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Firefighters extinguishing vehicle fire after serious crash (screenshot via @STATter911/Twitter)

(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) The intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and Old Dominion Drive was closed for nearly five hours overnight after a fiery crash that killed a teenager.

Two vehicles collided at the intersection, in the Rock Spring neighborhood, around 12:30 a.m. The engine compartment of one of the vehicles caught fire.

The flames were quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived on scene. The intersection was closed overnight while police investigated the crash.

Initial reports suggested that several people were injured and one person was found unresponsive.

Police confirmed early Friday afternoon that one person, a teen boy, was killed. The driver of the other car — an SUV, which caught fire after the crash — was also a teen. He has been charged with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter, according to ACPD.

The press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department has charged a juvenile male in his teens with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter following a fatal vehicle crash in the Rock Spring neighborhood. He remains held in a juvenile detention facility.

At approximately 12:29 a.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to Old Dominion Drive at Williamsburg Boulevard for the report of a two-vehicle crash with injuries. Upon arrival, first responders located an unoccupied SUV on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished by the Arlington County Fire Department. The driver of the second involved vehicle, a sedan, was located unresponsive inside the vehicle and pronounced deceased on scene.

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the sedan was attempting to make a U-turn on Old Dominion Drive when he was struck at a high rate of speed by the SUV. The driver of the SUV was taken into custody on scene. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

The deceased is a juvenile male in his teens. His identification is being withheld in accordance with Virginia Code § 19.2-11.2 which limits Virginia law enforcement agencies from directly or indirectly identifying deceased juvenile victims of a crime.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective S. Whalin at [email protected]ingtonva.us or 703-228-4159. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

The victim has been publicly identified as Braylon Meade, a Washington-Liberty High School basketball player. The school’s principal says counselors will be available for students who need extra support next week.

Signs at tonight’s W-L football game mourned Meade, who wore #22 on the court.

Screenshot via @STATter911/Twitter

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Alexandra Turshen in Netflix’s “Partner Track” (photo courtesy of Netflix)

Within the first five minutes of Netflix’s new series Partner Track, Arlington native and Yorktown High School graduate Alexandra Turshen already has her “boss” moment by telling the new paralegal to get his feet off the desk.

“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t always want to play a fierce Manhattan lawyer,” Turshen told ARLnow, laughing. “The role of Rachel is so aligned with who I am. She’s a boss.”

But before 36-year-old Turshen was starring as “Rachel,” the best friend in a romantic comedy about lawyers climbing the ladder, she was a boss in the Yorktown marching band.

“Your girl was playing cymbals with the best of them,” Turshen said. “We were absolutely the coolest kids in town. I can say with absolute certainty that the best time I had in high school was being part of the symphonic band and marching band.”

From slamming cymbals at Yorktown to being a fictional high-powered attorney on a Netflix show, it’s been a bit of a journey for the hometown actor.

Turshen grew up in the Rock Spring neighborhood of North Arlington, within walking distance of Yorktown High.

Performing arts has always been, quite literally, in her blood. Her mom, who still lives in Arlington, was a music teacher for nearly 50 years working mostly in D.C. and Fairfax County. Her dad was an Arlington attorney. The two met doing community theater at the Hexagon, a long-running political satire musical theater in D.C.

“My family has always this real appreciation and foundation in music and performance,” Turshen said.

And Turshen followed in her family’s musical footsteps, playing the string bass in Yorktown’s symphonic band and cymbals in the marching band.

“The whole band would walk uniformly out to the field to the beat of the drums with the cymbals right in front. It was such a great feeling,” she said.

But Turshen dreamed of dancing. So, she joined a program while at YHS where she left school early for lessons at the Washington Ballet Company. She would wear “leotards and tights” under her clothes at school all day and leave right after band class to make her way downtown. While she loved dancing, her body didn’t.

“As it turns out, my body just kinda gave out. I got injured… the tendons and ligaments started tearing in my feet and they just really couldn’t take the 9 to 5 job as a ballerina,” Turshen said.

So, she went to college in Massachusetts and studied international human rights. But she missed performing, so shortly after graduating she moved to New York to become an actor.

