local sports teams to promote blood donation in a fun way.” [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Stephon Williams, 24, pleaded “nolo contendre” to a charge of felony eluding in Arlington County Circuit Court today, meaning he accepted a conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered but did not contest the charge.
Williams received a sentence of four years, with all but 105 days suspended for three years after his release, meaning he has served his time but this sentence will be taken into account if he offends again. He will also be on supervised probation for three years.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos said in exchange for his “nolo contendre” plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charge of wearing a mask in public.
According to a statement of facts submitted by prosecutors, a group of between 25 and 50 drove on Arlington Blvd and Washington Blvd, near the Pentagon and Pentagon City, then on U.S. Route 1 south into Alexandria on April 9 around 7 p.m.
An officer from the Arlington County Police Department watched the group run through 10 red lights, fail to stop at two stop signs, cross solid double yellow lines multiple times and perform “numerous wheelies.”
Prosecutors said Williams filmed police on his phone as he was riding, but dropped his phone. An officer stopped his police cruiser and retrieved it. Williams was also wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, as he was being monitored by D.C.’s Pretrial Services for an unrelated offense.
A search warrant on the phone, GPS records and cell tower records confirmed Williams travelled the route taken by the group of riders.
A crash involving a motorcyclist sent one person to the hospital and closed lanes on Glebe Road this morning.
The crash happened around 10 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Glebe near an on-ramp to Route 50. Initial reports suggest a driver in a silver Mercedes-Benz struck the motorcycle, sending its rider tumbling onto the street.
The rider reportedly suffered only minor injuries and was transported via ambulance to the hospital.
An Arlington County Fire Department hazmat crew witnessed the crash and was the first to call it in to dispatchers, according to scanner traffic.
The southbound lanes of Glebe were blocked immediately following the crash. As of 10:55 a.m. one lane remains blocked as the motorcycle is loaded onto a flatbed tow truck.
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) July 24, 2017
A D.C. man is facing charges for being in a group that rode dozens of dirt bikes and ATVs through Arlington in April.
The Arlington County Police Department announced the arrest Tuesday afternoon.
Stephon Williams, 24, has been charged with felony eluding, concealing identity while wearing a mask, reckless driving and operating an ATV on the highway. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility without bond.
Williams was allegedly part of a group of about 75 riders that on April 9 around 7 p.m. drove on Arlington Blvd, then to U.S. Route 1 south into Alexandria. It was one of two such incidents of the riders descending on the county that weekend; another incident was reported last month.
An Arlington County police officer monitored the group in Courthouse on his in-car camera, and detectives were able to put together a description of a suspect. Williams was arrested in D.C. and waived extradition to the Commonwealth.
More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect for his involvement in an April 9, 2017 incident of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) being operated in Arlington County. Stephon Williams, 24, of Washington D.C. has been charged with felony eluding, concealing identity while wearing a mask, reckless driving, and operating an ATV on the highway. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.
On April 9, 2017 at approximately 7:14 p.m. an officer conducting a traffic stop in the 1200 block of N. Courthouse Road observed a large group of dirt bikes and ATVs traveling westbound on Arlington Boulevard. The officer activated his in-car camera system and monitored the group before they exited Arlington County.
After reviewing evidence from the scene, detectives from Arlington County Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit developed a suspect description. The suspect was arrested in Washington D.C. and waived extradition to the Commonwealth.
Dirt bikes and ATVs pose a danger to pedestrians and other motorists and are illegal to operate on area roadways. If you see or know the identity of someone riding a dirt bike or ATV recklessly in Arlington County, call police at 703-558-2222. In the case of an emergency, call 9-1-1. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
The convoy of “Sunday Fun Day” riders rumbled down Route 1 around 8 p.m., stopping at a nearby gas station, according to the Arlington County Police Department. Police responded to the scene but no arrests were made.
