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

Arlington police are investigating a violent robbery in the Lyon Park neighborhood last night.

The robbery happened around 11 p.m. on the 200 block of N. Wayne Street, in the area of the Washington and Lee Apartments, and resulted in gunfire and a serious injury.

“At approximately 11:07 p.m. on December 27, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, officers made contact with the victim who had sustained serious, non-life-threatening injuries and declined the treatment of medics. The investigation determined the victim was inside his residence when approximately three male suspects entered, physically assaulted him and stole his personal belongings, including a firearm, before fleeing the scene on foot.”

“During the course of the investigation, officers recovered evidence of a firearm being discharged and located property damage to the floor of the residential building,” the report continues. “There are no descriptions for the three suspects. The investigation is ongoing.”

The crime report does not specify who fired the gunshot nor the nature of the victim’s injuries.

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Ireland’s Four Courts boarded up on 9/15/22 (staff photo)

The following article was supported by the ARLnow Press Club. Join today to help us do more in-depth local reporting.

Storefront safety is now top-of-mind for Ireland’s Four Courts after a rideshare driver plowed into the pub and sparked a fire, seriously injuring several people.

While those injured were inside the restaurant, safety advocates say this crash demonstrates why many have concerns about outdoor dining and nightlife, as well as traffic configurations that rely on everyone driving perfectly. For Four Courts, the crash is a chance to rebuild with a greater focus on safety.

“Since the accident, storefront and patio safety is most definitely our highest priority as we plan our reopening,” Managing Partner Dave Cahill said. “I think installing safety bollards in the front of business locations like ours would eliminate the risk of vehicles crashing into buildings and pedestrians.”

Arlington County is more than a year into an initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. But because storefront crashes like this one are so rare, they aren’t the focus of Vision Zero efforts, according to the county. Instead, this initiative to eliminate traffic serious injuries and fatalities focuses on locations within Arlington’s High Injury Network.

“These types of crashes are often high-profile, but are uncommon,” says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien.

Since 2017, 0.25% of total critical crashes, or 32 out of 13,035, involved a driver hitting a building. Two of these crashes — excluding the Courthouse crash — involved a visible, but not severe, injury, while the remainder resulted in property damage only.

Still, it has restaurateur David Guas, of Bayou Bakery, who watched the crash happen, thinking more about safety as well.

“Witnessing it first hand, I had a flash in the pan thought, ‘someone could’ve come down N. Veitch and into Bayou,'” he said. “Technically, it could happen, especially if this is a freak medical emergency.”

Police announced last month that the rideshare driver who drove straight in to the long-time pub likely suffered a medical emergency and will not face charges.

Risk factors

There are a lot of factors that put people at risk near storefronts, according to Storefront Safety Council cofounder Rob Reiter.

“Outdoor dining is inherently more risky,” says Reiter. “Speeds are up everywhere and… you’re always one drunk away from someone accelerating into a crowd.”

Nationally, based on statistics the council has compiled from news reports, court records and studies, the most common reasons are operator error and pedal confusion, followed by drunk driving.

Storefront crash causes (via Storefront Safety Council)

In Arlington, of the serious crashes into a building, almost 30% involved a drunk driver, O’Brien said.

A driver suffering a “medical event” in a crash, as is believed to have happened with Four Courts, is fairly common, Reiter says. Council data indicate medical events make up 9% of storefront crashes.

The bigger issue here, Reiter said, is that the pub sits at a “T” intersection.

These are common in Arlington, in areas of low speed limits and multiple traffic signals and traffic signs, O’Brien said. The intersection ending in Ireland’s Four Courts “was and is being looked at for redesign, as is standard,” she added.

Another hairy traffic configuration is when perpendicular parking abuts the entrance to a store, said another Storefront Safety Council cofounder, Mark Wright, who was hit 14 years ago by a woman who rolled through a parking spot and into the 7-Eleven he was exiting.

While it is convenient, Wright said, “it’s a very risky parking arrangement and obviously parking is a critical component of any thriving, successful shopping center.”

Per Storefront Safety Council data, 23% of crashes involved retail stores and 19% involved restaurants.

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(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) The rideshare driver who plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts in August, seriously injuring several people, will not face charges.

Arlington County police reiterated this morning that the driver most likely suffered a medical emergency while driving up N. Courthouse Road and speeding into the front of the pub during a Friday happy hour.

“The comprehensive investigation, which included an extensive review of evidence, supported the conclusion the driver experienced a medical emergency prior to the crash,” ACPD said today in a brief update. “Following consultation with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, criminal charges will not be sought against the driver.”

