Motorcycle Crash Closes Columbia Pike — Columbia Pike was closed in both directions for just over two hours this morning while police investigated a serious accident. A motorcycle reportedly crashed into a minivan between S. Frederick and Dinwiddie street, near the Arlington Mill Community Center. The motorcycle rider was seriously hurt and two people in the van were also taken to the hospital. [WJLA, Twitter]
Man Arrested for Threatening FCC Chair’s Family — A California man has been arrested and charged with sending emails that threatened to murder FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s family, over his support of the rollback of net neutrality rules. Pai has two children and lives in Arlington. Per an affidavit, one of the emails “listed the names and addresses of three preschools located in or around Arlington, Virginia, followed by the following sentence: ‘I will find your children and I will kill them.'” [Gizmodo, Washington Post]
Car Fire in Cherrydale — A car caught on fire in the garage of an apartment building in Cherrydale early this morning. No one was hurt. The cause of the fire is under investigation. [Twitter, Twitter]
Plane Evacuated on DCA Tarmac — “Passengers were forced to evacuate a United Airlines plane at Reagan National Airport on Sunday after smoke was reported in the cabin… The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said that about 1 p.m. Sunday, Houston-bound flight 6122 was taxiing for takeoff when emergency crews were called for a report of smoke in the cabin. The plane’s emergency slides were deployed, and all passengers and crew members exited ‘without incident.'” [Washington Post, Fox News]
Lee Highway Planning to Move Forward? — “It’s been delayed, delayed and delayed some more. But, Arlington’s top elected official promises, the long-awaited study of development options along the Lee Highway corridor will be up and running by the end of the year.” [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy R. Johnson
A motorcyclist died in a crash last night on I-66, near Arlington’s western border.
The crash happened just before 10 p.m.
“According to witnesses, two motorcycles were westbound on I-66 and traveling at a high rate of speed,” Virginia State Police said in a brief press release. “One of the motorcycles rear-ended a car traveling west on I-66. The impact of the crash caused the motorcycle to run off the interstate and strike the guardrail.”
“The motorcyclist died at the scene,” the press release continued. “The driver of the car was not injured in the crash.”
State police are investigating the crash. The name of the deceased has not yet been released.
Photo via Google Maps
A motorcycling “wiped out” while driving around the circle, according to scanner traffic, and suffered a number of injuries. The injuries are believed to include broken bones but are not life-threatening.
One lane of Shirlington Circle traffic is squeezing by the crash scene; it is unclear if any ramps are blocked.
The crash comes as thousands of bikers descend on the area for the annual Memorial Day weekend Rolling Thunder rally.
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means that it is also Rolling Thunder weekend here in the D.C. area.
Thousands of bikers are expected to stream into the area over the next couple of days. The event, intended to raise awareness of American service members who were prisoners of war or remain missing in action, is prompting a number of road closures in Arlington.
The first of the planned closures is on 23rd Street S. between S. Eads and Fern streets. Starting today and running through Sunday, the Crystal City Sports Pub and Crystal City BID are hosting a free outdoor concert series dubbed “Crystal City Thunder,” from 4-8 p.m. each night.
More from the Arlington County Police Department:
Motorists using S. 23rd Street can detour around the closure by using S. 22nd Street (one block north of S. 23rd Street) via S. Eads Street or S. Fern Street, depending on their direction of travel.
Parking will also be restricted in the same location from 3:00 PM Friday afternoon until 9:00 PM Sunday night, except for motorcycles. Motorcyclists are encouraged to back their cycle to the curb and line up in an orderly fashion to maximize the space. Vehicles in violation will be subject to tow. If you are towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222.
Barrels and other traffic management equipment will be deployed in the area. Motorists are reminded to follow police direction and be aware of the extra motorcycle traffic associated with this event and the Rolling Thunder Rally.
The police department is also warning of “severe” traffic impacts from a temporary closure of eastbound I-66 Saturday morning, “to allow veterans of the Vietnam War to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery.”
The Arlington County Police Department is informing the public that traffic on I-66 Eastbound on Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 8:15 a.m. to approximately 9:30 a.m. will be severely impacted by temporary closures to allow veterans of the Vietnam War to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery. Route 110 southbound and Washington Boulevard (Route 27) near Columbia Pike will also incur temporary traffic disruptions.
In addition, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., traffic in the Crystal City area may experience delays as another veterans’ group is escorted through the area.
On Sunday, Washington Blvd and the Memorial Bridge will be closed to traffic for the Rolling Thunder Rally. More from ACPD:
The Arlington County Police Department and Virginia State Police will close part of Washington Boulevard near the Pentagon on Sunday, May 27, 2018, for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. From 7:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m., Washington Blvd. (Route 27) will be closed from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge.
In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.
Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area during the Memorial Day weekend.
For questions or concerns, please contact Lieutenant Steve Meincke at 703-228-4148.
AAA Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, is reminding drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists during the event.