“At approximately 8:09 p.m. on June 25, the Emergency Communication Center received reports that approximately 30-40 dirt bikes and ATVs were at the gas station located in the 2300 block of Jefferson Davis Highway,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Officers were dispatched to the area but the group exited Arlington County on Route 1 prior to police arrival.”
The riders also were spotted Sunday in various parts of D.C., including downtown. The Metropolitan Police Department has reportedly stepped up arrests in response to the repeated group rides, which police call “extremely dangerous to pedestrians and other motorists.”
This is at least the fourth reported large dirt bike and ATV ride through Arlington since 2015.
— Jack Acosta (@JackAcostaKENS5) June 25, 2017
100s of people on dirt bikes and 4wheelers just went down Jeff Davis….poppin wheelies… @ARLnowDOTcom
— Tiffany Harrison (@TiffAnn_89) June 26, 2017
Thousands of motorcycle riders are set to descend again on Arlington and D.C. for the annual Memorial Day weekend Rolling Thunder rally.
The bikers are scheduled to arrive next Friday, May 26, with many gathering around the event’s headquarters at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in the afternoon before a “Blessing of the Bikes” at the National Cathedral and a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
On Saturday the bikers will depart Crystal City around 10 a.m. and head to a free barbecue at a Harley-Davidson dealer in Fort Washington, Maryland. A wreath laying is also planned at the Navy Memorial in D.C. later that morning.
On Sunday, the group will gather en masse in the Pentagon parking lots before riding across the Memorial Bridge into D.C. for Rolling Thunder’s main event, which will include speakers and musical performances around the Reflecting Pool. Among those expected to perform is country artist Billy Ray Cyrus.
This is the 30th year of Rolling Thunder, which was founded to bring attention to plight of military service members missing or imprisoned during the Vietnam War.
From the group’s website: “[We] are united in the cause to bring full accountability for the Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action (POW/MIA) of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public by our watchwords: ‘We Will Not Forget.'”
A number of road closures are expected on Sunday to accommodate the bikers. Though the event has largely gone off without a hitch over the past few years, some Arlington residents have complained about the frequent rumble of motorcycles that one can hear around highways and some main roads throughout the weekend.
The first incident took place around midnight on Saturday. A witness reported in a tweet that more than a dozen riders drove the wrong way on the Key Bridge on their way into Arlington, and police followed.
The 15-20 motorbike/ATV riders have gone wrong way across Key Bridge into Arlington County now. ACPD following them.
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) April 9, 2017
Arlington County police say they were notified of the approaching group by Metropolitan Police around midnight Saturday. The riders traveled through Rosslyn onto westbound Route 50, worked their way south to Army Navy Drive, then turned back north on I-395 and re-entered the District at 12:12 a.m., according to ACPD.
The second incident happened around 7 p.m. on Sunday when an Arlington police officer patrolling the 1200 block of N. Courthouse Road spotted a group of about 75 dirt bikes and ATVs driving on Arlington Blvd. They traveled to Route 1 and south into Alexandria.
Police say that during both occurrences they monitored the group of riders and maintained a rolling roadblock to keep pedestrians and motorists safe.
State law prohibits the operation of ATVs on public highways. An ACPD spokesperson says the drivers in question operate the vehicles without considering the care and safety of others; they have been seen locally traveling at high rates of speed, veering into oncoming traffic and driving on sidewalks. Police are investigating the incidents to identify those involved.
Several law enforcement authorities in the region report that they’re aggressively working together on a solution. Last April, they held a joint press conference regarding ATV operation on area roadways. Metropolitan Police offer a reward of $250 for information leading to the identification of suspects in these incidents.
Anyone who sees ATVs operating in Arlington County — or who knows the identity of someone riding the vehicles on county roads — is encouraged to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222. Information can also be provided anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.
File screen shot via PoPville
A wild police chase that started on I-66 has ended in Arlington.
Virginia State Police were chasing two motorcyclists who refused to stop after one was reportedly involved in a crash on the highway, according to scanner traffic.
