An Arlington truck driver was seriously hurt after his tractor-trailer suffered a mechanical problem and was struck from behind.
The crash, at 12:30 a.m. last Tuesday along the Beltway near Eisenhower Avenue, killed the 51-year-old driver of the Mercedes that struck the truck.
More from a Virginia State Police press release:
At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 12, 2023), Virginia State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in Fairfax County.
A tractor-trailer was experiencing mechanical issues that caused it to rapidly slow in speed while traveling east on I-495 near Exit 174. A 2003 Mercedes Benz traveling in the eastbound lane was unable to stop in time and struck the rear of the stopped tractor-trailer.
The driver of the Mercedes, Martin Warner Jr., 51, of Alexandria, Va., did not survive the crash. He was not wearing a seat belt.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 36-year-old Arlington, Va. resident, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries. He was wearing a seat belt.
The crash remains under investigation.
(Updated at 11 p.m.) A suspect in a truck crashed into multiple vehicles on I-66 and I-395, then led police on a wild chase in a stolen Arlington ambulance.
The incidents started shortly after 3:30 p.m., with reports of a stolen Freightliner truck striking vehicles on I-66 in the Rosslyn area and again on northbound I-395 just before the 14th Street Bridge. I-395 was blocked by the crashes and at least two people were hurt, including one with reported significant injuries.
The same hit-and-run suspect then allegedly stole another truck before hopping in and stealing an Arlington ambulance around 4:15 p.m. Medics tried to pull the suspect out of the ambulance but he drove off, leading Virginia State Police — followed by Arlington police — on a chase through parts of Crystal City and Pentagon City. The suspect struck numerous vehicles on the northbound HOV lanes of I-395 as he fled into D.C., according to Virginia State Police.
Eventually the ambulance was stopped on I-395 in southwest D.C. and the suspect taken into custody, according to Virginia State Police.
All northbound lanes of I-395, including HOV lanes, were blocked as of 4:45 p.m., with delays on the highway extending upwards of two miles. The HOV lanes reopened by 6:15 p.m. while crews continued to clear the crash scene in the still-blocked main lanes. As of 7:15 p.m. two main lanes had reopened, per VDOT.
At least 20 vehicles were damaged over the course of the hour-long string of incidents, including the ambulance, a VSP cruiser, a parked vehicle in D.C., vehicles on the GW Parkway and I-66, and well over a dozen vehicles on I-395.
Virginia State Police said in a press release Saturday night that the suspect is a 30-year-old Maryland man.
At 3:40 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12), Virginia State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of I-66 near the 74 mile marker. The truck that caused the crash fled the scene. The truck had been reported stolen out of Falls Church, Va., and the driver was later identified as Darell T. Caldwell, 30, of Brandywine, Md. The driver of the other vehicle involved in this crash was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
At 3:41 p.m., VSP responded to a multi-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-395 near Exit 10 in Arlington County. The crash was caused by the same stolen truck being driven by Caldwell. A total of five people were transported to a nearby hospital as a result of this crash. Meanwhile, Caldwell fled the crash scene on foot.
Minutes later, State Police received a report of a crash on the George Washington Parkway involving another truck being driven by Caldwell that was driving the wrong way when it struck another vehicle. An Arlington County Fire Department ambulance responding to I-395 came upon the crash on the GW Parkway. The ambulance stopped and the medics got out to render aid to the drivers. While the medics were tending to the one driver, Caldwell ran up to the ambulance and drove off in it.
The medics waved down a VSP trooper who was responding to the crash scenes to alert him to the stolen ambulance. The trooper caught up to the stolen ambulance. When the ambulance refused to stop for the trooper, a pursuit was initiated. At one point, the ambulance stopped in the road. As the trooper was getting out of his patrol car, Caldwell put the ambulance in reverse and rammed the state police vehicle and fled the scene.
The pursuit continued with Virginia State Police being assisted by Arlington County Police. During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance accessed the I-395 Express Lanes and then entered Washington, D.C., where it struck head-on a parked vehicle at 14th Street NW and D Street NW. State police and Arlington County Police took Caldwell into custody without further incident. Caldwell was transported to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation.
The parked vehicle that was struck by the ambulance was occupied by one person. That individual suffered minor injuries.