Arlington native Alexandra Turshen (photo courtesy of Netflix)

It wasn’t easy, though. There were times when she wanted to give up, but early on she got advice that “perseverance, persistence, and patience” is how one makes in the industry.

For Turshen, that’s held true. She has had plenty of roles over the years, but it’s taken time to build her career.

“It’s so heartbreaking. It’s so brutal. You get so close sometimes and then it just doesn’t go your way and then it can really get you down. After five years, after ten years, or 12 years, it wears on you,” she lamented. “You really have to have a strong sense of purpose, and you have to believe in yourself when others don’t. And that takes practice, especially as the years turn into decades.”

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Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Thieves are entering homes in North Arlington and driving off with luxury cars using keys pilfered from inside.

At least two overnight incidents involving three stolen vehicles — a BMW and two Audis — were reported in the Old Glebe and Rock Spring neighborhoods in the latest Arlington County Police Department crime report.

Thieves also made off with “electronics, cash and credit cards” from inside one of the homes, police said.

BURGLARY (late), 2022-06170047, 3800 block of Chesterbrook Road. At approximately 6:45 a.m. on June 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined between approximately 10:00 p.m. on June 16 and 6:30 a.m. on June 17, an unknown suspect entered the victim’s home, stole a set of car keys and stole the victim’s vehicle. There were no signs of forced entry to the home. The vehicle is described as a 2018 Silver BMW X6 35i with Virginia license plate JPA4694. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2022-06200054, 5000 block of 36th Street N. At approximately 5:09 a.m. on June 20, police were dispatched to the late report of stolen vehicles. Upon arrival, it was determined at approximately 3:29 a.m., two unknown suspects made entry into the victim’s home, stole two sets of car keys and stole two vehicles. Personal property, including electronics, cash and credit cards were also reported stolen from the home. There were no signs of forced entry into the home. The vehicles are described as a White 2019 Audi A6 with Virginia license plate XMF9641 and a White 2021 Audi Q7 with Virginia license plate BOGOWP. There are no descriptions for the suspects. The investigation is ongoing.

Last June, ACPD warned residents that it had “seen a rise in home and vehicle thefts that occur overnight when suspects find garage door openers in unlocked cars.” In both of the burglary cases above, police noted that there were no signs of the thieves needing to force entry into the homes.

Last month, meanwhile, police reported several incidents of cars being stolen from North Arlington neighborhoods after being left unlocked with keys inside. The ongoing thefts prompted the police department to continue encouraging residents to practice the “9 p.m. routine” of locking up and removing valuables from plain sight before bed.

“Burglaries and thefts are often crimes of opportunity with thieves taking advantage of unsecured doors and windows to steal items left unattended or out in plain view,” ACPD said.

The latest crime report also included a home break-in in the Bellevue Forest neighborhood, not far from the recent car thefts. However, “nothing of value was taken,” according to police.

BURGLARY (late), 2022-06180148, 3000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on June 18, police were dispatched to the late report of suspicious circumstances. It was determined at approximately 1:30 a.m., an unknown suspect made entry into the victim’s home. It appeared items had been moved but nothing of value was taken. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Arlington County police are on scene of an unusual accident in the Rock Spring neighborhood, near Discovery Elementary and Williamsburg Middle schools.

The driver of a car apparently drove into a ditch in the median, just past the intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and N. Harrison Street, around 1:45 p.m. The car became stuck and is now awaiting a tow.

No injuries have been reported and for now the road is not blocked.

The vegetated median along Williamsburg Blvd helps with stormwater management. It was previously constructed as part of the county’s “green streets” initiative.

In more consequential traffic news, just prior to this accident Virginia State Police and Arlington County firefighters were pulling up to a multivehicle crash on southbound I-395 near the Pentagon. At least one injury was reported.

As of 2 p.m. the crash and emergency response were still blocking lanes, causing a significant backup for drivers heading over the bridge and into Arlington.

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Jamestown Elementary School (file photo)

(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) Jamestown Elementary School is having an early dismissal today due to a “significant water leak.”

The announcement was made in an email to families.

“There is a significant water leak at Jamestown Elementary which requires us to close school early,” the school’s principal wrote. “Students will have early release at 1:00 PM so that the county can shut down the water. Lunch will be served to all students before they leave.”