All three pub-goers who were hospitalized with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries were out of the hospital as of one month ago. One patient was still in critical condition and two others were in stable condition within a week of the crash.

Four Courts’ managing partner told ARLnow today that the cleanup will start soon, now that police and private investigations have wrapped up, though no reopening date has been set. The pub suffered extensive fire damage after the car burst into flames.

“Uber investigators finished their investigation yesterday and we can now finally start the demolition process,” said Dave Cahill. “Once this is done we will know the extent of the damage. We are very grateful for the all the support from all community and from Arlington County as we start this process. We hoping to start the rebuild in a couple of months.”

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(Updated at 12:35 a.m.) A pedestrian has died after being struck in the Williamsburg neighborhood this morning.

The crash happened around 9 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Little Falls Road and John Marshall Drive. Initial reports suggest that that an older woman was struck by the driver of an SUV in or near a crosswalk, and that the woman was in cardiac arrest when she was rushed to a local trauma center.

We’re told that the victim was familiar to local residents and is often seen walking in the area.

Police were still on site investigating the crash well into the morning, with the scene surrounded by police tape. The driver of the SUV remained on scene.

At 11 a.m., a police spokeswoman told ARLnow that the victim, who was in her 80s, has died.

“She was pronounced deceased at the hospital and police remain on scene investigating the fatal crash,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Her identity is being withheld pending proper notification.”

This is the third fatal pedestrian crash along a two-block stretch of Little Falls Road near Nottingham Elementary School over the past eight years.

In 2014 a local mother unloading a minivan near the school was fatally struck by a passing dump truck, the driver of which was later charged with a traffic infraction. In September 2019, a 55-year-old Arlington woman was struck while walking her dogs in a crosswalk at the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Ohio Street; she later succumbed to her injuries in the hospital..

ACPD issued the following about the crash Saturday night, with the victim’s name plus a bit more information on the crash and how it happened.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood on the morning of Saturday, October 8.

At approximately 9:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries involving a pedestrian in the 5800 block of Little Falls Road. Upon arrival, officers located the pedestrian in the roadway suffering from serious injuries. She was transported by medics to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased. She has been identified as Gwendolyn Hayes, 85, of Arlington, VA.

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle turned left from John Marshall Drive onto Little Falls Road and struck the pedestrian as she was crossing the roadway in the crosswalk. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Galiatsos at [email protected] or 703-228-4163. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

Hat tip to Charlie Clark

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Eastbound I-66 at Exit 72 / Langston Blvd (via Google Maps)

Someone driving the wrong-way on I-66 in Arlington caused a crash that seriously injured three people, state police say.

The crash happened early this morning around 1:30 a.m., near one of the Langston Blvd exits between Rosslyn and Glebe Road.

“At approximately 1:23 a.m. Monday (Sept. 19), Virginia State Police received an emergency call concerning a vehicle driving west in the eastbound lanes of I-66,” VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller tells ARLnow. “As state troopers were responding, the wrong-way vehicle struck an eastbound vehicle head-on near Exit 72.”

“The driver of the wrong-way vehicle, and the driver and passenger in the eastbound vehicle were all transported to a nearby hospital for treatment for serious injuries,” Geller continued. “The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.”

ARLnow is awaiting an update on the condition of the three people seriously hurt in the crash.

Hat tip to Dave Statter. Photo via Google Maps.

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(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) The rideshare driver who crashed into Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse last month likely experienced “a medical emergency” before driving into the building, police say.

This preliminary explanation comes after Arlington County police previously ruled out drunk driving as well as malicious intent.

The crash set fire to the popular pub, situated next to the “T” intersection of N. Courthouse Road and Wilson Blvd, during a local company’s happy hour event. It triggered a large emergency response and road closures as people fled the fiery scene. More than a dozen people were hurt.

Police said today that all three pub-goers who were hospitalized with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries have now been released — a little over a month after they were admitted. One patient was still in critical condition and two others were in stable condition within a week of the crash.

The seriously injured people are expected to undergo a rehabilitation process as they continue to recover, we’re told.

In all, 15 people were injured, including nine brought to local hospitals. Of them, three were Four Courts employees hospitalized for less serious injuries, including smoke inhalation.

