Update at 4:20 p.m. — Metro has released its latest service plan for Monday night into Tuesday. The Metrorail system will be open Tuesday and will operate on a Saturday schedule. Buses will start the day operating on a severe service plan, according to WMATA.
Arlington County, Virginia State Police and other local jurisdictions and agencies are bracing for the late-season snowstorm that’s expected to bring several inches of snow and sleet to our region starting tonight.
After-school activities and sporting events are being cancelled en masse tonight and officials are preparing for what may be a messy commute at best or major travel disruptions at worst tomorrow. In addition to problems on the roads, widespread flight cancellations are also expected at local airports.
From Kathryn O’Brien at Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services:
Arlington County will fully-mobilize crews this afternoon to combat the snow beginning tonight into Tuesday. In preparation for the storm, crews pretreated roads over the weekend.
During the storm, our priority is to keep main arteries passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation. After the storm, cleanup operations begin, which includes treating ice on the roadways. Plowing generally begins when snow is two-four inches deep. If more than six inches of snow falls, we will plow some residential areas at the same time as arterial roadways in phase two. (Learn more about our phases).
The County’s Snow Removal Ordinance requires all Arlington property owners to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property within a certain time frame. Here are some other ways residents can help with our snow removal efforts:
- Coordinate with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street, where feasible, or avoid on-street parking so snowplow operators can efficiently clear more of the streets
- Don’t park “head in” on cul-de-sacs so that plows have more room to maneuver
- Clear your sidewalks and scoop snow towards your house, not the street
- Wait for snow plows to come by before clearing snow from the front of driveways, to minimize the amount pushed back by plows
- Stay home, telework or use mass transit to reduce the number of potentially stranded vehicles
- Apply only the recommended amount of chemical de-icers on sidewalks to attain a safe and passable way
We encourage residents to stay connected through our Snow and Ice Central webpage and our DES social media platforms for updates on snow phases, transportation, trash and other important notifications. Follow us on Twitter @ArlingtonDES and on Facebook at Arlington County Environmental Services.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, has declared a State of Emergency in advance of the storm, saying that “Virginians should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for travel disruptions and possible power outages during a cold weather period.”
From Virginia State Police:
Virginia State Police will have all available troopers and supervisors working in advance of and the duration of the storm as it makes its way across the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.
If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:
- Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, to include standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better.
- Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a storm, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
- Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
- Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during inclement weather are caused by vehicles sliding off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
- Put down your phone. Having to drive in severe snow or rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as these actions put you, your passengers and other vehicles at extreme risk of a crash and/or injury.
- Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
- Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.
For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone, download the App or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website at www.511virginia.org.
More via Twitter:
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) March 13, 2017
Here is the latest forecast of snow amounts across the region from 3pm Monday through 8pm Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/JCS0UNmzc9
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) March 13, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 13, 2017
There is an “ongoing and active criminal investigation” happening today at a Columbia Pike apartment building.
Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement executed a search warrant this morning at Dominion Towers (1201 S. Courthouse Road), in connection with a criminal investigation, a police spokeswoman said.
“Police are executing an ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) search warrant in the 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “Virginia State Police and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents are assisting in the execution of the search warrant. This investigation is not related to ICE’s immigration enforcement.”
A neighbor who witnessed the law enforcement activity said a mobile command center and a Chevrolet Suburban with a sign reading “OFFICIAL ICE BUSINESS” were parked outside the building around 6:30 a.m. The neighbor described “residents shuffling into that RV in their pajamas.”
Police are not releasing additional information about the investigation at this time, Savage said.
Update at 9:30 a.m. — The suspect has been found hiding under a car in the area of N. Quinn Street and 18th Street N. and has been taken into custody, according to scanner traffic.
Update on 1/19/17 — Virginia State Police have issued the following updated statement regarding the chase and the suspect’s apprehension.