“There will be NO Extended Day,” the email continued. “I apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you updated on repairs and plans for tomorrow.”

Jamestown, the northernmost public school in Arlington, was built in 1953.

Following the school’s announcement, a social media post from Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said there is a water main break at or near the school and that some homes in the area may also be affected.

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Toys collected last year during the Arlington Knights of Columbus drive (Photo courtesy Myles McMorrow)

After receiving thousands of toys last year, the Arlington Knights of Columbus on Little Falls Road will be hold its second annual Toys for Tots drive this weekend.

The drive will be held on both Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 4 and 5), from noon to 7 p.m., outside of the Knights of Columbus Arlington Council 2473 at 5115 Little Falls Road, in the Rock Spring neighborhood.

Like last year, the event will be drive-thru only, with uniformed Marines, volunteers, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus greeting folks and helping to gather toys. There will also be thousands of Christmas lights decorating the 117-year-old building and festive inflatables to get all in the mood.

The organization is also known for annually providing Thanksgiving meals to those in the community who are in need.

2020 marked the first year for the toy drive. Organized by Knights of Columbus member Myles McMorrow and his wife Kate Gilchrist, the community’s dedication last year caught them by surprise.

“We were just shocked at the outpouring,” McMorrow tells ARLnow. “We thought we may get a couple hundred toys. But, then, the cars kept on coming, coming, and coming.”

In the end, McMorrow says they collected nearly 4,000 toys for needy children. The hope, of course, is that the number will be topped this year.

What’s needed most this holiday season are toys for infants to 2-year-olds, as well as toys for older kids ages 11 to 14, notes McMorrow.

When collected, all the toys will be shipped down to the Toys for Tots facility near Fredericksburg, from which the organization,  run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, will distribute the gifts.

McMorrow believes the reason for the drive’s success so far is because many offices are either still shut down or at reduced capacity with more people working from home. Traditionally, offices are where such holiday donation drives take place. People still want to give, but the opportunities to do this are fewer given remote work, he notes.

If folks can’t make the trip this weekend, boxes will be available at the Knights of Columbus for toy drop-off through Christmas.

Even during an extremely tough 20 months for all, McMorrow remains amazed at the local desire to help others.

“People pulled up with van loads [of toys],” he says about last year’s drive. “I mean, the whole back of their Yukon was just full of toys. People are very generous.”

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First SUV tire deflations by environmental activists, now newspaper thefts by omnivorous mammals.

The northern Arlington neighborhood of Rock Spring was the scene of the vulpine larceny over the weekend. As seen in video surveillance footage, a furtive fox dashes down the driveway, with a stolen Sunday edition of the Washington Post firmly secured in his or her snout.

The homeowner, Lynn Pollock, tells ARLnow that the pilfered paper was later found nearby.

“The fox took our paper to a neighbor’s yard behind our house on the other side of a stream and left it in their yard,” she said, noting that such wildlife thievery is new to her but apparently not uncommon in the area.

“We had a [fox] family with kits who grew up under our front porch for five years until we renovated last year. We never saw this activity then,” she said. “However, from responses to my [Nextdoor] post it is clear that newspapers, shoes, baseball mitts as well as dog toys are taken by foxes in the area quite often.”

On the social networking site, neighbors weighed in on the incident.

“The only piece of fox news I have enjoyed is this post,” quipped one local resident.

“Swiper, no swiping!” wrote another, referencing the sneaky antagonist on Dora the Explorer.

Jokes aside, another resident tried to provide a possible explanation for the behavior.

“In all seriousness, that newspaper has only one purpose for that fox and its kit(s),” the resident wrote, before word that the paper was found and recovered. “She will take it to the den and shred it, and it will make amazing, warm bedding material with great absorption, much like dried leaves. She’s done it before, and she knows what works. She was probably taught to do it by her mother. There’s a reason for the expression, ‘sly as a fox!'”

Video courtesy Lynn Pollock

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For years the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and Little Falls Road has been the scene of numerous crashes.

Now, after a push for traffic signals and minor efforts to make it safer, the intersection in the Rock Spring neighborhood has undergone its biggest change yet.