Four Courts Managing Partner Dave Cahill told ARLnow that the patrons who were seriously injured may not have survived but for other quick-thinking fellow pub-goers, including a volunteer firefighter, as well as first responders who arrived on scene just moments after the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers have been with them for this whole time,” Cahill said of the victims. “They’re regulars who come in here all the time… we’re happy that they’ve started the next stage of recovery.”

Building inspectors determined that Four Courts is structurally sound but not fit for occupancy due to the extensive damage.

The pub is planning to rebuild, funded in part by a now-closed GoFundMe campaign that blew well past its $50,000 goal, raising just over $95,000. Tonight, fellow Arlington Irish pub Samuel Beckett’s (2800 S. Randolph Street) is hosting a fundraiser and silent auction for Four Courts staff.

Cahill told ARLnow today that insurance and other matters are still being worked out before construction can begin that would allow at least part of the pub to reopen. If demolition starts soon, he said, the best case scenario would be reopening in late spring or early summer of 2023.

When the doors swing back open, he wants customers to feel like nothing has changed, and for regulars to request the same TV channels and sit in the same seats they’ve sat in for years.

“We’re going to work and recreate Four Courts as close back to the original as possible,” he said. “We don’t want people to walk in here and think they’re in a different place. Things will be updated, obviously, but we want people to feel at home in the Four Courts.”

The only thing that many repeat customers would miss would be their personal mugs. Four Courts had a mug club with more than 1,475 mugs people purchased; added their names, football team logos and family crests to; and drank from whenever they came in.

“We lost a lot of mugs,” he said. “When the fire came, it melted the mug and left the handle. We’re sad about that. That was a big part of the brand.”

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The woman who was injured after being pushed out of an SUV near Ballston (via GoFundMe)

(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) An arrest has been made in the case of a woman who was pushed out of a moving SUV near Ballston.

Maryna Kapovska, 25, suffered severe injuries in the May 15 incident, which happened on Wilson Blvd just west of N. Glebe Road. She has been undergoing rehabilitation, including for a traumatic brain injury, according to a GoFundMe page that has raised $50,000 to cover Kapovska’s expenses.

Arlington County police announced this afternoon (Wednesday) that a man has been arrested in the case, following a “thorough investigation,” though there’s still no word on an exact motive.

Willie Clements, a 59-year-old Maryland resident, is now facing several felony charges after being taken into custody on Friday by Arlington County Police Department tactical officers. Police say the victim entered his black SUV while waiting for a rideshare driver in D.C. around 3 a.m.

Clements “was not employed as a rideshare driver and was not operating in a for-hire status,” according to police.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is announcing the arrest of a suspect following an aggravated malicious wounding investigation in the Bluemont neighborhood. Willie James Clements, 59, of Upper Marlboro, MD is charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Grand Larceny and Hit and Run. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 3:06 a.m. on May 15, police were dispatched to the area of Wilson Boulevard at N. Vermont Street for the report of trouble unknown. The reporting party stated she was driving in the area when she observed a black SUV swerving and traveling at a high rate of speed. The passenger door to the vehicle then opened and the victim was pushed out onto the roadway. Responding officers located the female victim in the roadway and medics transported her to an area hospital with serious injuries.

The investigation revealed that earlier in the morning, the victim requested a rideshare service from the 800 block of Florida Ave NW, Washington D.C. to her residence in Arlington. While waiting for her driver to arrive, the suspect approached, the victim entered his vehicle and he drove away. The suspect was not employed as a rideshare driver and was not operating in a for-hire status.

Arlington County Police Department detectives conducted a thorough investigation including witness interviews and the review of crime scene and other evidence. The review resulted in additional information that led detectives to identify Willie James Clements as a suspect. Officers assigned to the department’s TAC Unit took the suspect into custody without incident on the afternoon of September 2.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow that the crime scene was “less than a mile” from where the victim lived. She was unable to say why the victim might have entered the suspect’s vehicle.

“This remains an active criminal investigation and to ensure the integrity of the prosecution, no additional details are available at this time,” Savage said.

Kapovska is originally from Ukraine and was quoted in news stories in February just before the Russian invasion.

“Our dad is defending our homeland while our mom had to flee the war to Germany,” her sister noted on the GoFundMe page.

Prior to the March incident, the 25-year-old attended a Ukrainian Orthodox church in Montgomery County weekly, sang in the choir, and posted regularly on Instagram to show support for her homeland, said a Montgomery County Media story.

As her rehabilitation continues — it’s expected to take 6-12 months, according to the GoFundMe page — she returned to Instagram two weeks ago after a long hiatus.