During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance struck multiple vehicles and again rammed the trooper’s patrol car. At this time, state police have accounted for and are investigating 13 hit-and-run crashes committed by the stolen ambulance. State police has not received any reports of serious injuries resulting from the crashes. No law enforcement were injured during the course of the pursuit. Anyone who was struck by the ambulance during the course of the pursuit is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026.
Caldwell has been charged by federal and local law enforcement. State police charges are still pending.
Videos of the crashes, the chase and the arrest are below.
MUST SEE: This is an enhanced video of the crash just before the bridge plus some of the stolen ambulance chase into DC. From @SafetyVid & @Statter911. Media DM me if interested in video. @ARLnowDOTcom #395rampage @TomJackmanWP pic.twitter.com/8KdrNRqjSw
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) August 12, 2023
MUST SEE: Stolen@ArlingtonVaFD
ambulance being chased into the I-395N express lanes at 4:25 pm. It plowed into multiple cars. That was 45 minutes after the truck smashed up cars in the main lanes. Media DM if interested in the video.@ARLnowDOTcom@TomJackmanWP#395rampage pic.twitter.com/PAgxh3VFge
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) August 12, 2023
Watch: This is a @VSPPIO trooper chasing @ArlingtonVaFD Ambulance 110 by himself from Crystal City into Pentagon City & onto I-395S (before coming back north). Trooper had his gun drawn & the ambulance briefly stopped on Crystal Drive. Via @safetyvid @ARLnowDOTcom #395rampage pic.twitter.com/yMC5lt4YA9
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) August 13, 2023
Video of arrest. We now record to protect everyone. We must call out all abuses, but also make sure those who do right & keep us safe get credit. tense chase up bridge, slammed into this car (looks like treasury worker) then clean, safe, arrest @VSPFiveM @wusa9 @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/PdWzY7m8y4
— Shari Gribbin (@DCShariG) August 12, 2023
UPDATE: The suspect was taken to an area hospital after the Arlington police officer administered Narcan. Also multiple patients were transported including the officer. We are on scene where the crash ended after the individual wrecked his truck before jacking another vehicle and… https://t.co/upGF8uiA4d pic.twitter.com/j9PQQhgfH8
— Killmoenetwork inc. (@Killmoenetwork) August 12, 2023
MUST SEE: This is the start of I-395N rampage. Truck got on at 110N. Hit vehicles before Boundary Channel. Plowed into at least 5 before the bridge. Driver ran off. Will show you the stolen ambulance chase shortly. @ARLnowDOTcom @MetrorailSafety @TomJackmanWP #395rampage pic.twitter.com/dQyewlLcRW
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) August 12, 2023
Earlier this afternoon an ACFD ambulance was stolen while on the scene of an emergency incident. The involved crew are unharmed and the unit has been recovered. Please direct media inquiries to @VSPPIO pic.twitter.com/6nwaogbEEH
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) August 12, 2023
Virginia State Police, assisted by Arlington County police, are searching the area around the Air Force Memorial for a suspect who fled a pursuit and crash.
Initial reports suggest that state police gave chase to a suspect seen driving the wrong way in or near the Pentagon south parking lot. That suspect then crashed his vehicle at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street, but fled on foot.
Police have established a perimeter and have called in the Fairfax County police helicopter to try to track down the suspect, according to scanner traffic and a flight tracking website.
The search was still in progress as of 11:45 p.m.
Two suspects led authorities on a three-hour-long pursuit by land and by water overnight.
The chase started around 1 a.m. in Crystal City, when a Virginia State Police trooper spotted a car with improper tags, which then fled from an attempted traffic stop. The chase made its way onto I-395 near the Pentagon, where the suspect’s car struck a police cruiser, according to Virginia State Police, after which the suspects fled on foot, chased by troopers.
The suspects ran toward Long Bridge Drive and eventually reached Roaches Run, where “the two subjects jumped into the water and began swimming” toward the GW Parkway, said VSP. A perimeter was established around the area and both the Fairfax County police and U.S. Park Police helicopters were called in to assist with the search for the suspects, who were by then trying to hide.
Arlington police and Park Police assisted on the ground during the incident.
Eventually, the suspects were spotted and, at 2:30 a.m., the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was dispatched to Roaches Run. The suspects were suffering from exposure to the cold water and were taken to a local hospital after being taken into custody by state troopers on an ACFD boat just before 4 a.m.
