Arlington, VA

Arlington County firefighters and the U.S. Park Police helicopter helped rescue a man suffering an apparent medical emergency along the Potomac River Sunday evening.

The rescue happened around 6 p.m., on the rocks below 44th Street N. A portion of Chain Bridge Road was temporarily closed during the emergency response, which involved firefighters repelling down to the patient, who was ultimately hoisted onto the helicopter.

“A bystander called 911 to report what appears to be an adult male lying near the water’s edge,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Justin Tirelli tells ARLnow. An “ACFD technical rescue team made their way to the patient and rendered medical care to a 40 year old male who suffered an apparent medical emergency. [The] helicopter was used because the terrain made it very difficult to lift the patient manually.”

The man was reported by rescuers to be in stable condition.

Several boats, including a D.C. Police boat, also responded to the scene. A video of the rescue is below and more photos can be found here.

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(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) A 19-year-old man from Arkansas has been charged with trying to blow up a car in the Pentagon parking lot Monday morning.

The charges, announced Tuesday afternoon, follow an extensive search yesterday involving numerous law enforcement agencies, including Arlington County Police, that resulted in the man being arrested in Arlington National Cemetery.

Federal prosecutors say the suspect, Matthew Richardson, tried to blow up a Land Rover, parked in the Pentagon North Parking lot, by sticking a piece of fabric in the gas tank and lighting it on fire. The vehicle did not explode and the suspect took off running after being confronted by a Pentagon police officer.

More from a Justice Department press release:

An Arkansas man will make his initial appearance in federal court at 2 p.m. today on charges relating to his alleged attempt at blowing up a vehicle at the Pentagon yesterday.

According to court documents, Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, of Fayetteville, was discovered in the Pentagon North Parking lot yesterday morning by a Pentagon Police Officer on patrol. The officer allegedly observed Richardson standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle’s gas tank.

After the officer approached Richardson, the defendant allegedly told the officer he was going to “blow this vehicle up” and “himself”. When the officer attempted to detain Richardson, Richardson pulled away and ran across the parking lot towards Virginia State Route 110 and onto Virginia State Route 27. A subsequent review of surveillance camera footage showed that Richardson jumped over a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. Richardson was later found by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team near Arlington House.

According to court documents, after a search of Richardson, officers allegedly discovered a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents related to Richardson’s arrest on or about February 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.

According to court documents, the owner of the vehicle is an active duty servicemember and does not know Richardson.

Richardson was arrested yesterday and is charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Woodrow G. Kusse, Chief of Pentagon Police, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Embroski and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum are prosecuting the case.

Arlington County Police assisted federal police agencies in the search for the man on Monday.

Arlington officers were dispatched to the area around Arlington National Cemetery around 11 a.m. to look for a man who, according to initial reports, might have intended to light himself on fire. They were joined by Pentagon police, Fort Myer police and U.S. Park Police in searching for the man.

According to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, Arlington police assisted with maintaining a perimeter around the search area and brought a K-9 officer to help with the search.

The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter also hovered overhead during the manhunt, looking for the individual throughout the sprawling cemetery grounds and amid throngs of visitors. He was finally apprehended around 12:15 p.m. by Pentagon police near Arlington House, the one-time home of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Richardson was arrested this past weekend in Arlington and charged with felony assault on a law enforcement officer, according to prosecutors. Savage said he was arrested by a different police agency, not Arlington County Police. Richardson was previously arrested on theft charges in Arkansas in November.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Still No Answers About Ghaisar Shooting — Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the death of Bijan Ghaisar, who was shot by U.S. Park Police officers. Thus far, Arlington County has declined to release the recording or transcript of 911 calls connected to the case. [WUSA 9]

Spotted: Beto and TMZ at DCA — Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who narrowly lost his nationally-followed electoral challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was seen being interviewed by a TMZ producer outside of Reagan National Airport yesterday. [Twitter]

Chamber: Keep Dillon Rule — “As part of its 2019 package of legislative priorities, the [Arlington] Chamber of Commerce is continuing its belief that the ‘Dillon Rule‘ needs to be maintained, and urged members of the General Assembly to do nothing that would lessen it.” [InsideNova]

Ballston Booster Saves Dozen Dogs — Ballston BID chief Tina Leone has “rescued more than 200 dogs from around the world, and brought a dozen more to Northern Virginia on Monday.” [Patch]

Amazon News Roundup — Some people want to keep Crystal City weird. They and others will be able to register their opinions about Amazon’s imminent arrival at a pair of community meetings.