“Happy days,” Kapovska wrote in a post, with a photo from prior to her injuries. “Life divided into before and after. This is before, looking forward to after.”

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The four people reported to be seriously injured when a car plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts last night may not have survived but for the quick actions of fellow pub-goers and first responders.

That’s according to Dave Cahill, long-time manager of the Courthouse fixture, which remains closed after last night’s crash and fire.

At last check, the four critically injured people were still hospitalized, but the hope is all four will pull through, we’re told. Cahill tells ARLnow that all three Four Courts employees who were injured and brought to the hospital have since been released.

The crash happened around 6:45 p.m. Friday, as people were gathered near the front of the pub for a local company’s happy hour event.

A gray Toyota Camry — ARLnow has heard from multiple sources that it was being operated as a rideshare vehicle — reportedly came speeding up N. Courthouse Road and drove through the “T” intersection, slamming directly into the pub. It was nearly 20 feet inside the business, Cahill said, and started to catch fire almost immediately.

Quick-thinking customers sprang into action, coming from the back of the restaurant to the smoldering wreckage to help severely injured customers, the driver, and at least one passenger of the car, who was also hurt. Photos taken as fire started to engulf the car and the pub show several people carrying one man — who can be seen in a photo taken seconds earlier slumped over in front of the car — to safety outside.

Police and firefighters arrived on scene as employees and customers were still trying to flee the pub. Photos and a TikTok video show police officers running into Four Courts as smoke billowed out. In frantic police radio transmissions, first arriving officers requested “a lot of ambulances” and reported “a lot of people” still inside the restaurant as fire spread.

“It’s an image I’ll never forget,” said Cahill.

Without customers risking their own safety to save the injured, and without the lightning-fast response of police and medics — ACPD headquarters is a couple of blocks from Four Courts and a fire station is a short distance down Wilson Blvd — “it could have been a lot worse,” he said.

Also helping: the pub was significantly less crowded than usual for a Friday, a server told NBC 4.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was hurt,” said Cahill.  Asked about when the pub might reopen, Cahill said “we’re not thinking about it right now.”

Building inspectors determined that Four Courts is structurally sound but not fit for occupancy due to the extensive damage. Photos of the interior from this morning, shared with ARLnow, show a vast swath of charred flooring, fixtures and ceiling near the front of the pub.

The car, meanwhile, was removed from inside and hauled away on a flatbed tow truck early this morning. Video shows heavy front-end damage from the collision.

Cahill said management will start to assess repairs and future plans next week, but noted that the kitchen and the newer rear of the pub is largely intact. The current hope is that insurance will help to pay employees and keep them on staff.

A GoFundMe page, which Cahill says was set up by a regular customer, will also help. As of publication it has raised more than $7,500 of a $50,000 goal.

A total of 14 people were injured, including eight who were brought to local hospitals, police and fire officials said last night. There’s still no word on what led to the crash.

Update at 4 p.m. — The Arlington County police and fire departments just issued the following joint statement. Two of the victims remain in critical condition, the statement says, while the other two seriously injured people have been stabilized.

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(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) A portion of N. Glebe Road between Ballston and Langston Blvd was blocked this morning after a serious crash.

A car appears to have collided head-on with a motorcycle, seriously injuring the motorcycle rider. The exact circumstances around the crash are unclear.

The motorcyclist was reported to be conscious but “pretty banged up” when he was rushed to a local hospital. Both the striking car and the motorcycle were heavily damaged by the force of the collision.

Detectives remain on scene investigating. No charges have been filed as of yet.

The motorcyclist is expected to survive, according to police.

“At approximately 8:57 a.m. on August 3, police were dispatched to N. Woodrow Street at N. Glebe Road for the report of a two vehicle crash with injuries,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The motorcyclist has been transported to an area hospital with injuries considered serious but non-life threatening. The driver of the sedan remained on scene. Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash.”

Glebe Road was expected to remain at least partially blocked between N. Woodrow Street and Langston Blvd for much of the morning as a result of the investigation and the crash cleanup effort. It reopened shortly after 10:30 a.n.