Update on 4/21/23 — Virginia State Police have released the following update on the investigation into Wednesday’s early morning chase, naming a male suspect who is now facing charges. A second, female vehicle occupant is so far not reported to be facing charges.
At approximately 12:59 a.m. Wednesday (April 19), a Virginia State Police Trooper alerted to a two-door Chrysler displaying improper registration (wrong license plates). When the trooper activated his emergency lights and sirens to attempt a traffic stop at 18th St. and S. Crystal Dr., the Chrysler refused to stop and sped away. A pursuit was initiated. The pursuit continued north on I-395 at which time state police attempted to contain the Chrysler as it was traveling on the right shoulder. The Chrysler struck one of the trooper’s vehicles, which caused both vehicles to spin around and collide a second time. The driver and passenger of the Chrysler then fled the scene on foot. With the assistance of Arlington County Police and Fairfax County Police resources, a search perimeter was established.
At approximately 1:55 a.m., troopers spotted the two subjects hiding near Roaches Run. As the troopers approached, the two subjects jumped into the water and began swimming across Roaches Run towards the GW Parkway. The U.S. Park Police responded to assist state police as the two subjects hid in the water to avoid detection and arrest.
Arlington County Fire and Rescue deployed its water rescue team and an adult male and a 23-year-old female were located and taken into custody without further incident. They were both transported to a nearby hospital for treatment due to their exposure to the cold water temperatures.
Bryant R. Mayo, 26, of Washington, DC, was charged with one felony count of eluding law enforcement and one felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash.
The incident remains under investigation.
While you slept: Here's the @VSPPIO chase from Crystal City that crashed on I-395N. 2 from the car ran through woods & then swam in Roaches Run to escape. It didn't work. Both hospitalized for exposure. @ARLnowDOTcom @SafetyVid @RealTimeNews10 #police #traffic #395cam #crime pic.twitter.com/hwsctywjSP
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) April 19, 2023
update: Fairfax and Eagle helicopters are searching for the females who fled troopers in a chase on I-395 after they crashed. They are in the marsh at Roaches Run. Fireboats coming too. @ARLnowDOTcom @HelicoptersofDC h/t @HCBright10 https://t.co/pgM4S4ydTy pic.twitter.com/3LEwD0u28z
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) April 19, 2023
A 26-year-old man from Vienna, Va. has died after crashing his Range Rover on I-66 early Saturday morning.
The crash happened around 3:30 a.m. in the Rosslyn tunnel. Virginia State Police say the driver was not wearing his seat belt and was likely traveling at an excessive speed.
A passenger suffered minor injuries in the rollover crash.
More from a VSP spokesperson, below.
At 3:37 a.m. on Saturday (March 3), Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on westbound I-66 at the Rosslyn Tunnel.
A 2018 Range Rover was traveling west on I-66 when it ran off the right side of the road and struck a jersey wall just before the tunnel. It then traveled into the tunnel and overturned.
The driver, Talaat B. Hamooh, 26, of Vienna, Va., died during transport. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
A passenger, Hussain A. Aljahdali, 29, of Arlington, Va., sustained minor injuries in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt.
Excessive speed is being investigated as a contributing factor in the crash. The crash remains under investigation.
A police chase ended last night in Arlington with a state trooper injured and the alleged fleeing driver in custody.
The chase started on I-395, when a Virginia State Police trooper’s automated license plate reader flagged a Cadillac that was wanted by Fairfax County police. During the chase, a trooper’s vehicle was rammed and crashed along northbound I-395 in Arlington.
The suspect then abandoned the car on the GW Parkway at Route 50, near the Roosevelt Bridge, according to state police. He was subsequently taken into custody and identified as a 31-year-old D.C. man.
More from a VSP press release today, below.
At 8:55 p.m., a Virginia State Police trooper’s automated license plate reader (ALPR) alerted to a 2006 Cadillac sedan that Fairfax County Police was looking for. The trooper activated his emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop, but the Cadillac refused to pull over and sped away northbound on I-395. A pursuit was initiated.
As state police attempted to contain the vehicle to bring it to a stop, the Cadillac rammed one of the trooper’s vehicles. The impact caused the trooper’s vehicle to run off the side of the interstate and strike the Jersey wall. The Cadillac, meanwhile, kept going.