At 8:48 a.m., Wednesday (Jan. 18), Virginia State Police Sgt. C.J. Szupinka was conducting stationary HOV enforcement when he observed a 2005 Ford Focus entering the eastbound I-66 HOV lane at the 71 mile marker. The Ford was in violation of the HOV+2 regulation, as it had only one occupant. Sgt. Szupinka motioned to the driver, John R. Johnson III, to stop. Johnson pulled over in front of the sergeant’s patrol car. But as the sergeant approached on foot, the Ford kept rolling forward and then pulled away and into the mainlines of eastbound I-66. A pursuit was initiated with the Ford reaching speeds of up to 100 mph.
The Ford Focus took Exit 73 and due to its reckless driving and speed, the sergeant discontinued the pursuit for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. Minutes later the vehicle was located abandoned on Nash Street near Lee Highway. The keys were still in the ignition and the engine was still running when the sergeant found it. Johnson had fled on foot.
With the assistance of Arlington County Police, State Police set up a perimeter and began searching for the subject by foot and through the use of a Virginia State Police K9 team. At 9:27 a.m., Arlington County Police discovered Johnson hiding under a vehicle in a parking garage near 19th and Quinn streets. Johnson was taken into custody without further incident.
Johnson, 44, of Maryland, was charged with one felony count of eluding police, reckless driving, the HOV violation and driving on a suspended license. He is being held without bond at the Arlington County Jail.
Earlier: Police have swarmed the area around N. Nash Street and the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn to search for a driver who led Virginia State Police on a morning rush hour chase.
Initial reports suggest that state police were pursuing the suspect on I-66 for an HOV violation. The suspect exited the highway at Rosslyn and bailed out near the hotel.
Police are establishing a perimeter as they try to locate the suspect, who’s described as a black male wearing jeans and a gray hoodie.
Photos by Samantha Moore
(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) The northbound lanes of I-395 are partially blocked just past Glebe Road, approaching the Pentagon, after a police chase ended in the middle of the highway.
Initial reports suggest the car was being chased for an assault on law enforcement, possibly as a result of the car ramming a Fairfax County Police cruiser.
Fairfax County Police and Virginia State Police officers chased the car up I-395 until it reportedly lost control and was boxed in by several police cruisers. The chase ended around 12:25 p.m. Arlington County officers trailed the chase and helped to assist with traffic control, according to scanner traffic.
Three occupants of the car were instructed to come out with their hands up, and were arrested at police gunpoint without further incident. No word yet on what charges they may face.
As of 12:35 p.m., one lane of northbound I-395 had reopened to traffic after being completely blocked for a short time.
Update at 11:30 p.m. — The chase started when officers tried to pull over the car in connection to a theft from a department store in Tysons Corner, according to Fairfax County Police.
Around 11:40 a.m. today (Tuesday, December 6), the Tysons Urban Team (TUT) team was investigating a larceny case at a department store in Tysons Corner Center. The suspects fled in a car. Officers located it nearby and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver did not stop and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit traveled out of Fairfax County. Virginia State Police and Arlington County Police assisted us.The pursuit ended along I-395 and Washington Street. Initial information determined three people were taken into custody.
A wild police chase that started on I-66 has ended in Arlington.
Virginia State Police were chasing two motorcyclists who refused to stop after one was reportedly involved in a crash on the highway, according to scanner traffic.
The pursuit continued into Arlington and the motorcyclists took the Glebe Road exit into Ballston. With a Fairfax County Police helicopter overhead tracking their movement, the bikers briefly stopped in Ballston and then made their way north, past the area of Washington-Lee High School and onto Lee Highway, according to police radio traffic.
One of the suspects was reportedly taken into custody after he damaged his motorcycle and tried to flee on foot into the woods at the intersection of Spout Run Parkway and Lorcom Lane.
The other continued to flee down residential streets, allegedly driving onto front lawns and zooming past pedestrians. By apparent coincidence, the motorcyclist rode right by where the first suspect was arrested, and was himself then stopped and taken into custody on Spout Run Parkway
Police temporarily closed portions of the parkway to traffic during the incident.