The pursuit continued into Arlington and the motorcyclists took the Glebe Road exit into Ballston. With a Fairfax County Police helicopter overhead tracking their movement, the bikers briefly stopped in Ballston and then made their way north, past the area of Washington-Lee High School and onto Lee Highway, according to police radio traffic.
One of the suspects was reportedly taken into custody after he damaged his motorcycle and tried to flee on foot into the woods at the intersection of Spout Run Parkway and Lorcom Lane.
The other continued to flee down residential streets, allegedly driving onto front lawns and zooming past pedestrians. By apparent coincidence, the motorcyclist rode right by where the first suspect was arrested, and was himself then stopped and taken into custody on Spout Run Parkway
Police temporarily closed portions of the parkway to traffic during the incident.
Virginia State Police pursued the suspects through the county; per Arlington County Police policy against chasing suspects for minor crimes, ACPD units were instructed not to pursue.
Initial reports suggest a motorcycle and a car collided near the entrance to Army Navy Country Club around 5:15 p.m.
One person was evaluated for a possible back injury, according to scanner traffic.
The incident happened just after noon, a block from the Fashion Centre mall.
Police say the suspect, 34-year-old Michael Black, inexplicably claimed to be a volunteer firefighter after being stopped by officers, even going so far as to flash a fake badge.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
GRAND LARCENY OF AUTO (Significant), 160829019, 1700 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 12:15 p.m. on August 29, officers responded to the report of a suspicious person moving a motorcycle. The subject fled the scene prior to police arrival. A lookout was broadcast and a subject matching the victim’s description was located in the immediate area. Michael Delonte Black, 34, of Oxon Hill MD, was arrested and charged with grand larceny of auto, possession of burglarious tools, impersonating a firefighter, and destruction of property.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
The final America’s 9/11 Ride will be rumbling through Arlington on Friday, and VDOT is warning commuters to expect delays.
A number of major routes will be closed while some 1,500 bikers ride to the area of the Pentagon. In Arlington, the ride will be making its way down I-66 and Route 110, just in time for the evening rush hour.
“Expect delays and heavy local traffic,” VDOT says. The agency issued the following press release.
On Friday, Aug. 19 from 2 – 6 p.m., motorists can expect road closures and delays of up to 90 minutes while 1,500 motorcycles and support vehicles travel from the Maryland/Virginia line in Loudoun County to the Pentagon as part of the America’s 9/11 Ride. State and local police will escort the riders.
The route is as follows:
- Route 15 south to Leesburg;
- Route 7 bypass;
- Dulles Greenway;
- Dulles Toll Road (ramp closures from Route 28 onto eastbound Dulles Toll Road);
- Dulles Connector Road;
- I-66 (ramp closures from I-495, Sycamore Street, N Glebe Road, Lee Highway, and N Lynn Street);
- Route 110 to the Pentagon.
Drivers are advised to use alternate routes and expect heavier than normal traffic on local roads.
Overhead message signs will alert motorists to expect delays from noon to 6 p.m.
Next weekend, the America’s 9/11 Ride will rumble through Arlington one final time.
The motorcycle ride — with its rolling highway closures, dire traffic predictions and police escort — has not always won over locals, despite raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Sept. 11-related causes over the years.
The first leg of the ride travels from Shanksville, Pa. to Arlington, before continuing to its third and final 9/11 crash site in New York City.
As the Associated Press reports, the ride is ending after this year as a result of a clash between the event’s organizer and state governments, with each side pointing the finger at each other as to the reason for its demise.
Ted Sjurseth, the Virginia man who founded the ride, says Virginia and Maryland state government agencies have become uncooperative with his police escort requests and have insisted on unacceptable changes to the ride’s route. State officials, meanwhile, describe Sjurseth as, in the words of the AP, “a malcontent whose gripes are nothing new.”
A Maryland State Police spokesman added that “complaints are received every year” about the ride’s traffic impacts and that the agency does not have enough troopers to escort an uninterrupted procession more than a thousand bikers.