The pursuit ended when the Cadillac stopped on the George Washington Parkway near Route 50. The driver fled on foot. The driver was apprehended a short time later and taken into custody. A passenger was also taken into custody and later released. A handgun was recovered from inside the Cadillac.
State police charged the driver of the Cadillac, Nelson Bowman, 31, of Washington, D.C., with one felony malicious wounding on law enforcement, one felony assault of a law enforcement officer, one felony count of eluding police, one felony count of illegal possession of a concealed firearm, one felony count of hit and run, one felony count of destruction of property and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice
The trooper who struck the Jersey wall was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.
The investigation remains ongoing.
The suspect is facing a half dozen felony charges, from eluding to assault on police to a gun charge.
He has previous criminal convictions, including an Arlington home break-in for which he received prison time and was currently on probation, according to court records cited by a Twitter user who tweets about public safety incidents.
Wanted driver by #FCPD, Nelson Bowman arrested by @VSPPIO last evening is a career criminal w/long history in VA/MD. Previous penitentiary time & jail time served, currently on 5 years probation from penitentiary release last year. @ARLnowDOTcom #DMVCrime @RealTimeNews10 pic.twitter.com/nSWloGrhYt
— Romeo (@RVANOVA01) February 9, 2023
Carjackings appear to be rising again in Arlington and across the D.C. area.
An uptick between 2019 and 2020 spurred Arlington County Police Department to focus prevention efforts on robbery, burglary and destruction of property incidents. Increased enforcement in 2021 resulted in fewer carjackings, after ACPD made two significant carjacking arrests, per ACPD’s 2021 annual report.
“The combination of the collaboration and the education and proactive work that ACPD did reduce the carjackings and then reduced the stealing of cars in general,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, who participated in a regional effort to crack down on carjackings during that time. “With that reduction, less collaboration was needed, but we are working together to make sure that we’re doing the same coordination as before with other jurisdictions.”
But now the crime — in which a person steals a victim’s car by force, threat or intimidation — seems to be ticking up again, with five carjackings in January 2023 compared to zero carjackings in January 2022 and 14 throughout the 2022 calendar year, according to stats provided by ACPD.
Meanwhile, across the river in D.C., one Arlingtonian was carjacked near Union Station and another resident’s Rolls Royce was stolen near Logan Circle, according to police reports.
Dehghani-Tafti said the social science data shows the certainty of being caught is the strongest deterrent from people committing crimes, but deterrence can be harder with carjacking.
“These can be hard crimes to solve because people get away so fast and cars change hands so quickly, they take a lot of collaboration and coordination and proactive action,” she said.
Law enforcement and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney say they’re devoting more resources to combat these crimes.
ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage says the department “continues to deploy increased police resources, to include both visible and non-visible assets, in Crystal City and the surrounding neighborhoods to address this crime trend.”
“The Arlington County Police Department remains a member of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force which coordinates on offenses such as carjackings,” she said. “As part of our ongoing investigative efforts into these incidents, detectives are working collaboratively with our regional law enforcement partners to share information, identify trends, apprehend suspects and hold them accountable for their actions.”
Dehghani-Tafti, meanwhile, is meeting with a division of Virginia State Police on vehicle thefts, generally.
Two units in the VSP Fairfax Division are “partnering to take a more concentrated and analytical look at vehicle thefts within the Northern Virginia region,” state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. “This is not uncommon for state police to do, as we consistently look for ways to address any crime patterns that develop and identify ways to strategically address and resolve them.”
Of the five reported carjackings last month in Arlington, four were in the Crystal City and Pentagon City areas — where many such incidents were concentrated during the last spree — and three involved BMWs.
“In recent cases, carjacking suspects have generally approached victims as they were inside their idling parked vehicles, brandished a firearm and demanded the victim’s keys and property,” per an Arlington police press release, sent in response to the uptick. “In some cases, the suspects approach the victim by pulling alongside them in a vehicle, which is later determined to be stolen. Reported incidents in Arlington have generally involved multiple suspects.”
While some are threatened with guns, other victims are attacked when they exit their cars.
On Jan. 27, a Columbia Pike resident was exiting his car near Union Station in D.C. to let out an Uber customer when he was attacked and the attacker drove away in his car. The victim and another driver idling behind him chased the alleged carjacker for nearly a mile. Stuck behind a dump truck, the suspect reversed the stolen car and hit the pursuing car. The duo apprehended the suspect but ultimately let go, citing fear for their safety and a growing crowd, according to a Metropolitan Police Department incident report.