Nearby: Pedestrian’s Foot Run Over Along W&OD Trail — Last week at a road crossing of the W&OD Trail in Falls Church, “a black or gray sedan of unknown make failed to yield to a pedestrian on the sidewalk, ran over their foot, and failed to stop at the scene.” [City of Falls Church]

Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me

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Three people have been arrested and will likely face charges in Arlington after a desperate attempt to flee a traffic stop on I-395.

The incident started just before 10 a.m., when an Arlington police officer tried to pull over a vehicle heading northbound on I-395 in the Pentagon City area. The driver of the vehicle then sped off heading the wrong way on southbound I-395, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“The vehicle did not stop and fled the area at a high rate of speed,” she told ARLnow.com. “The vehicle traveled NB in the SB HOV lanes, struck a vehicle, and the three occupants of the suspect vehicle fled the scene on foot.”

A search ensued, as U.S. Park Police set up a perimeter and combed the area around East Potomac Golf Course for the suspects, according to scanner traffic. All three were eventually caught.

“With assistance by the United States Park Police and Virginia State Police, all three suspects were located and taken into custody,” Savage said. “Charges are pending at this time.”

There were no reports of injuries in the crash, according to Savage.

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Both directions of the GW Parkway are closed between Spout Run and Route 123 due to a serious crash.

The crash happened this afternoon in the southbound lanes of the parkway in Arlington near Donaldson Run. One person is being evaluated for potentially serious injuries.

The U.S. Park Police helicopter, Eagle 1, was called in to transport the patient, prompting the closure of the entire parkway, according to scanner traffic. Arlington County medics are also on scene.

File photo from 2014, above, courtesy @CAPT258

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Morning Notes

Community Concerns Over Hospital Land SwapUpdated at 1:50 p.m. — Virginia Hospital Centers needs to expand to keep up with patient demand but the planned expansion is in a holding pattern as resident concerns are addressed. “Tracy Greiner, chair of a task force of three nearby civic associations, said the hospital has ‘failed to effectively address three years of homeowner feedback.’ Neighbors — some who’ve been in Halls Hill for three generations, others who just bought in — worry about traffic, nighttime lights and construction.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Beyer Wants Answers from FBI — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is requesting a meeting with the director of the FBI to discuss the investigation into the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police along the GW Parkway, to ensure that it proceeds expeditiously. Of note: “Beyer said that Arlington County, where the 911 calls came in, will not release the 911 tapes because the FBI hasn’t given them permission because it’s an ongoing investigation.” [WTOP]

Wilcox to Headline Arlington Gala — “Arlington’s own Amy Wilcox, a recording artist and star of A&E Network’s ‘Crazy Hearts: Nashville,’ will be the featured performer at the Arlington Community Foundation’s annual gala – ‘This Is Us’ – to be held April 21. The evening event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, with funds raised being used to support the philanthropic initiatives of the foundation.” [InsideNova]

Candy Dispute Prompts Call to Police — According to scanner traffic, police responded yesterday evening to a domestic incident in which “a father is not allowing his kid to have candy and they’re all fighting.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Could Be Big Budget Winner — Commercial real estate analysts expect Crystal City and the Dulles Toll Road corridor to be the big winners from the new spending bill that was signed into law last week, boosting domestic and military budgets. Crystal City is also among the Northern Virginia locales under consideration for Amazon’s HQ2. [Bisnow]