Instead of the rush hour restrictions that were put in place last year — making it right-turn-only for Little Falls Road traffic during certain hours — a recently-constructed row of bollards now ensures that those driving on Little Falls can only turn right at all times.

The bollards also prevent left turns from Old Dominion Drive.

“On June 10, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed a small center island of along the centerline of Old Dominion Drive to make Little Falls Road right-in/right-out at Old Dominion Drive,” Arlington County Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien tells ARLnow. “Additional markings and signage have been installed to help guide right-turning drivers. We anticipate making small changes, such as to the center median material, in the coming months.”

“These short-term changes were made because a crash trend has been identified at this location, including a high number of angle collisions involving drivers either turning left or continuing through the intersection from Little Falls Road,” O’Brien continued.

There were 13 crashes at the intersection in 2018, 14 crashes in 2019, 12 crashes in 2020 and 4 crashes so far in 2021, according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

O’Brien also wrote in an email that the county and VDOT will be studying the possibility of lowering the speed limit on Old Dominion Drive or installing a traffic signal at the problematic intersection.

To help Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation determine a long term solution, The County will also collect additional speed and volume data in this area. This data will help VDOT and County staff evaluate:

  • If a traffic signal is warranted. For the traffic signal, the County will work with VDOT to determine if the intersection meets the State Signal Justification requirement.
  • If a speed limit reduction is warranted. For the speed evaluation, the County will work with VDOT to determine whether a posted speed limit reduction is warranted.

Old Dominion Drive was formerly a streetcar line. It was converted into a road in the 1930s.

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Thieves are continuing to prowl parts of Arlington for unlocked vehicles.

The most recently reported incidents happened in the early morning hours of this past Thursday, in the Rock Spring and Alcova Heights neighborhoods.

In Rock Spring, a group of suspects stole two vehicles — at least one of which was taken via a key found in another unlocked vehicle — and tried to break into a house.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

GRAND LARCENY AUTO / ATTEMPTED BURGLARY (series), 2021-06100036 / 06100047, 3400 block of N. Edison Street. At approximately 5:37 a.m. on June 10, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:20 a.m., the victim was alerted to noises outside and exited his residence to see four vehicles idling in the street. One of the four vehicles was the victim’s 2011 Ford Explorer bearing VA license plate 745186, which the suspects had gained entry to through keys found in a nearby unlocked vehicle. The victim shouted in the direction of the four suspect vehicles and they fled the scene at a high rate of speed. The investigation determined that another one of the four vehicles, a 2013 Infiniti SUV bearing VA license plate XCM4640, had also been stolen earlier in the night from the 3400 block of N. Edison Street. While investigating the two stolen vehicles, it was discovered that four other vehicles in the area had been tampered with. During one of the tamperings, the suspects unsuccessfully attempted to use a key located inside a vehicle to gain entry into the victim’s residence. Suspect One is described as a male wearing dark clothing and tennis shoes at the time of the incident. There are no other suspect descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

Also on Thursday, police responded to an incident in Alcova Heights in which at least four vehicles were broken into and an unlocked Mercedes was stolen from a home’s garage.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2021-06100069, 3500 block of 8th Street S. At approximately 9:30 a.m. on June 10, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the unknown suspect(s) entered the victim’s unlocked vehicle and rummaged through it. No items were reported stolen. During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the suspect(s) entered and tampered with three other vehicles in the area and attempted to enter an additional three vehicles. While investigating the tamperings, a witness flagged down an officer and stated that a vehicle had been stolen from a residence in the 3500 block of 6th Street S. Officers made contact with the owner of the vehicle and it was determined that the suspect(s) entered the victim’s garage and located the unlocked vehicle, a 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC bearing VA license plate UKT2082, with the keys inside. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Last week ACPD said it had “increased police resources” in response to a spate of home burglaries north of I-66, in which thieves found keys in unlocked vehicles and used them to steal items from homes.

The police department continues to encourage residents to lock their homes and vehicles, and to keep valuables out of view. Arlington has experienced a wave of crimes of opportunity involving unlocked and unattended vehicles over the past year or so.

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Move over Jazz, there’s a new heir to the cute crown in Arlington.

On Easter Sunday at about 5 p.m., an adorable baby red fox — a kit — was caught on camera in the backyard of a residence in the Rock Spring neighborhood, near Jamestown Elementary School.