The car was later returned to the owner.
Arlington police issued the following safety tips for residents in response to the recent spate of carjackings.
- When inside your vehicle, keep your doors locked and windows up
- Exit your vehicle and continue to your destination promptly after parking
- Be aware of your surroundings when entering and exiting your vehicle
- Limit your use of devices that may distract you, such as cell phones and headphones
- Don’t leave items unattended or visible in your vehicle
One woman’s story
Some two-and-a-half years ago, then-Alexandria resident Lauren Brown was similarly attacked while waiting to turn left onto S. Glebe Road near the Harris Teeter in Potomac Yard. She told ARLnow her experience as a cautionary tale.
A group of 18-year-olds in a stolen car hit Brown. After pleading with her not to call the police — with whom she was already on the phone — they drove away. They returned, and one occupant hit her while the other got in her car and they drove away.
“It’s a really crazy thing what adrenaline does to your body,” she said. “I didn’t feel [the injury] until a few days later.”
(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) A theft suspect in a U-Haul managed to flee from police in Pentagon City last week.
The theft happened just before 4 p.m. at or near the Pentagon Row shopping center. The suspect, a woman, reportedly stole a large quantity of clothing and beauty items before fleeing in a rental truck driven by second suspect, a man.
An Arlington sheriff’s deputy then spotted the truck stopped near Virginia Highlands Park and took the driver into custody, at which time the female suspect allegedly started driving off. Arlington officers followed the truck onto I-395 but did not give chase after the driver refused to pull over, given police department policies about chasing non-violent suspects.
Virginia State Police appear to have caught up to the truck as it traveled south in the I-395 Express Lanes, based on traffic camera feeds viewed by ARLnow at the time, but it is unclear what happened after that.
A Virginia State Police spokeswoman deferred to Arlington County police for comment. An Arlington police spokeswoman deferred comment on the actions of the VSP troopers.
“I can’t speak to specifics regarding Virginia State Police and would defer to their agency for additional information,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
ACPD released the following report about the incident.
LARCENY, 2022-12080166, 1100 block of S. Joyce Street. At approximately 3:57 p.m. on December 8, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined the female suspect allegedly entered a business, concealed merchandise and exited without paying. An employee observed the female suspect enter a rental truck, driven by the male suspect, and flee the area. A responding officer located the vehicle stopped in the area of 15th Street S. and S. Hayes Street and took the male suspect, who was outside the vehicle, into custody without incident. The female suspect, who had [remained] inside the rental truck, then fled the scene in the vehicle. A lookout was broadcast and an Arlington County Sheriff’s deputy observed the suspect vehicle traveling on S. Hayes Street and attempted a traffic stop. The female suspect refused to stop and fled onto I-395. The suspect is described as a White female, 30 – 40 years old, with brown curly hair, wearing jeans, a multicolor sweater and black shoes. Attempts to identify the male suspect were unsuccessful and he was booked as a John Doe on charges of Grand Larceny, Identity Theft and Public Intoxication. The investigation is ongoing.
Thanksgiving week is here and, based on past polls, that means about 45% of you are traveling.
Our 2015 morning poll on the topic found that most local Thanksgiving travelers — about 75% — will do so by car, while 20% will travel by plane.
With that in mind, we have three key tips for Thanksgiving road and air travelers.
1. If driving, leave earlier or later in the day
Expect plenty of traffic if you’re planning to drive to your destination on Wednesday, but you can avoid some of it by leaving earlier in the morning or later at night. The same applies for those driving back on Saturday or Sunday.
“Based on the traffic data, periods of heavy congestion are most likely to occur from mid-morning to evening on Wednesday, Nov. 23, afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26, and all day on Sunday, Nov. 27,” said a VDOT press release last week.
Based on a VDOT map of past travel trends, there is likely to be a fair amount of traffic in and out of Northern Virginia on Tuesday as well, particularly around the evening rush hour.
VDOT will be suspending most work zones and lane closures from Nov. 23-28, but that will only marginally ease the traffic onslaught.
2. Reserve your airport parking now
However, you’re unlikely to find much — if any — parking by the time Wednesday rolls around. Fortunately, as of publication, online reservations were still available for Terminal 2 and economy parking.