Park Police Chief Cancels Meeting with BeyerUpdated at 12:30 p.m. — The chief of the U.S. Park Police cancelled a scheduled meeting yesterday with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Beyer and Norton are seeking answers in the fatal Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, who fled from a reported crash and then from officers before being shot in Fairfax County. USPP later released a statement explaining the chief’s decision. [WUSA 9, PDF]

Ballston to Hold Puppy Party Tomorrow — “Didn’t feel the love on Valentines Day? Join the Ballston BID for a puppy pick-me-up. All dogs present available for adoption through our partner, Homeward Trails. They bring the furry friends. Earl’s will bring the food.” [Ballston BID]

Charlie Clark on Arlington and Its History — “Clark compared the local population to the cast of the NBC show ‘Parks and Recreation,’ a group of honest, do-gooders who try their best but things still go awry. They’re a body of citizens that aren’t afraid to challenge their local governance on issues, pointing in particular to the struggle put up by local citizens last year when Arlington worked to relocate Fire Station 8.” [Arlington Connection]

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Reservations — Procrastinators rejoice, a number of Arlington restaurants were, at last check, still taking reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner tonight. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Tim Brown

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A car flipped on Spout Run Parkway this morning, rolling down a steep slope into the woods nearby.

Officers from the U.S. Park Police responded to the southbound side of the parkway just after its intersection with Lorcom Lane around 10:45 a.m. today (Wednesday).

The driver appeared to lose control of the car before careering off the road and into the woods. There were no injuries reported.

Park Police were on scene, and by 11 a.m. a tow truck was on scene to remove the wrecked car. A police car occupied the right-hand lane nearby. There were no significant traffic impacts.

At least four other incidents of vehicles flipping or running into the woods along Spout Run Parkway have been reported over the past six years, including one incident last year of a motorcycle chase ending on the parkway.

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(Updated at 7 p.m.) A woman was found lying in the middle of the roadway along the George Washington Parkway Monday night.

First reports indicated the was woman lying in the northbound lanes near the Key Bridge. U.S. Park Police officers responded to the call, assisted by medics from the Arlington County Fire Department.

A fire department spokesman said Park Police made first contact with the woman.

When units arrived, the spokesman said, they found the woman able to speak but “with an altered level of consciousness and possibly wanting to commit suicide.” Medics transported her to Virginia Hospital Center for treatment.

U.S. Park Police has not provided additional details about the incident.

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Becky McCleskey (photo courtesy U.S. Park Police)Becky McCleskey, an Arlington woman reported missing earlier this month, has been found dead.

McCleskey’s body was found Friday in the Potomac River near Old Angler’s Inn in Maryland, according to U.S. Park Police. Foul play is not suspected.

A vehicle belonging to McCleskey was found in a parking lot at Great Falls National Park in Virginia on Feb. 6, when police were first informed of her disappearance.

From a Park Police press release:

On Friday, February 24 at approximately 5:50 p.m. a body was recovered from the water near Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, Maryland.

The body has been confirmed as that of Becky McCleskey, 56, of Virginia.  McCleskey had been reported missing on February 6, 2017 in the area of Great Falls, Virginia. An extensive air, land, and water search was conducted for two days by the United States Park Police and the Montgomery County Fire and Police Departments.

Mrs. McCleskey’s vehicle was found in the parking lot at Great Falls National Park, Virginia on February 6, 2017.  There is no indication of foul play.

McCleskey has a son who is a high school student in Arlington, we’re told. She also leaves behind a husband, according to an email sent to Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington parishioners.

Her first husband, Arlington native Brian McCleskey, died of respiratory failure in 2007, according to a Washington Post obituary.

Photo courtesy U.S. Park Police

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Map of Windy Run Park (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Police are investigating a dead body found between Windy Run Park, in north Arlington, and the banks of the Potomac River.

U.S. Park Police, as well as Arlington County police and firefighters, hiked to the scene after someone alerted authorities to a body spotted in the rocky, wooded area along the river and the GW Parkway.

The body is that of a man, according to Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose, contradicting initial reports that the deceased was female. Rose did not have any additional information.

Photo via Google Maps

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