Sally Granade was at Jamestown Park with her daughter when she got a call from her husband.

“He called and said ‘Oh, this baby fox has been staggering in the yard, I got a bowl of water and put it out and now it’s following me around,” Granade tells ARLnow.

Worried about both the health of the fox and the risk of rabies, she immediately told him not to touch it and they called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Animal control officers arrived in less than 15 minutes, says Granade, and told the family the baby fox was neither sick or injured, simply very young and a bit lost.

It’s thought the kit had wandered from the den, which Granade now believes was under her shed, when mom was out of the house.

“It’s likely that the mom was either out hunting, or she was relocating her kits from one den to another, and the kit happened to make enough noise for the homeowners to notice him,” writes Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson.

AWLA believes the kit was only a few weeks old, meaning it was born in the litter season of late March to early April. They were unable to confirm the sex of the baby, though.

Animal control officers requested a four-sided box to gently place the fox in there, so that it couldn’t wander more and mom could find it when she arrived back.

All Granade had was a wicker basket, hence a cute video of the baby fox squawking in a basket.

The officers departed with a request to keep an eye out for the mother.

Sure enough, only about an hour or two later, the family spotted her.

“We saw what was probably the mother sulking around the background… and, by morning, the baby was gone,” says Granade.

Jones says that Granade and her family did exactly what they should have done, which was to not touch the wild animal and call the professionals immediately.

“It’s very important that the public NEVER touch a wild animal unless they absolutely have to because there are zoonotic diseases that can pass from animal to human,” writes Jones. “If you have to touch the animal (it’s in a very dangerous spot, it’s severely injured, etc.), it’s very important to wear thick gloves or use a towel.”

Foxes are certainly not uncommon in Arlington, but in the past year AWLA has received more calls about them and other wildlife. This has more do with humans than the animals.

“We have had more wildlife calls overall in the past year because so many more people are home during the day and seeing more wildlife that they would normally miss because they are at work,” writes Jones.

This is the time of the year that kits begin venturing out of the dens, so it’s normal to spot them in mid-April, Jones notes.

In general, foxes do not pose a threat to humans, however, if they have rabies, they can be dangerous to pets. While they’re fun to watch, do it a safe distance to keep foxes, pets, and humans all safe, Jones says.

For Granade, it was a memorable Easter Sunday evening for her and her family, helping to reunite a baby fox with its mom.

“I was really impressed with the good job that the Animal Welfare League did,” she says. “They even came back to get the basket.”

Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook

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As if the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, there’s now an apparent rabies outbreak in Arlington County.

Two days after the county warned of a possible rabies exposure in the East Falls Church neighborhood, animal control has captured two additional raccoons “showing neurological signs consistent with rabies.”

The raccoons were both captured in residential north Arlington neighborhoods: one on the 4300 block of 37th Road N., in the Old Glebe neighborhood near Glebe Road Park and the Gulf Branch Nature Center, and another on the 5100 block of 37th Road N., in the Rock Spring neighborhood near Williamsburg Middle School.

“On February 4, 2021, Arlington County Animal Control responded to two separate incidents for raccoons,” the county said in a press release. “Both of the raccoons in these incidents were captured and removed by animal control; both raccoons were showing neurological signs consistent with rabies. One of these raccoons may have had contact with two pets.”

“This outbreak is no longer contained to a specific neighborhood,” the press release warned, also citing the East Falls Church incident from Jan. 30, in which a rabid raccoon came into contact with a pet.

“We are urging residents in North Arlington to be vigilant,” said Kurt Larrick, a county spokesman. “We ask that residents ensure their pets are up to date on their rabies vaccines, keep their dogs on a leash, keep cats inside, remain vigilant and alert, and do not approach or interact with any wild animals.”

Rabies, as described in the press release, “is a disease that people and animals can catch from the bite or scratch of infected animals. It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly.”

“If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with any wild animals including bats or raccoons, please call Arlington County Animal Control at 703-931-9241 immediately,” the press release says. “If calling after hours, please stay on the line to speak with the answering service who will alert an Officer. If you see a raccoon that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive, do NOT approach the animal and please call Animal Control immediately.”

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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