Virginia State Police pursued the suspects through the county; per Arlington County Police policy against chasing suspects for minor crimes, ACPD units were instructed not to pursue.
Update at 12 p.m. on 5/30 — The victim has been identified by state police as Craig A. Vanbrunt, 66, of Pendleton, Indiana. The crash remains under investigation.
Notes VSP: “The crash did NOT occur during the Rolling Thunder Ride. Mr. Vanbrunt was part of a group that had participated in the ride earlier in the day — but they had completed their participation and were headed out when the crash occurred.”
Earlier: A motorcyclist was killed Sunday afternoon in a crash on westbound I-66 near Rosslyn.
From Virginia State Police:
At 4:13 p.m. Sunday (May 29, 2016), Virginia State Police Trooper M.D. Hart responded to a single-vehicle crash in Arlington County. The crash occurred in the westbound lanes of I-66 at the 74 mile marker.
A group of motorcycles were traveling in the westbound lanes of I-66 when they came upon stopped traffic approaching the Rosslyn Tunnel. One of the motorcycles was unable to brake in time and lost control. The motorcycle crashed and its rider, who was wearing a helmet, fell from the bike.
The adult, male motorcyclist was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died later Sunday evening.
State police are still in the process of notifying his next of kin.
The crash remains under investigation.
For the second time in two months, a police chase from I-66 has ended in East Falls Church.
The vehicle pursuit began around 2:45 a.m., when a Virginia State Police trooper pulled over a Nissan Xterra that was heading east on I-66 at a high rate of speed.
“During the course of the traffic stop, the Nissan fled from the trooper and headed east on I-66. The suspect vehicle took Exit 68 and the trooper lost sight of it,” according to a VSP press release. “As the Nissan came through the exit ramp, it ran off the road, went through a fence, struck a tree and then an unoccupied vehicle in a parking lot. The driver then fled the scene on foot.”
Arlington County and Fairfax County police helped to search for the driver, who was apprehended just before 4 a.m. after being found “behind a trash can” at the East Falls Church Metro station.
The man, 21-year-old Artis Thomas, Jr. of Washington, D.C., was taken into custody “without further incident” and locked up in the Arlington County Detention Center. He was charged with ” DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs), felony eluding law enforcement, possession of a concealed weapon, hit-and-run, and possession of marijuana,” according to VSP.
Police say they recovered a handgun from Thomas’ vehicle.
State police say 652 lives have been lost on Virginia’s roads and highways this year, compared to 633 at this time last year.
“State police are very concerned about the safety of the Commonwealth’s highways,” VSP said in a press release (below, after the jump). “To counter the increase in traffic crashes and fatalities caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints, state police will once again be participating in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.).”
VSP says motorists can expect to see an increase in troopers on the road between today and Sunday night.
During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, state police cited 9,856 speeders, 2,315 reckless drivers, 706 seat belt law violators, and 91 DUI drivers.
With travel forecasts calling for a record volume of Thanksgiving week traffic, the Virginia State Police are issuing a challenge to all drivers and passengers – Drive to Save Lives.
During the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday counting period, eight fatal traffic crashes claimed eight lives. That was Virginia’s lowest death toll for a Thanksgiving weekend in over a decade. But, with current reports showing the 2015 fatality rate for Virginia at 652 lives lost compared to 633 this time last year*, state police are very concerned about the safety of the Commonwealth’s highways. To counter the increase in traffic crashes and fatalities caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints, state police will once again be participating in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.), a state-sponsored, national program.
“State police will have the majority of its uniformed workforce on patrol from Wednesday through Sunday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Our goal is not to see how many summonses can be issued and traffic violators arrested over the holiday. The purpose of having our troopers out there on Virginia’s highways is to remind the motoring public of the importance of traffic safety, and to deter aggressive, dangerous, reckless, and impaired driving. We are prepared to do our job to make Virginia safer and we thank those people already driving to save lives. But, as evident by the spike in traffic deaths this year, we still need more drivers and passengers to do their part by buckling up, complying with speed limits, sharing the road, and never driving impaired or distracted.”
Motorists can expect to see an increase in troopers throughout the Commonwealth beginning Nov. 25, 2015, at 12:01 a.m., and continuing through midnight Nov. 29, 2015. As a result of drivers failing to obey the law during the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday in Virginia, state troopers had to stop and cite 9,856 speeders and 2,315 reckless drivers. In addition, 706 adults were cited for failing to buckle up as required by state law. Troopers also issued 206 citations for child safety seat violations. A total of 91 drivers were arrested for DUI.
Virginia State Police are also participating in the ongoing national Click It or Ticket Mobilization, which concludes the Monday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26, 2015). Of the eight who died last year in traffic crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, six were not wearing seat belts. Virginia is aiming to achieve a seat belt use rate of at least 82.1 percent in 2015.
With the increase of emergency personnel on the highways, Virginia State Police reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. A life-saving law intended to protect public safety responders and others who have a responsibility to work the roads. Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.
*Jan. 1, 2015-Nov. 23, 2015 compared to Jan. 1, 2014-Nov. 23, 2014, Virginia State Police
Another Jury Duty Scam — Scammers are once against targeting Arlington residents with phony phone calls about jury duty. At least 15 cases were reported in September of residents receiving calls from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer and demanding a “good faith” payment over the phone for failing to appear for jury duty. The calls are fraudulent and police are investigating. [Arlington County]
Deaf Inmate’s Lawsuit Against Arlington — A deaf Ethiopian immigrant says the six weeks he spent in the Arlington County jail was torturous. Abreham Zemedagegehu has a limited ability to read or write English, and as a result missed meals and went without needed pain medication during his stay. A lawsuit against the county, filed pro bono by the law firm Akin Gump, says the jail should have had a sign language interpreter. [Washington Post]
Arlington Wages on the Rise — Wages for those who work in Arlington rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, higher than the national average of 2.1 percent. Arlington has the 10th highest wages among the largest 342 counties in the U.S. [InsideNova]
New Process Proposed for New Schools — The county’s Community Facilities Study Committee has made recommendations for a new “siting process” for new and expanded schools and county facilities. “The siting process is intended to improve upon current practices and function as a project management tool to make siting decisions efficiently, effectively and with ample community input,” according to a press release. [Arlington County, Arlington Public Schools]
Lots of Debates for County Board Candidates — The four Arlington County Board candidates are scheduled to participate in 14 debates in various parts of the county by the time election day rolls around in November. [Washington Post]
Va. State Police Cruisers Hacked — Computer security experts were able to hack into Virginia State Police vehicles, preventing the cars from starting or moving. The hacks were done as a security measure, as part of a state initiative to prevent future hacks of Virginia’s fleet of police cruisers and official vehicles. [Dark Reading]
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month — Today is Oct. 1, the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “The Arlington County Police Department has partnered with Doorways for Women and Families, our community advocate, to bring attention to this worthy cause,” according to a press release. During October, many ACPD vehicles will display a purple ribbon donated by Doorways. Last year, Arlington police were called to 2,086 incidents of domestic violence, resulting in 196 arrests. [Arlington County]
The 1-395 overpass above S. Glebe Road will now be known as the Trooper Jacqueline Vernon Memorial Bridge.
Vernon was the first female and black Virginia State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty. She was hit by a commuter bus on I-395 as she stopped a car for an HOV lane violation in 1988. She was 32 years old.
“She was a great person,” said Charles King, III, one of Vernon’s former classmates and coworkers. “I was privileged, and I thank God I got to meet her and she passed through my life.”
The dedication of the overpass, which is near where Vernon was killed, comes almost 30 years after her death.
The bill to dedicate the bridge was brought by Del. Robert Krupicka, who represents the 45th District in the House of Delegates and by Sen. Barbara Favola, who represents the 31st District in the state Senate.
‘This naming of the bridge is also a way to say thank you to our troopers,” Krupicka said.
Vernon was a good trooper and known as someone who had her coworkers’ backs, said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, who was her supervisor.
“I remember them saying after boxing class, ‘we don’t want to get in the ring with [Vernon], so she certainly held her own there,” Flaherty said.
The bridge’s dedication was “personal” to him as someone who knew Vernon. He considers all of the officers under him to be his kids, he said, and Vernon was one of them.
“Now as people pass up and down on 395, they’ll come to know her as well,” he said.
It is one way that people recognize and thank the troopers for their service, Flaherty said.
Virginia State Troopers were joined by Vernon’s family during the dedication. The naming of the bridge was something that both the family and troopers asked to see happen.
“Now when I look around I can say the day is done,” said Vernon’s brother Ronald Vernon. “The struggle is done. It is time to rest. Sleep well, my sister.”
(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) A state trooper has been hospitalized with serious injuries after being struck by a car on westbound I-66 just outside of Arlington this afternoon.
At about 2:00 p.m., according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller, the trooper was out of his vehicle during a traffic stop just before the exit for I-495 North when a passing car ran off the road. The vehicle struck both stopped cars, Geller said, and the collision sent vehicles into the unprotected trooper.
The trooper and three others were transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The trooper suffered serious injuries and “the extent of those injuries are still being assessed,” Geller wrote. The other three have non-life-threatening injuries.
Geller said the crash is still under investigation.
The accident was the second time a state trooper was hit in Northern Virginia in 12 hours; at about 3:30 a.m., an “out-of-control SUV” slammed into Trooper I.J. Dallam Sr. in Prince William County. Dallam has since been treated and released, Geller said.
A D.C. man is facing felony charges following a police chase that ended in Arlington yesterday, all because of an expired inspection sticker.
Police say 27-year-old Kenneth Kelley, Jr. was driving a 1995 Chevy Tahoe in Dale City yesterday around 1:00 p.m., when a Virginia state trooper noticed the expired inspection sticker. The trooper tried to make a traffic stop, but Kelley refused to pull over and sped away, according to a Virginia State Police press release.
Kelley and his two passengers were soon tailed by a phalanx of state troopers and the Fairfax County Police helicopter, as he headed north toward Arlington. From VSP:
The suspect vehicle made its way to the Prince William Parkway and then northbound on Interstate 95 and then into Arlington County on I-395. The Tahoe took the Glebe Road exit and continued into a residential neighborhood. The driver and two passengers pulled up to a residence on South Veitch Street, parked the Tahoe, fled the vehicle on foot and broke into the residence.
State police entered the residence and took all three males into custody without incident. No one was at the residence at the time it was broken into.
Kelley has been charged in Arlington with felony eluding and unlawful entry. He’s also charged with felony eluding in Prince William County, as well as misdemeanor charges for the expired inspection sticker, improper registration, driving on a suspended license and disregarding traffic lights.
Kelley was also wanted by an outstanding warrant, as was a passenger.
Passenger, Robert Hall, 21, of Washington, D.C., was charged with one count of unlawful entering of a dwelling and identity theft. Hall was wanted by Prince George’s County, Md. Police on an outstanding warrant.
The other passenger, Nathaniel Pickett, 55, of Washington, D.C., was charged with one count of unlawful entering of a dwelling.
The investigation remains ongoing at this time.
No injuries or vehicle crashes resulted from this pursuit.
The Fairfax County Police helicopter was instrumental in assisting state police with following the suspect vehicle and locating the subjects at the residence. In addition, the Arlington County and City of Alexandria Police Departments also assisted with the incident.
A police chase that started in Prince William County ended in Arlington’s Arna Valley neighborhood this afternoon.
Virginia State Police reportedly began pursuing a green Chevrolet SUV in Prince William , following it up I-95 and I-395. The SUV took the Glebe Road exit off I-395 around 1:00 p.m., speeding toward the residential neighborhood of Arna Valley, near Shirlington.
The suspects bailed out on S. Veitch Street, between 26th and 27th Streets. All three were quickly apprehended.
Dozens of police officers, including state troopers and Arlington County officers, swarmed the area as the pursuit ended. A Fairfax County Police helicopter could be seen overhead. Nearby Gunston Middle School was secured for a short time during and after the chase.
Per department policy, Arlington County Police were not involved in the pursuit.
So far there’s no word on what charges the suspects are facing, or on what state troopers might have found in the SUV.
Separately, around 3:00 p.m., Virginia State Police were in pursuit of a vehicle involved in a felony hit-and-run. The chase was called off as the vehicle was approaching Arlington on northbound I-395, according to scanner traffic.
Update at 5:00 p.m. — Virginia State Police have released a statement about both chases.
PURSUIT #1 – Prince William County to Arlington County
At approximately 12:53 p.m. Wednesday, a Virginia State Police trooper was on patrol along Cardinal Drive (near Minnieville Road) in Dale City when a 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe with an expired inspection sticker passed by. The trooper initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, which refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. The suspect vehicle made its way to the Prince William Parkway and then northbound on Interstate 95 and then into Arlington County on I-395. The Tahoe took the Glebe Road exit and continued into a residential neighborhood. The driver and two passengers pulled up to a residence on South Veitch Street, fled the vehicle on foot and entered the residence. All three males have been taken into custody without incident and charges are pending. The investigation remains ongoing at this time.
No injuries or vehicle crashes resulted from this pursuit.
The Fairfax County Police helicopter was instrumental in assisting state police with following the suspect vehicle and locating the subjects at the residence. In addition, the Arlington County and City of Alexandria Police Departments also assisted with the incident.
PURSUIT #2 – Stafford County to Arlington County
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, a Virginia State Police trooper was in the crossover at the 137 mile marker in Stafford County monitoring northbound traffic when a Toyota Camry came through radar at 94 mph. When the trooper pulled out to initiate a traffic stop on the car, it sped away in excess of 100 mph. The car continued northbound on the shoulder and weaving through lanes. Within 10 minutes near the 158 mile marker in Prince William County, the trooper terminated the pursuit for public safety purposes. The Toyota continued northbound. There were three subjects in the vehicle.
At 2:53 p.m., Virginia State Police were notified of a hit-and-run crash in the northbound lanes of I-395 at the Seminary Road Exit. Based on witness statements, it is believed this crash was caused by the same Toyota Camry. A Honda Civic was northbound on I-395 when it was sideswiped by a black sedan. The black car continued northbound at a high rate of speed. The driver of the Honda Civic, a 24-year-old Woodbridge woman, was transported to Inova Alexandria Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. She was wearing a seat belt and was the car’s only occupant.
Anyone with information about the black Toyota Camry with Tennessee plates is asked to please contact the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or #77 on a cell phone.
Police were called to Washington Blvd near I-395 at 2:20 a.m. for reports of a single-vehicle crash. When police arrived on the scene they found the victim’s motorcycle, but not the driver. After a search, 27-year-old Joel A. Morales of Woodbridge was found in a nearby wooded area. He died at the scene.
Police believe Morales was driving westbound on Washington Blvd from the I-395 off ramp when he apparently struck a jersey barrier. He was thrown from his motorcycle and landed below the overpass in the wooded area. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Arlington County police assisted VSP with traffic control and security when the road had to be shut down to investigate the accident scene. VSP continues to investigate the cause of the crash.
The Arlington County Board passed a resolution asking the General Assembly to rename the bridge in Vernon’s honor. Vernon was killed Aug. 4, 1988, after pulling over an HOV violator on a nearby stretch of I-395 when, while speaking to the driver, a Metrobus struck and killed her.
Vernon, who was born in West Virginia during segregation in 1955, was the first woman and first African American Virginia state trooper to be killed in the line of duty.
The resolution erroneously calls for “the Glebe Road bridge over I-395” to renamed, but there is no such bridge. According to the county’s legislative liaison to the General Assembly, Pat Carroll, there was a mistake in the resolution, and the I-395 bridge over Glebe Road is what’s actually expected to be renamed.
Vernon’s family was in attendance during the resolution on Tuesday afternoon, and County Board Chair Jay Fisette read a letter written by Vernon’s brother, Ron, transcribed after the jump.
Vernon’s family had been trying for years to get a bridge or stretch of road named after her, and their efforts appear likely to pay off. Fisette said he “can’t imagine” the General Assembly wouldn’t approve of naming the bridge after her during their 2015 session.
After the jump is Ron Vernon’s letter, “Sacrifice.”
Trooper Jacqueline “Jackie” Vernon was born to a coal miner father and a housewife mother on Nov. 4, 1955 in a small town in West Virginia named Carretta. Jackie was born the fifth child of five children, born to parents who believed that the only escape from poverty was education.
Carretta was a typical southern town during segregation, with a population under 500. The neighborhoods were arranged with black and white families in different parts of the community. The blacks were crammed into spaces that white didn’t want, their houses were inferior, their roads were unpaved and their futures were bleak.
This was Jackie’s introduction into society. As she grew older, Jackie first attended Carretta Negro Elementary School, a one room school where one teacher taugh six grades with used books and hand-me-down materials. Jackie could never understand why she couldn’t go to school with the other kids.
Before Jackie finished elementary school, de-segregation came to West Virginia, but instead of de-segregation becoming her rescue, it became another battle. Jackie’s new battle was going to school with kids and teachers that didn’t want her in their school. Somehow, despite the obstacles, she made it through and graduated.
Shortly after graduation, Jackie joined the Army in the hopes of escaping the poverty and oppression of being born into a segregated life. Although Jackie excelled in her given field of transportation, she found resentment and exclusion from male soldiers, who disliked the idea of being shown up by a woman. Jackie served one tour of duty before leaving the military.
She finally landed a job as a police officer for the city of Gary, West Virginia. Jackie had found her calling. She was thrilled at the idea of serving the public. For the next few years, she learned as much as she could from her fellow officers and finally became a training officer herself. For once, she wasn’t a black or a woman, but a police officer. She loved it.
In 1984, the Virginia State Police came looking for her to join their ranks. Jackie was recruited to be in the 73rd class of the Virginia State Police, and the first class that contained women. In August of 1984, Jackie graduated from the academy to be a Virginia State Trooper. The pride, the sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction that she succeeded gave her a new lease on life.
She spoke of service to the community and one incident in particular. One night while on duty, she came upon an elderly lady that had a flat tire. The lady did not belong to a motorist club nor did she have anyone in the vicinity to call for help. Jackie said she thought of her mother being stranded with no one to help. She got out of her cruiser, rolled up her sleeves and changed the lady’s flat tire, and sent her on her way.
It wasn’t anything big for most of us, but it defined who she was. During her brief, four-year career as a trooper, Jackie was awarded 11 commendations for service to the public.
Sadly, a little more than four years after becoming a trooper, fate stepped in and ended Jackie’s career with the ultimate sacrifice. On Aug. 16, 1988, during a routine stop of an HOV violator, an errant Metro driver distracted by a passenger lost control of his bus and hit Jackie, who died of injuries within hours of the incident.
However, fate has its ironies. In life, Jackie was always trying to stand out to be different or to make a difference. In life, she graduated as one of the first female troopers in Virginia. In death, she was the first female trooper killed in the line of duty, the first black Virginia trooper killed in the line of duty, and the first female peace officer killed in the line of duty in the state of Virginia.
This was Jackie Vernon, Virginia State Trooper
Photo (top) via Google Maps. Photo (bottom) via Facebook