Arlington, VA

A 24-year-old man was struck and killed while walking on I-66 over the weekend.

The fatal crash happened early Saturday morning, around 12:30 a.m., near the Lee Highway exit (Exit 73) in Arlington.

Virginia State Police say Justin Angel of Stephen City, Virginia, “was walking in the eastbound lane of I-66 when he was struck by a 2017 Dodge Journey.” Angel died at the scene.

“The driver of the Dodge was not injured in the crash,” VSP said. “The crash remains under investigation.”

It’s unclear why the victim was walking in the highway.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(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

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A woman in her 70s was run over by her own SUV in a store parking lot along Lee Highway this afternoon.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven store at 4505 Lee Highway. Initial reports suggest that the woman parked and got out of the vehicle, which then started rolling away; her leg was reportedly run over by the SUV as she tried to chase it down.

The injured woman was said to be conscious and alert when medics arrived on scene. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

The vehicle, which had a handicapped placard displayed behind the windshield, came to a stop partially in an eastbound travel lane of Old Dominion Drive.

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(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.

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Morning Notes

Cristol Reacts to Lawmaker’s Arlington Suggestion — After another Republican state Senator suggested, jokingly, that Arlington and Alexandria go back to being part of D.C., Arlington’s state lawmakers and County Board member Katie Cristol were not amused. Cristol tweeted: “Hmmm, is it possible their grievance is that my diverse, progressive constituents are EXACTLY what it means to be a ‘Real Virginian’ in 2020?” [Twitter, Blue Virginia]

More on Planned Pentagon City Study — “County staff have been overwhelmed by a flood of new development applications in the area since Amazon announced its intentions to set up its second headquarters. And the sizes of some of those projects have been so large that staff have begun urging developers to be patient and wait for a revision of the area’s planning documents before pursuing them.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Man Struck, Killed by Driver — “A 29-year-old man from Arlington, Virginia, died early Saturday morning after being hit by a dark-colored SUV on Industrial Road near Backlick Road in Springfield. David Velasquez was walking in the right lane of Industrial Road at about 1 a.m. when he was hit by the driver, who did not stop, Fairfax County police.” [WTOP]

‘We Will Buy Your Tech Business’ Signs — “There are mysterious signs all over Ballston saying ‘We will buy your tech business…’ [A person who returned our call] said they’re just interested in talking to people looking to sell their business and are not interested in being the subject of a news story.” [Twitter]

W-L, Yorktown Face Off on Hard Court — “There was a double feature of nail-biting thrillers the evening of Jan. 30 in a packed and loud Washington-Liberty High School gymnasium. That’s where the Yorktown Patriots and Washington-Liberty Generals met in all-Arlington girls and boys varsity basketball games with close finishes. The Yorktown girls won in overtime, 53-50. Then, in the nightcap, the W-L boys won, 65-63, on a last second-shot in the Liberty District high-school contests.” [InsideNova]

Minor Apartment Fire — Arlington County firefighters responded to a small cooking fire in an apartment near Courthouse on Saturday. No one was hurt and only minor damage was reported, although the apartment did fill with smoke. [Twitter]

Gymboree at Pentagon City Mall — “A popular children’s clothing retailer that closed all of its stores a year ago is taking steps to re-enter the marketplace. Officials with Gymboree this week announced plans to relaunch the brand at more than 200 Children’s Place locations nationwide,” including at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. [Patch]

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(Updated at 8:25 a.m.) The driver of a car with Uber branding is in police custody after an incident at the Advanced Towing lot in Ballston.

Witnesses tell ARLnow that around 3 p.m. a man was trying to prevent the Uber vehicle from leaving the tow lot at 4000 5th Road N. when the driver gunned it, striking the man, another vehicle and a utility pole.

When a reporter arrived on scene, the alleged driver was being taken into custody by police a short distance away from the lot. The striking vehicle — a silver Kia with a cross on the hood — could be seen parked on 5th Road N. with a damaged front bumper and the passenger side of its front windshield shattered.

According to scanner traffic, the victim was bleeding from the face after being struck and was being transported to Virginia Hospital Center via ambulance. His injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

A towing company employee told ARLnow that the victim was Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill.

“All this over 135 bucks,” the employee said.

Police said Monday evening that a Fairfax man had been arrested and is facing multiple charges.

“At approximately 3:11 p.m. on January 13, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries in the 4000 block of 5th Road N.,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect attempted to exit a tow lot as the employee was closing the gate. The suspect allegedly accelerated, struck the employee, a dumpster and light pole before fleeing the scene.”

“An officer located the suspect and took him into custody without incident,” Savage continued. “The employee was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Gigssa Bekele Bengessa, 27, of Fairfax, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Destruction of Property and Defrauding a Garage Keeper. He was held on no bond. “

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

Photos and reporting by Vernon Miles

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Morning Notes

Confusing Lane Markings on I-395 — “Drivers are complaining about mis-matched lane striping on… 395 South near Shirlington.” [NBC 4, Twitter]

New Taco Restaurant Eyeing Arlington — Wild Tacoz, which recently opened in the Falls Church area, is aiming to become a local chain with future locations in Arlington and elsewhere. [Tysons Reporter]

Pedestrian Struck Near Clarendon — “A woman was just struck by a car on N. Pershing Drive at Fillmore Street in Lyon Park. Only minor injuries reported. Police and firefighters on scene.” [Twitter/@ARLnowDOTcom]

Dems Push for Higher Wages at DCA — “Delegates have signed a letter urging the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority to ensure contracted workers at Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport reach $15 per hour by 2023. Their $12.15 hourly wages are far lower than D.C.’s $15 minimum wage and many East Coast airports.” [Press Release]

Crystal City Hilton Sold — “Starwood Capital Group has made its second acquisition in the area around Amazon HQ2 this year. The Miami-based firm acquired a 393-room hotel in Crystal City from a fund affiliated with JBG Smith for $73M.” [Bisnow, Washington Business Journal]

Housing May Dominate Budget Discussion — “Board members directed, as part of their fiscal 2021 budget guidance to County Manager Mark Schwartz, that budget plans include an option to increase affordable-housing funding to as much as $25 million, a 56-percent increase from the $16 million Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) funding approved for the current fiscal year…. [but] raising expectations of affordable-housing advocates could pit them against proponents of other budget priorities.” [InsideNova]

Local Defense Attorney to Serve as Fairfax Prosecutor — “Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Steve Descano… announced last Wednesday (Nov. 27) that he intends to have Terry Adams, a private defense attorney in Arlington, take on the role of Chief Deputy, lauding his 14 years working on criminal and civil cases in Virginia.” [Tysons Reporter]

ACFD Assists With School Project — “Tower 104 assisted students [at] Science Focus School today with their annual egg drop. The students were able to collect some data & a good time was had by all.” [Twitter/@ArlingtonVaFD]

Photo courtesy Dave Statter

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Morning Notes

Pedestrian Struck on Columbia Pike — A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Columbia Pike near S. Highland Street around noon on Friday. Passersby rushed to help the victim, who remained on the ground after being struck. The crash appeared to happen prior the crosswalk in the westbound lanes of the Pike. The pedestrian reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [Twitter/@ARLnowDOTcom]

ACPD Ramping Up Seat Belt Enforcement — “During the Thanksgiving holiday, Arlington County Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a high-visibility Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign to work toward reducing the number of fatalities that occur when drivers and passengers fail to buckle up. The campaign runs from November 25 – December 6, 2019.” [Arlington County]

Veteran Suicide Run Ends in Arlington — “Two Massachusetts men finished a 500-mile run from Cape Cod to Arlington National Cemetery on Friday to raise awareness of veteran suicides. Joshua Milich, 29, of Somerset, and Brian Tjersland, 52, of Dartmouth, started off on their journey from Massachusetts National Cemetery on Veterans Day.” [Cape Cod Times, NBC 4]

Hope ‘Doesn’t Know What to Expect’ with Majority — “Like his three colleagues also comprising the Arlington delegation to the House of Delegates, Patrick Hope has never served in the majority. That changes on Jan. 8, when Democrats take control of a body that has been under authority of Republicans for more than two decades – and when, for much of that time, Democrats were as much an afterthought as the groom at a wedding reception.” [InsideNova]

YHS Football Advances to Regional Final — “On Friday night, the Patriots shut the [Madison] Warhawks down, scoring a 25-10 win in the Class 6 Region D semifinals for their second victory of the postseason. The Patriots, who went on the road and never trailed, secured that third playoff game; they will face Westfield, another traditional power, in next week’s region final.” [Washington Post, InsideNova]

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A woman who was struck by a dump truck in Rosslyn a year ago, suffering serious injuries and ultimately a leg amputation, is reflecting on her recovery.

Helen Harris was honored at George Washington University Hospital’s 8th annual Trauma Survivors Day earlier this week. Though now able to walk with a prosthetic, Harris is still “on a long road to recovery,” NBC 4 reported.

“I will carry it for the rest of my life,” Harris told NBC 4. “It’s an ongoing struggle, every day gets a little bit better but it’s full of ups and downs.”

Harris was run over by the dump truck on Lee Highway in Rosslyn last December, after pushing her daughter — who was in a stroller — out of the way of the truck while crossing the street.

The truck’s driver, identified at the time as 63-year-old John Washington of Silver Spring, was charged with reckless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk after the crash. The reckless driving charge was dropped and in March he was found guilty on the failure to yield charge, paying a $100 fine and avoiding any jail time, according to court records.

Screen shot (bottom) via NBC 4

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Local governments are rolling out their annual “Street Smart” campaign with a warning about a recent uptick in the number of people on foot killed by drivers.

This fall, the annual campaign by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) will highlight a 14% increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities between 2017 and 2018 regionwide, from 77 people killed in 2017 to 88 in 2018.

The regional government organization unveiled a wall featuring crash stories told by victims yesterday (Monday) at 12th Street and Florida Avenue NE in D.C. That’s where cyclist and safety activist Dave Salovesh was killed by a speeding driver earlier this year — spurring citywide protests and as well as calls for change in Arlington. The wall project is expected to tour Maryland and Virginia as well, per a MWCOG spokeswoman.

One of the victims featured in the awareness campaign is Ren Werbin (above), who was struck while crossing Wilson Blvd near the Ballston Quarter mall around 11 p.m. on February 1. The impact broke vertebrae in Werbin’s back and shattered her collar bone, shoulder, and leg.

“I went from having a neck brace, to having a full back brace, to having a full leg brace, and not being able to move my right arm,” said Werbin in an interview filmed for the project “My world completely changed.”

Werbin spent three months in the hospital recovering from her injuries. An Arlington County Police spokeswoman told ARLnow that an investigation found that the driver — described in an MWCOG press release as “a teen driver in a car full of friends” who “blasted through an intersection” — had a green light at the time and was not cited.

Another testimonial is from a Rosslyn resident who was struck in a crosswalk.

“It happened so fast,” she recounted. “I walked like a penguin for months. Finally, I walked like a normal person, but I was scared of the streets. The physical pain passes, but it was traumatic.”

The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates while driving a car has become safer over the years, walking on roads has become more dangerous. And the majority of pedestrian who are killed are hit after dark — a concern that grows later in the year when the hours of daylight wanes in the fall.

Last November saw the highest number of pedestrians hit in the D.C. area (292) out of any other month, per data shared by MWCOG. In Arlington, the month with the highest number of pedestrian collisions (15) was October.

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(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) A woman was struck by a vehicle on N. Glebe Road in Ballston during the Wednesday evening rush hour.

The crash happened around 5 p.m., at the intersection of Glebe and 11th Street N.

Witnesses told ARLnow that the woman was struck by the driver of a pickup truck, who may have run a red light, though that account and other details could not be immediately confirmed.

The woman was conscious and breathing but bleeding from the head, according to scanner traffic. A Fairfax County ambulance crew that happened to be driving by was the first on scene to start rendering aid.

“The pedestrian, an adult female, was transported to an area hospital with injuries that are considered non-life threatening,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Police tell ARLnow that the driver remained on scene and the investigation into the crash is continuing. So far there’s no word of any charges being filed.

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