During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, waves of motorcyclists, as far as the eye can see, will participate in the annual Rolling Thunder procession to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. As a result, “motorists could encounter possible delays if operating in the vicinity of this event and may wish to consider alternative routes,” warns the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). With an upturn in motorcyclists in the region this weekend, area motorists should know how to detect and respond to so many bikers sharing the road, advises AAA Mid-Atlantic. For safety’s sake, motorists should also listen for the sound of motorcycles approaching in blind spots during Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom XXX.
Tragically, “motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities,” highway safety advocates warn. Advocates point the finger of blame at the rising age of motorcyclists, traffic congestion, and distracted driving as overarching factors in the number of roadway deaths of motorcyclists. Other factors include alcohol impairment and recreational marijuana and drug impairment. “In 2016, one-quarter of motorcyclists who died had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, the highest percentage of any vehicle type,” according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “Data suggest that trend continued in 2017.”
“Across the nation and around the Washington metro area, motorcyclists are disproportionately vulnerable to losing their lives and limbs in traffic crashes,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Although the average motorcyclist rides his or her bike between 3,000 to 6,000 miles per year, motorcycle riders and passengers are ‘about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash, and six times as likely to be injured,’ research shows.”
Watch out for motorcyclists during Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom XXX. Motorcycle fatalities soared to the highest level in a decade in Virginia during 2017, according to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) data. All told, 107 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes on Virginia roads in 2017, as motorcycle fatalities increased nearly 50 percent over 2016, when 72 motorcyclists died in motorcycle-related crashes across Virginia, according to the 2017 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report. Of the 1,794 motorcycle riders injured in crashes in 2017, almost half, 830 bikers or 46.2 percent, were age 41 or above. Motorcycle crashes comprised 1.7 percent of all traffic crashes in the state, but 12.7 percent all fatalities.
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
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.
LATE BURGLARY, 160829043, 2800 block of S. Fort Scott Drive. At approximately 8:20 p.m. on August 29, officers responded to the report of a late burglary. Upon arrival it was determined that at approximately 5:00 p.m. on August 29, a neighbor witnessed an unknown male subject entering a residence through a window. The subject then fled the area shortly after on a bicycle. The victim determined that the subject stole numerous items of value from the residence. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties. He was wearing a white tank top, a backpack, and black pants.
ASSAULT ON POLICE OFFICER, 160826007, 2800 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:48 a.m. on August 26, officers responded to the area to assist with crowd control during restaurant closing time. An intoxicated male suspect approached the officers and attempted to start a confrontation. The male suspect became disorderly and when officers attempted to arrest him for Drunk In Public, he attempted to strike an officer and pull the officer to the ground. Francisco Xavier Andrade, 25, of Arlington VA was arrested and charged with Assault on Police (x2), Failure to ID, and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.
CARJACKING, 160824044, 900 block of S. Dinwiddie Street. At approximately 11:09 p.m. on August 24, officers responded to the report of a fight in progress. The investigation revealed that the victim was transporting two individuals in his vehicle and stopped in the area to pick up an acquaintance, Mikas Halie Geberezgiabhier. When the vehicle came to a stop Mr. Geberezgiabhier allegedly began striking the victim and attempting to forcibly remove him from the vehicle. Once outside the vehicle, the victim was assaulted by two additional suspects. Mr. Geberezgiabhier then smashed the windshield and threatened the victim before getting into the drivers’ seat and attempting to drive away. Mikas Halie Geberezgiabhier, 18, of, Washington D.C, was arrested and charged with carjacking, strangulation, assault by mob, and destruction of property. Micale Bekete Kebede, 27, of Alexandria VA, and Raeye Tedros, 19, of Falls Church VA, were arrested and charged with assault by mob.
BRANDISHING A FIREARM, 160825026, 2700 block of N. Westmoreland Street. At approximately 4:03 p.m. on August 25, officers responded to the report of a man with a gun. The investigation revealed that a verbal altercation between known individuals escalated into a physical altercation. Following the altercation, the male suspect allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened the male victim. The suspect then fled the area in his vehicle prior to police arrival. Dominique Giney Baker, 24, of Alexandria, VA was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm and assault and battery.
BURGLARY, 160825016, 2600 block of S. Grant Street. Between 1:00 p.m. and 3:10 p.m. on August 25, an unknown subject entered a residence and stole several items of value. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’0″ tall and weighed 160 lbs. He was wearing a black shirt and black pants at the time of the incident.
ATTEMPTED BREAKING & ENTERING, 160825031, 300 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:30 p.m. on August 25, a known subject attempted to force entry into a residence through a window. The victim was home at the time of the incident and threatened to call the police causing the suspect to flee. The investigation is ongoing.
THREATS (Significant), 160824024, 900 Block of N. Pollard Street. At approximately 2:28 p.m., the Emergency Communication Center received a 911 call for a man inside a residence armed with a weapon making threats. Prior to police arrival, the man exited the residence and was located on foot at the intersection of 9th Street N. and N. Nelson Street. Officers established communication with the individual and after a brief conversation he surrendered to police. There were no injuries and the individual was referred to Arlington County services.
PETIT LARCENY (significant), 160824008, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike. Between 4:00 p.m. on August 23 and 7:00 a.m. on August 24, an unknown subject(s) forced entry into a maintenance room and stole several items of value. There is no suspect(s) description.
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.