Meanwhile, if you’re flying out of Dulles International Airport, don’t forget that the new Silver Line extension to Dulles is now open.
3. Drive carefully (and if you don’t, State Police might stop you)
With so many people on the roads, sometimes after having a few drinks, Thanksgiving weekend is sadly a time of many serious crashes nationwide.
That’s why authorities regularly encourage drivers to be extra careful this time of year.
Virginia State Police announced this morning that it would be conducting extra patrols and enforcement for Thanksgiving. More from a press release, below.
For many Virginians, gathering with family and friends is the true meaning for Thanksgiving. Some will even travel long distances to share in these wonderful family moments. Just as important as it is to make sure those pies and casseroles make it to the dinner table safely, motorists need to make their own safety a priority, as well. Virginia State Police is reminding all drivers and passengers of all ages to buckle up this holiday weekend. Preliminary data show that 54% of those who have died in traffic crashes this year were not wearing a seatbelt or safety restraint.*
“The fact that more than half of those who have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year were not wearing a seatbelt is a tragic and inexcusable reality for Virginia,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Your family wants you to arrive safely and clicking a seatbelt can help that happen. Virginia State Police and your loved ones want you to arrive at your destination safely – ditch distractions, comply with posted speed limits, never drive buzzed or drunk, and, again, always buckle up.”
(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) All but one lane of northbound I-395 was blocked just before the 14th Street Bridge after a police chase ended in a big crash.
The crash happened around 3 p.m., and followed scanner reports that Virginia State Police were pursuing a vehicle northbound on I-395. According to initial reports, the suspect vehicle rear-ended another driver just before the bridge.
Debris and police activity had most of the highway blocked.
Four people from the suspect vehicle were taken into custody. Medics responded to evaluate them, the driver who was rear-ended, and a state trooper for possible injuries.
It was not immediately clear what led to the chase. Virginia State Police will often give chase when a driver tries to flee, even if only for traffic charges, while local police departments including Arlington’s typically require more serious charges in order to authorize a pursuit.
A number of chases originating in Fairfax County have sped through Arlington on I-395 in recent weeks.
The end of the chase was captured on video by Pentagon City-based public safety watchdog Dave Statter.
#CaughtOnCamera: @VSPPIO high speed chase I-395N. Crashed into a car & guardrail at Boundary Channel. Sources say #police found guns & drugs in car. @ARLnowDOTcom @WTOPtraffic @charlienbc @phscoop @RealTimeNews10 @AllisonPapson @breakingnews123 @tomroussey7news @TomJackmanWP pic.twitter.com/TTJFSLuOYZ
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) November 14, 2022
Later Monday, a Virginia State Police spokesperson released the following statement on the chase and the arrests.
At 2:54 p.m. this afternoon on northbound I-395 near the Duke St. exit, Virginia State Police initiated a traffic stop for reckless driving on a 2020 Dodge Charger.
After the Trooper initiated the traffic stop, the Charger accelerated at a high rate of speed and a pursuit ensued. After reaching speeds in excess of 110 miles-per-hour, the pursuit ended near the exit for Boundary Channel Dr. where the Charger collided with another vehicle and then struck the guardrail.
Virginia State Police detained four individuals and recovered three firearms, including a “ghost gun,” as well as suspected narcotics. All firearms were loaded and had ammunition in the chamber.
The driver of the second vehicle was treated at the scene for minor injuries suffered in the crash.
Charges are pending… The pursuit and crash remain under investigation.
A number of police chases initiated outside the county have careened through Arlington this month.
An armed robbery last Tuesday at the Home Depot in Seven Corners resulted in a police chase up I-395 before the driver got stuck in traffic approaching the 14th Street Bridge and tried to escape on foot at the exit for the GW Parkway.
Here's another view of the @FairfaxCountyPD chase of robbery suspects into Arlington that shut I-395N yesterday. The suspects got stuck in 14th St. Bridge traffic & #police boxed them in. @ARLnowDOTcom @matthewyoung31 @RealTimeNews10 #traffic #vatraffic #dctraffic #395cam pic.twitter.com/FFGXHL76wb
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) October 19, 2022
In another chase last week, Fairfax County police initiated a chase after a cruiser was struck in Lincolnia.