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Morning Notes

Construction site in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Expanding Board Would Require State Action — “The Civic Federation’s TiGER (Task Force in Governance and Election Reform] body has recommended a number of changes to Arlington’s governance structure, including changing the election cycle. But the most basic tenet – increasing from five to seven the number of County Board members – could determine whether the Republican governor and House of Delegates want to play nice.” [Sun Gazette]

Serious Crash on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “Serious crash with one ejected on I-395S at Arlington Ridge Road. Fire, EMS & police appeared to be looking to make sure no else was thrown from the vehicle.” [Twitter]

Narcan Now Available at Arlington Libraries — “Starting this month, NARCAN nasal spray has been added to opioid overdose emergency boxes in all seven Arlington Public Library branches as part of the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative. The boxes are in public access points near the Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at most branches; at Aurora Hills and Glencarlyn, the boxes are in prominent places where employees can easily access them.” [Arlington County]

Cobbler Hoofing It Out of Town — “Sad to report that Best Foot Forward will move out of ⁦@PentagonRow⁩ at the end of June. Lease expires. They are relocating to Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria, about 5 miles from PRow. Good quality work + family-owned/operated.” [Twitter]

Doorways Partners with Doorbell Company — “A new initiative to provide enhanced safety tools to survivors of violence has been announced by Doorways. In partnership with Ring, Doorways – a social-safety-net agency in Arlington and Falls Church – will be distributing up to 1,000 video doorbells and security cameras to clients, along with a free subscription plan for the life of each device. In addition, Ring will also provide a monetary contribution to help amplify Doorways’ impact for survivors across the local areas.” [Sun Gazette]

Spotted in Venice — “The Gondola Now shirt has gone international.” [Twitter]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The woman who was injured after being pushed out of an SUV (via GoFundMe)

(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) The woman who was pushed out of a moving vehicle along Wilson Blvd near Ballston has a long road to recovery from her injuries, according to an online fundraiser.

The victim, 25, suffered a traumatic brain injury that required extensive surgery and left her in critical condition, her sister wrote on a GoFundMe page. Two weeks after the incident she was in stable condition but expected to require 6-12 months of recovery.

“The hospital bills and the rehab center will be very expensive, so we appreciate all the help we could get,” says the fundraising page, which has raised more than $40,000 towards its $50,000 goal.

The page notes that the victim is from Ukraine and her father is currently fighting in the war there.

“We are from Ukraine, so our dad is defending our homeland while our mom had to flee the war to Germany,” it says.

A GoFundMe spokesperson tells ARLnow that the fundraiser has been verified by the company’s Trust and Safety team.

The fundraiser sheds little light on the circumstances leading to the woman being pushed out of the vehicle.

“She was going home from a night out, but at 3am she was pushed out of a speeding car onto the [road] by an UNKNOWN DRIVER, and her phone was stolen,” it says. The Arlington County police crime report from last month said that a witness saw the woman pushed out of the passenger door of a black SUV, but no further description of the vehicle or the driver was given.

An ACPD spokeswoman said this morning that police are still investigating and seeking tips.

“The investigation into the incident is ongoing and detectives continue to follow up on investigative leads in the case,” said Ashley Savage. “No arrests have been made at this time.”

“Anyone with information that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” Savage added. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

The full fundraising message from the GoFundMe page is below.

Hi, my name is Polina – I’m Maryna’s sister.

On our dad’s 50-year anniversary, Maryna, 25 y.o., has been a victim of a SEVERE crime. She was going home from a night out, but at 3am she was pushed out of a speeding car onto the highway by an UNKNOWN DRIVER, and her phone was stolen. When the paramedics arrived, her skull bone was out in the open, she had bruises, scratches, and road rash all over her body… Doctors have performed two different surgeries on the brain right away – one lasted 5 hours, the other one lasted another 2,5 hours; and still she was in a critical condition.

Police called me and woke me up at 4am with these terrible news. My husband and I drove up to DC from NC right away. I am the only family Maryna has in the USA . We are from Ukraine, so our dad is defending our homeland while our mom had to flee the war to Germany. When I came to the hospital and saw Maryna, I didn’t recognize her. Her long beautiful hair was shaved, she had two huge ridges on both side of the head, plenty of tubes in her to keep her alive, she was pale and motionless…

The first few days were critical – people die from these injuries, and you don’t even need to be a doctor to understand that. The fact that she’s young made a big difference in this case, otherwise she wouldn’t have survived. She’s super smart and kind, and always helps people – she volunteered to help with the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, while working for an NGO. She has 2 masters degrees and speaks 4 languages fluently. It’s terrifying to think what would have happened if the ambulance didn’t arrive on time. This kind of crime is for horror movies, not for real life. Nobody deserves this.

Now it’s been about two weeks since the incident, and she is stable. Maryna would need about 6 months to a year to recover. The hospital bills and the rehab center will be very expensive, so we appreciate all the help we could get.

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