Arlington, VA

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A fight in the Penrose Square Giant led to a series of events that closed portions of two major roads and prompted a massive police response.

Police were dispatched to the grocery store around 2:30 p.m. for a report of a disturbance in the store, potentially involving a weapon. After arriving, an officer was nearly struck by a fleeing vehicle.

“A dispute between known individuals occurred inside a business in the 2500 block of 9th Road S.,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “A responding officer, who was on foot, attempted to stop the vehicle in the parking lot. The driver refused to comply, drove through a parking gate and fled the scene.”

More from Wednesday’s ACPD crime report:

A lookout was broadcast and officers located the vehicle at Arlington Boulevard and 10th Street N. A traffic stop was initiated and the subjects were detained without incident. Victoria Lawson, 26, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with Felony Eluding, Felony Destruction of Property, Assault and Battery, Felony Child Abuse and Neglect (x4) and Possession of Marijuana.

The eastbound lanes of Route 50 near Courthouse were blocked by the vehicle stop, which involved nearly a dozen police cars.

“Looks like they arrested someone from a car… then it looked like there were some kids pulled out from the car as well,” a tipster told ARLnow.

While responding to the fight at the grocery store, one officer in a marked police SUV was involved in a crash on S. Walter Reed Drive, which closed a portion of the street for a period of time.

“While responding to the incident, an officer was involved in a crash at S. Walter Reed Drive and 16th Street S.,” Savage said. “The officer was evaluated on scene by medics. The driver of the other vehicle was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation.”

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It started with a post on Nextdoor, which was then cross-posted on a popular local Facebook page.

“In need of a MAJOR favor from all who are willing!” wrote the poster, Columbia Pike resident Ashley Johnson. “I have a sweet sweet kid I met while volunteering at a homeless shelter 4 years ago. The shelter closed and his family was forced out but I still pick him up and try to give him good experiences.”

The post continued: “His 6th birthday is today and sadly I didn’t get to host a party this year BUT I just got a last minute reply from the fire station, and they’re willing to do a drive by and lead the way for a mini birthday parade… My family all lives out of state, but if anyone is free and willing to line up tomorrow around 5:15p, on 16th Rd. and Walter Reed, next to Pupatella, to jump in behind the fire truck when it passes to do the drive by Walter Reed Community Center, where we’ll be waiting, please let me know!”

Little did Johnson know, but Arlington residents and first responders would show up in a big way for 6-year-old Jessiah.

Friday night, several fire department vehicles, 16 Arlington County police cruisers and about 50 cars full of local residents paraded down the street, in perhaps the biggest traffic jam the Columbia Pike corridor has seen since the start of social distancing.

ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott was there to capture the moment.

The coronavirus outbreak may have curtailed traditional birthday parties, but it could not curtail kindness among neighbors and the big smile on Jessiah’s face.

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Update on 4/2/20 — The repairs were completed and the roadway is back open.

Update at 4:50 p.m. — Walter Reed Drive is now closed in both directions while crews work to stop the leak and repair the line. 

Earlier: The southbound lanes of Walter Reed Drive are blocked due to a significant outdoor gas leak south of Columbia Pike.

The leak was reported shortly before 2:30 p.m., near the intersection of Walter Reed and 11th Street S. Arlington police and firefighters are on the scene.

Initial reports suggest a gas line larger than 2 inches was struck by a construction crew, prompting the closure and extra precautions. First responders are now checking natural gas levels on the ground floor of the adjacent apartment building while awaiting the arrival of Washington Gas.

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Three years after announcing its plans to expand, award-winning local pizza restaurant Pupatella has officially opened its second area location.

Pupatella opened its South Arlington location earlier this week at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, where it serves a variety of Neapolitan pizzas, gelatos, drinks, and more.

Originally founded as a food truck, Pupatella opened its original brick-and-mortar location at 5104 Wilson Blvd in 2010.

Co-owner Enzo Algarme is now teaming up with the partners behind Elevation Burger to expand via franchising. Pupatella currently has two additional locations outside of Arlington, in Richmond and Glen Allen, Virginia.

There are a few additional Pupatella locations in store for the D.C. area, including a 2,700 square-foot venture in Reston and another in the Mosaic District.

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One of Arlington’s most successful restaurants will open its second location very soon.

The Neapolitan pizzeria Pupatella, which opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Bluemont in 2010, is expected to open at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive next week.

“This week is training,” manager Anastasiya Laufenberg told ARLnow. “We should be opening next week. The community support has been great.”

Hopefully the new location will have better luck than past businesses at that address. A string of restaurants there who quickly shuttered after opening have given the Walter Reed corner the reputation as Arlington’s restaurant “Bermuda Triangle.”

Pupatella currently has two additional locations outside of Arlington, in Richmond and Glen Allen, Virginia.

Heading into 2020, Pupatella has also announced plans to eventually open a 2,700 square foot location at 1821 Wiehle Avenue in Reston as part of a new expansion push fueled by a $3.75 million investment.

Earlier this week, the restaurant introduced two “Pizza Lovers” wines, a red Merlot/Cabernet blend and a white Pinot Grigio-Chardonnay blend, to pair with its pies.

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Update at 4:10 p.m. — The road has reopened, according to scanner traffic.

Earlier: S. Walter Reed Drive is blocked near the Arlington Career Center following a multi-vehicle crash.

An ART bus serving ART Route 77 is among the four vehicles involved in the crash, which happened on a rainy Tuesday afternoon just as the evening rush hour was starting. There’s no word yet on what caused the crash.

One person was injured and brought to a local hospital, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

The southbound lanes of Walter Reed “will continue to be shut down while vehicles can be cleared,” ACFD said. Drivers on Walter Reed should expect heavy traffic and detours between Columbia Pike and Route 50.

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Pupatella, one of the county’s most beloved restaurants, could open its second Arlington location along S. Walter Reed Drive as early as next month.

“We are looking at the opening date around the end of October at this point,” owner Enzo Algarme tells ARLnow.

The Neapolitan pizzeria will be located at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive where hopefully it will have better luck than past businesses. A string of restaurants there have quickly shuttered after opening, giving the Walter Reed address the reputation as a sort of restaurant “Bermuda Triangle.”

Italy native Algarme launched a pizza-serving food cart in Arlington in 2007, later opening Pupatella’s original brick-and-mortar location on Wilson Blvd in Bluemont in 2010.

The company has been expanding, with new locations in the Richmond area and more planned in the Mosaic District and in Reston. The team raised $3.75 million last year to open eight new restaurants across the D.C. area.

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A reported ruptured gas line behind Papillon Cycles prompted evacuations and a road closure near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

As of 2:10 p.m., the gas leak has been stopped and police re-opened Walter Reed Drive, after temporarily closing it between the Pike and 9th Street S.

Some stores in the area, on the 2800 block of Columbia Pike, were evacuated during the incident, according to scanner traffic.

One restaurant owner said that means their business had to close, but told ARLnow, “but that’s fine, it’s a Wednesday so it’s slow anyway.”

A full fire department response has been dispatched to the scene as a precaution, as gas company crews work to stop the leak.

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(Updated 4 p.m.) One of Arlington’s most successful restaurants is coming to one of the county’s least successful restaurant locations.

Neapolitan pizzeria Pupatella, which was a popular food truck before opening its acclaimed bricks-and-mortar location in Bluemont in 2010, is opening a second Arlington location in the restaurant “Bermuda Triangle” at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive. The opening is planned for this summer.

“The restaurant is 2,200 square feet and will seat approximately 60 guests inside,” a press release said of Pupatella’s new location in the Nauck neighborhood. “The location also features a covered patio area that will have seating for another 40 or so guests.”

Pupatella also announced plans today to open a 2,700 square foot location at 1821 Wiehle Avenue in Reston by early 2020, as part of a new expansion push fueled by a $3.75 million investment.

“More company-owned locations are currently being pursued in Fairfax County, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C.,” said the press release.

“The community in Arlington has been so wonderful to us over the past decade that it was a simple decision for us to open a South Arlington location,” Pupatella founder Enzo Algarme is quoted as saying in the press release. “The area is exploding with growth, and we want to be sure that growth includes great pizza!”

Algarme did not respond to multiple inquiries from ARLnow.com last week seeking to confirm that they were behind the new restaurant at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive. A spokeswoman said today that he was out of town.

Eater, which reported the Pupatella news late Thursday morning before the press release was sent to ARLnow, quotes another company co-owner as saying the Walter Reed Drive location will help fulfill “spillover demand” from its busy, original location.

The full press release is after the jump.

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S. Walter Reed Drive is slated for several changes that, among other alterations, are designed to make the roadway more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.

Construction kicked off last month (July) between 11th Street S. and 13th Street S. That work is scheduled to be completed later this year and primarily targets S. Walter Reed Drive’s intersection with 12th Street S., improving crosswalks and building curb extensions and new ADA-compliant curb ramps.

Also included in the project is the reconstruction of three raised medians to run along that portion of the roadway and alterations to an existing bike boulevard, which will be moved from 12th Street S. to 11th Street S. between S. Highland and S. Cleveland Streets.

Drivers should expect one travel lane to be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays to accommodate construction. Pedestrians will see sidewalk detours and temporary crosswalks, and on-street parking will be restricted.

long-awaited set of changes to a different portion of S. Walter Reed Drive — from S. Arlington Mill Drive to S. Four Mile Run Drive — is set to get underway in mid-September.

That plan has been in the works for years, and the county awarded a $1.8 million contract for it in May. Construction aims to add ADA-compliant bus stops, new crosswalks and curb ramps, more street lighting and improved signals for drivers and pedestrians.

The project also intends to make travel between the Four Mile Run Trail and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail safer and to realign westbound S. Arlington Mill Drive in an effort to make the crossing more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. The county has been piloting the realignment at the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Arlington Mill Drive with a temporary installation since June 2017.

Additional changes to the designated portion of the roadway will include a slight widening of travel lanes and resurfacing.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Doctor Sentenced in Poisoning Case — Arlington doctor Sikander Imran was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, with 17 years suspended, for slipping pills into his pregnant girlfriend’s tea, causing her to lose the unborn baby. The now ex-girlfriend pleaded for leniency during the sentencing. [WJLA, New York Daily News]

Miniature Horses Could Be Allowed at Schools — “A new policy defining the rights and responsibility of those – students, staff or visitors – wishing to bring service animals into schools would allow for dogs and miniature horses… schools spokesman Frank Bellavia told the Sun Gazette there are no miniature horses used as service animals in the school system at the moment.” [InsideNova]

Powhatan Skate Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously approved a $1.87 million contract to overhaul the Powhatan Springs Skate Park, the only such park in Arlington. “This well-loved skate park is in need of a makeover to address crumbling concrete conditions,” said Chair Katie Cristol. “The result will be a safer park that both kids and adults in Arlington who are passionate about skateboarding, inline skating and BMX cycling can enjoy for years to come.” [Arlington County]

Residents Protest Amazon at County Board Meeting — Several public speakers at Saturday’s County Board meeting spoke out against the prospect of Amazon’s second headquarters coming to Arlington. They held signs saying “No Amazon” and decried the company’s “brutal working conditions” and “culture of toxic masculinity,” among other things. [Blue Virginia]

Walter Reed Drive Project Green Lit — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $1.8 million contract to A & M Concrete Corporation to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections on a short but critical segment of South Walter Reed Drive, between South Four Mile Run Drive and South Arlington Mill Drive. The project will provide safer connections between two of Arlington’s busiest trails: Washington & Old Dominion and Four Mile Run.” [Arlington County]

Trees Fall During Heavy Rain — A number of trees around the area fell late last week after a record-breaking stretch of heavy rain. Among the trees to topple was a large one that fell on a home on the 2100 block of N. Vernon Street and injured one person. [Twitter, Washington Post]

Lubber Run Farmers Market OKed — “Field to Table, Inc., an Arlington-based non-profit organization, won the County Board’s approval today to open the Lubber Run Farmer’s Market in the parking lot at Barrett Elementary School, 4401 Henderson Road. The market is expected to open in late May.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Train Derailment in Alexandria — A large contingent of emergency personnel responded to the CSX tracks near Port City Brewing in Alexandria Saturday morning for a freight train that had derailed. About 30 cars came off the tracks but no injuries or hazardous spills were reported. [City of Alexandria, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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