Two weeks ago, the Alexandria police department followed a car into Arlington and Virginia State Police joined the pursuit — until the driver escaped across the river into D.C. and the chase was called off.
#caughtoncamera: Just before noon, an @AlexandriaVAPD officer followed a car reported to be connected to a felony into Arlington on I-395. The car ran & escaped into DC as @VSPPIO tried to stop it. @ARLnowDOTcom @HCBright10 @charlienbc @RealTimeNews10 #police #traffic #vatraffic pic.twitter.com/dZ5j71t7Ej
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) October 11, 2022
Public safety watchdog Dave Statter keeps records of most these chases from his perch in Pentagon City. While there has been a recent mini-rash of Fairfax County-initiated pursuits, he tells ARLnow this is a less common phenomenon compared to VSP chases.
“From my experience, those two recent chases by Fairfax County Police into Arlington are more of the exception that the rule,” said Statter. “In fact, they are so infrequent I had to put in a new folder in my police video file for FCPD.”
The same night as the Lincolnia chase, Statter said state police troopers were pursuing someone, too.
“Just a few minutes earlier, VSP chased and stopped someone on I-395 N near Washington Blvd,” Statter wrote. “VSP was still working that one when the FCPD chase went by. They had a little warning from the dispatcher and a couple of troopers joined in.”
(2) The @FairfaxCountyPD chase passed by the scene of a @VSPPIO chase that ended 10-minutes earlier when troopers boxed in a vehicle on I-395N at Route 27 & made an arrest. Some of those troopers joined in the second chase as Fairfax officers passed by.
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) October 18, 2022
Other VSP chases through Arlington happened on Saturday and in the early hours this morning. In the early Wednesday morning chase, VSP was following a car in connection to catalytic converter thefts in Fairfax County. On Saturday, VSP was chasing a possibly stolen car.
Recent chases involving or started by VSP that went through Arlington — including those this month — concluded with the cars escaping across the Potomac River and into D.C. Often, state police abandons pursuit once the person being chased reaches the jurisdictional line.
While you slept: Two videos showing a 12:30 a.m. chase of a car #police were looking for following catalytic converter thefts in Fairfax County. It escaped across the Potomac. @ARLnowDOTcom @HCBright10 #police #traffic #vatraffic #395cam #statcam https://t.co/EolA0LR48a pic.twitter.com/cGiypFX0Cu
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) October 26, 2022
The reason for this is that VSP has relatively loose restrictions for starting a chase, but they tighten when troopers reach state lines.
“Sworn employees may initiate a pursuit when a driver fails to stop after the sworn employee has given a lawful order to stop by activating emergency lights and/or siren,” according to Virginia State Police policy.
Anyone under pursuit for a possible misdemeanor or traffic violation is almost always in the clear if they can cross the 14th Street Bridge.
Meanwhile, Fairfax’s back-to-back chases come 13 months after the police department rolled out new, more restrictive guidance for when officers can chase suspects.
Effective September 2021, Fairfax County eliminated pursuits for misdemeanors, traffic violations and nonviolent felonies. Now, police conduct chases within Fairfax County and within Virginia for violent felonies, serious crimes with the threat or use of a firearm or explosive device, and at the authorization of a commander.
Fairfax officers join chases when they meet the department’s criteria, and officers can only pursue a car into D.C. or Maryland if the driver or passenger has attempted or is wanted for a felony crime.
Prior to the decision, Fairfax had one of the most liberal chase policies in the D.C. area, according to a police presentation from spring 2021. At the time, officials said the updated guidelines would bring the county in line with chase policies throughout the region.
“FCPD updated several pertinent policies in 2021 to further align the department with national best practices; improve officer and community safety and ensure our commitment to transparency,” according to the department’s annual crime summary for 2021. “The most significant revision included a modification to the traffic pursuit policy, which now focuses on apprehending offenders who pose the greatest risk to our community and doing so with an eye on safety.”
Arlington has similar police chase policies: those wanted for relatively minor crimes are usually allowed to flee an attempted traffic stop without a chase, while violent criminals may be pursued, as happened earlier this month after an armed suspect firing shots at police was chased from Arlington to Fairfax County. Arlington’s policy follows a lawsuit nearly 40 years ago by a man who lost his legs when struck in D.C. by bank robbery suspects being chased at high speed by an ACPD officer.