FCPD steps up presence on Burke Centre Parkway after fatal crash

Fairfax County police are stepping up their presence on Burke Centre Parkway this week (via FCPD/Twitter)

Drivers on Burke Centre Parkway can expect to see more police than usual this week, as the community still reels from a crash that killed one teen and put three others in the hospital.

The Fairfax County Police Department launched a High Visibility Enforcement (HIVE) initiative today (Monday) that will increase the presence of motor and patrol officers along the roadway between Fairfax County Parkway and Burke Lake Road.

The initiative is intended to “deter and change dangerous traffic behaviors on Fairfax County roads” after a driver who was allegedly speeding crashed into a Kia exiting the Burke Centre Shopping Center on July 18, killing a 17-year-old identified by news reports as Rebekah Zarco.

“This coordinated and targeted enforcement effort aims at identifying aggressive drivers and addressing hazardous driving behaviors,” the FCPD said. “It is part of the department’s ongoing commitment to reducing crashes and enhancing safety on our roadways.”

The HIVE initiative builds on an ongoing campaign by local police to crack down on dangerous driving in response to a surge in pedestrian fatalities last year.

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data shows 17 traffic deaths in Fairfax County so far this year, though the database doesn’t yet list any fatalities from June or July.

Zarco was the eighth non-pedestrian killed on a county road in 2023, according to the Fairfax County Police Department, whose count doesn’t include crashes on highways or the Dulles Toll Road.

Last week’s crash brought renewed attention to safety concerns specifically on Burke Centre Parkway. As of April 30, there had been 12 crashes on the roadway this year, a rate slightly behind the 39 crashes recorded last year and 41 in 2021, according to the FCPD.

Since July 2020, the department has issued over 2,100 citations on Burke Center Parkway.

A petition calling for a traffic light at the intersection where the incident occurred has drawn over 1,500 supporters, as of press time. Some commenters suggested the road’s concrete median should be closed instead to prevent left turns out of the shopping center.

The FCPD hasn’t shared how fast the driver in last week’s crash was traveling, but detectives believe “speed was a contributing factor.” Burke Centre Parkway’s speed limit is 40 mph.

As it focuses traffic enforcement efforts on sites known to have high crash rates, the police department shared some tips for safe driving:

Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility. FCPD reminds drivers to:

  • Put the phone down and go hands-free.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Be mindful of crosswalks and pedestrians.
  • Share the road with bicyclists.
  • Yellow means “slow down” and red means “stop.”
  • Don’t speed.
  • Allow ample time to get to your destination.
  • Keep your eyes and mind on the road.

By following these safety tips, you are playing a crucial role in making our highways safer by preventing unnecessary crashes. With your assistance, the FCPD can mitigate injuries and prevent fatalities resulting from traffic crashes.

Photo via FCPD/Twitter