How do you feel about the 9/11 ride ending?
Update at 12 p.m. on 5/30 — The victim has been identified by state police as Craig A. Vanbrunt, 66, of Pendleton, Indiana. The crash remains under investigation.
Notes VSP: “The crash did NOT occur during the Rolling Thunder Ride. Mr. Vanbrunt was part of a group that had participated in the ride earlier in the day — but they had completed their participation and were headed out when the crash occurred.”
Earlier: A motorcyclist was killed Sunday afternoon in a crash on westbound I-66 near Rosslyn.
From Virginia State Police:
At 4:13 p.m. Sunday (May 29, 2016), Virginia State Police Trooper M.D. Hart responded to a single-vehicle crash in Arlington County. The crash occurred in the westbound lanes of I-66 at the 74 mile marker.
A group of motorcycles were traveling in the westbound lanes of I-66 when they came upon stopped traffic approaching the Rosslyn Tunnel. One of the motorcycles was unable to brake in time and lost control. The motorcycle crashed and its rider, who was wearing a helmet, fell from the bike.
The adult, male motorcyclist was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died later Sunday evening.
State police are still in the process of notifying his next of kin.
The crash remains under investigation.
PoPville posted a video of the riders in the District’s NoMa neighborhood around 5 p.m. yesterday. It’s illegal to ride ATVs and dirt bikes on public streets in D.C. Adding to the lawlessness, the riders travel in large groups, producing a deafening roar of engines, and sometimes intentionally run red lights and block traffic.
In the PoPville comments, readers said they saw similar groups of riders crossing the Key Bridge and riding past Pentagon Row, in Pentagon City, last night.
An ARLnow reader said he saw 5-10 ATV and motorcycle riders in the area of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street, near the Rosslyn Gold’s Gym.
“Most of them appeared to be ATVs; several were driving without any lights,” said David Mitchell. “I observed them driving in circles in the streets, in and out of nearby apartment parking lots, and on and off the sidewalks.”
“At one point, the motorcyclists moved in and out of cars driving south on N. Nash and interfered with traffic to the point that motorists had to stop and wait for their departure,” Mitchell continued. “Frankly, it felt like a scene from the ‘The Wild One’ with Marlon Brando. I called 911 to report this activity and was told they had already received multiple calls and that officers had been dispatched. The motorcyclist left the area not too long after I made my call to 911.”
“It it did not feel good to know that these motorcyclists might be allowed to escape unpunished,” Mitchell said.
Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck confirmed that the department received reports of ATVs and dirt bikes in the Rosslyn and Key Bridge areas last night. No traffic stops or arrests were made by Arlington officers.
In addition, ACPD received a report of a dirt bike rider who skidded into a light pole and utility box on the 2100 block of Washington Blvd, near Route 50. A Fort Myer firefighter who witnessed the crash told police that an ATV rider picked up the injured dirt bike rider and together they fled the scene.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, Sternbeck said.
Screen shot via PoPville
Motorcycle Ride Arrives This Afternoon — The annual America’s 9/11 Ride will arrive in Arlington around 3 p.m. today. The ride is escorted by police and features hundreds of motorcyclists. The bikers are arriving at the DoubleTree Crystal City hotel and touring the Pentagon this afternoon, before departing for New York City at 7 a.m. tomorrow.
Arlington > D.C. in Home Prices — The median home sale price in Arlington is now more than $100,000 higher than in the District of Columbia. A year ago, the median sale price in Arlington was $490,500, compared to $499,900 in D.C. [Washington Business Journal]
Preservation Board Delays Reevesland Action — The Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board has deferred consideration of changes to the Reevesland farmhouse until November. Arlington County is seeking to make a couple of changes to prepare the house for sale. [InsideNova]
Tablet Changes Coming — We’ve heard your feedback and are making some changed to the ARLnow experience for tablet users. Chief among those changes: full articles will now once again be displayed on the homepage if you own an iPad or other tablet. That change is expected to take place within a few days.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman