Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Local Man Killed in Crash Near Shirlington — “At approximately 7:44 p.m. on July 3, 2020, police were dispatched to the area of Walter Reed Drive and S. Wakefield Street for multiple reports of a crash with injury. The preliminary investigation indicates that the motorcyclist was traveling southbound on Walter Reed Drive at a high rate of speed when he lost control, struck a pole and was thrown from the vehicle.” [Arlington County]

Yorktown Grad Entering Third NFL Season — “The upcoming NFL season, if it is played, will be M.J. Stewart’s third, and the Yorktown High School graduate is more than eager for this month’s training camp then the 2020-21 season to start. ‘I just want to get to training camp,’ said the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” [InsideNova]

Ethiopian Community Facing Dual Challenges — “The Supreme Court on June 25 okayed the Trump administration’s policy of limiting the number of asylum seekers in the country… Most likely to feel the impact locally is the Arlington-based Ethiopian Community Development Council Inc., the refugee-support and State Department-authorized transition agency with offices just off Columbia Pike… this sub-sector of Arlington’s diverse population is among those hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdown.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Why Galaxy Hut is Not Opening Indoors — Updated at 9:10 a.m. — “We just decided ultimately that the questions are too many. Too many questions about how safe it is to be out and dine. And we didn’t feel like with our small size in particular that we would be a good candidate for trying this out. We didn’t want to take the risk.” [WJLA]

River Rescue Blocks Chain Bridge — From Sunday afternoon: “River incident the Potomac River vicinity Fletchers boathouse. Injured 18 year old who fell approximately 20 feet from rocks. Will require patient to be lowered to shoreline and transported by boat.” [Twitter]

Wardian Completes Delaware Run — “Ultrarunner Mike Wardian ran the length of the state of Delaware, starting the 130-mile (209-kilometre) route on July 2 and finishing 26 hours later. He began the run in the afternoon, just north of Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, near the state border with Pennsylvania. He ran in [93 degree] weather straight through the night and next morning, and 26 hours, 19 minutes and 43 seconds later, he crossed the state’s southern border and ran into Maryland.” [Canadian Trail Running]

Photo courtesy Eliana Carreño

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The National Park Service has a 3,000 pound problem: a car that ran so far off the GW Parkway that it wound up near the banks of the Potomac River.

The crash happened the afternoon of Sunday, June 7, just north of Windy Run in Arlington County.

Arlington firefighters, along with the D.C. police Harbor Patrol Unit, the D.C. fire boat and the U.S. Park Police helicopter responded to the crash scene after a report of a vehicle travelling in the northbound lanes that went over an embankment.

“Upon our arrival our incident commanders established a unified command with all agencies and our personnel located the vehicle near the water’s edge, approximately 60 feet down the embankment,” ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli told ARLnow earlier this month.

“The driver had already extricated himself from the vehicle and we confirmed that he was the only occupant of the vehicle,” Tirelli continued. “ACFD medical personnel treated the patient and transferred care from the Virginia shoreline to the DCFD fire boat, where he was transported with non-life threatening injuries to a waiting ambulance on the D.C. shoreline.”

Hikers on the rocky Potomac Heritage Trail have since been encountering the startling sight of the crashed car, not knowing for sure whether anyone is inside.

“I was hiking the Potomac Heritage Trail this weekend and there is a car down there that was not there a few weeks ago,” local resident Melissa Mathews said in an email to ARLnow earlier this week. “It must have been driven off of the GW Parkway that runs (far, far) above the trail. The car has been tagged by either insurance or police so I assume there is no body inside.”

The crashed vehicle is located on national parkland, within the confines of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado tells ARLnow that the car will be removed, but authorities are still trying to figure out how to do that, exactly.

“The National Park Service is still trying to determine the best course of action for the vehicle’s removal,” Delgado said.

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Morning Notes

GOP Senate Primary Today — “Three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Tuesday’s Virginia primary are hoping to win a chance to defeat incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner in November’s general election. Alissa Baldwin, Daniel Gade and Thomas Speciale will be on the Republican primary ballot.” [The Center Square]

Pike Housing Proposal Delayed Amid Outcry — “Faced with criticism on multiple fronts, Arlington County Board members on June 16 essentially threw a staff proposal under the bus, delaying for three months consideration of a controversial plan on how to prioritize affordable housing in the Columbia Pike corridor… It would have increased the maximum threshold, from the current 60 percent of area median income to up to as much as 100 percent, for individuals to qualify for assistance in buying properties.” [InsideNova]

River Rescues Near Chain Bridge Saturday — “D.C. firefighters and police officers on Saturday rescued eight adults and four children who became trapped on rocks in the Potomac River and were cut off from shore by rapidly rising waters in a sudden rainstorm.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Arlington Home Show Cancelled — The pandemic has led to the cancellation of the annual Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo, which had earlier been rescheduled for Saturday, June 27. [Arlington County]

ACPD Investigating Brandishing Incident — “On June 21, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was driving in the area of 31st Street S. and S. Abingdon Street when he was allegedly cut off by the suspect. The suspect then waved the victim in front of him and began following him. When the victim parked, the suspect pulled alongside his vehicle and a verbal dispute ensued, during which the suspect brandished a firearm.” [Arlington County]

Traffic Getting Back to Normal — “Car and truck volume trends in Virginia are moving back toward normal after plummeting during the COVID-19 shutdown, according to numbers released Friday by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Pandemic traffic on state-maintained interstates and primary roads hit a low on April 12, a Sunday… The numbers have gradually rebounded since, climbing back to around 20 percent below normal by the end of May.” [Virginia Mercury]

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(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) A combination of hot days and pandemic closures has sent people flocking to the banks of the Potomac River near Chain Bridge.

On both the Virginia and D.C./Maryland sides of the river, people are fishing, picnicking, hanging out and, in some cases, swimming. The last one of those is a major danger, authorities say, as is accidental falls into the river.

First responders from D.C., Arlington and federal agencies have conducted rescue operations along the Potomac several times over the past few months.

In March, a man suffering a medical emergency was airlifted from rocky terrain on the Virginia side, just north of Chain Bridge. In May, a search and rescue operation turned into a recovery operation after a 67-year-old man fell into the river and died. On Tuesday, another search — this time, a man is presumed dead after swimming in the river, going under and not resurfacing.

On Wednesday, D.C. Fire and Rescue posted on social media, urging people to avoid the waters of the Potomac.

“The Potomac River around Chain Bridge is treacherous and deceiving,” the fire department tweeted. “DO NOT swim anywhere in this area. If you are on the shoreline, stay a safe distance from the water. A fall into the river can quickly turn fatal.”

Over this past weekend, National Park Service employees could be seen watching over the crowds from Chain Bridge. On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard personnel were spotted talking and showing maps to river-goers near the bridge.

One local resident told ARLnow this morning that even more needs to be done.

“Arlington and D.C. need to start policing along the river banks,” the resident said via email. “My family and I walk down to the river most nights and the trash, fires and illegal cast nets are increasing daily. It’s become a nightly party down on the river banks.”

“I grew up in Arlington and have always walked the banks. I’ve never seen anything like what’s going on now,” the resident continued. “Police need to patrol the area, like they used to. The only time you see police down there is when someone falls in…. It’s dangerous and I don’t want anyone else to die.”

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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Morning Notes

Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]

Virus Hits Latino Communities Hard — “Fredys Medina, a diabetic construction worker from Arlington County, waved off his wife’s suggestion that he had the virus after he developed a cough and fever in late April, and he continued to work. Two weeks later, he collapsed on the living room floor. By the time paramedics arrived, Medina, 56, was gone. His wife, Leonor Medina, an unemployed hotel housekeeper, was left with an $8,000 funeral bill.” [Washington Post]

Clement Questions County Board Actions — “An independent candidate for the Nov. 3 Arlington County Board race contends that current board members are overstepping their bounds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Audrey Clement says that the board’s May 19 vote continuing emergency operations gives the government far too much power for too long.” [InsideNova]

Volunteer Award Winners Announced — “Volunteer Arlington, a program of Leadership Center for Excellence, is honored to announce the recipients of the 2020 community volunteer awards which will be presented virtually at Arlington Cares on July 14.” [Volunteer Arlington]

Alleged Armed Robbery in Crystal City — “At approximately 2:56 p.m. on May 23, police were dispatched to the late report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 15, the victim was in the area of 18th Street S. and S. Bell Street when he was allegedly approached by seven suspects. One suspect displayed a firearm and threatened the victim. The suspects stole the victim’s phone and wallet then fled.” [Arlington County]

Man Rescued from Potomac Near Chain Bridge — “A man is in the hospital in serious condition this morning after being pulled from the Potomac River [early Tuesday morning] in a daring rescue operation. The incident occurred just north of the Chain Bridge in an area that is extremely difficult to access from land.” [WJLA]

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(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) Chain Bridge was temporarily closed Friday morning due to a search and rescue operation.

Firefighters from D.C. and Arlington, along with U.S. Park Police, were searching for a fisherman who reportedly fell into the Potomac River and did not resurface.

Numerous emergency responders arrived on scene, looking for the man from the shoreline, the bridge and by boat. (The photo above shows a previous rescue operation in the same general area, in March.)

Inbound traffic on Glebe Road was being diverted onto Chain Bridge Road. As of 9 a.m. the incident was moving from being a rescue operation to a recovery operation, with the reported missing person presumed dead, and as of 9:45 a.m. Chain Bridge was being reopened.

The Washington Post reported late Friday morning that a 67-year-old man had died after falling into the river around 7:40 a.m.

More via social media:

File photo

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(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The person behind the wheel of a car that careened down a hill and onto N. Glebe Road is now facing a criminal charge.

The crash happened this past Wednesday night near the Old Glebe Road overpass. It left the vehicle’s two passengers trapped and seriously injured, including one with life-threatening injuries. Firefighters used hydraulic tools to remove them from the heavily-damaged vehicle.

As of today both were still in the hospital, with one listed in stable condition and the other in critical condition, according to Arlington County Police.

Police say the driver — who walked away from the crash and suffered only minor injuries — has been charged with driving under the age of 21 after illegally consuming alcohol, a misdemeanor. The driver’s identity “is not releasable… in accordance to Virginia law,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, implying that he or she is under the age of 18.

“This remains an active criminal investigation,” Savage said. “Anyone with information related to this incident and/or personal surveillance that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective J. Cox of the Critical Accident Team at 703-228-0491 or [email protected]

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(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) N. Glebe Road is blocked between Walker Chapel and Chain Bridge by a serious crash.

The single-vehicle crash happened shortly after 7:30 p.m. and drew a large rescue response. Firefighters extricated at two injured people from a heavily-damaged car, near the Military Road/Old Glebe Road overpass.

There were a total of three vehicle occupants and all three were injured, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. The driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries, a passenger suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and another passenger is fighting for his life with critical injuries, said Capt. Justin Tirelli.

All three were transported to local hospitals. A crowd gathered on the bridge as police interviewed witnesses.

After the crash, debris could be seen on the hillside leading down to Glebe from Old Glebe. Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage later confirmed to ARLnow that the car had rolled down the embankment.

The road remains closed as a result of the cleanup and investigation. Drivers are being encouraged to avoid the area.

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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 6:30 p.m.) When medic Ryan Denelsbeck heard the call come in, for a person struck by a train at the Courthouse Metro station, he assumed the worst.

But yesterday evening, Denelsbeck and Arlington County Fire Department were able to rescue the woman who fell under a Silver Line Metrorail car — and she’s expected to survive.

“We normally expect the worst for a person vs. train scenario,” Denelsbeck said.

He said he was surprised to find the woman in relatively good condition, for someone who had reportedly been hit by a Metro train. While Denelsbeck worked on trying to calm her down and assess her injuries, others members of the fire department were trying to figure out how to extricate her.

Denelsbeck said when he sees the images of the rescue, like the video below, it takes him back to laying down on the side of the Metro platform trying to talk her through it.

The woman had suffered a medical emergency and fallen in an 18-inch gap between the train and the platform, as the train was arriving. The space, according to Captain Kevin Troiano, was a very tricky area for the firefighters to reach. Adding to the difficulty: the woman was disoriented and confused about how she had wound up there, and Troiano said medics had to explain her situation as best they could without causing her to panic.

Battalion Chief Matt Herbert said the main difficulties were the confined space and concerns about the electrified third rail. She wasn’t close to the rail, but Herbert said the rail electrifies all of the “feet” on the bottom of the train.

“The bottom of a Metro car is a very dangerous place,” Herbert said.

There was also the evening rush hour crowd inside the Metro station to deal with. Denelsbeck said one of their initial challenges was dealing with the crowd pressed in around them, but the police were able to keep people back and the station was evacuated to help clear the escalators.

Herbert said they called up the fire officer at WMATA and were able to get power shut down to the trackbed at the station. Once they had assurances that no other trains would be coming through, firefighters were able to get her out of the gap and get her to a hospital. The fire department said it’s unclear whether her injuries were caused by the train or from her fall.

As of today (Friday), officials said she’s in stable condition.

“We got into this job to help people,” Troiano said. “An outcome like this makes that all better.”

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A single-vehicle crash that resulted in a car on its roof, on rocks along Four Mile Run, ended with the driver being rescued from the creek after allegedly trying to flee the scene.

That’s according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

The fire department first tweeted about the crash near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Eads Street — near Route 1 and the Metro bus depot — around 3:45 a.m. Later, the department said it had rescued the driver, who tried to flee the scene after the crash but got stuck along the water.

The rescue operation involved ACFD’s swift water rescue boats. The man was said to be safely out of the water around 4 a.m.

No word yet on whether any charges will be filed against the driver.

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