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Driver arrested for Burke Centre Parkway crash that killed 17-year-old

Fairfax County police on Burke Centre Parkway (via FCPD/Twitter)

The driver who crashed into a car of teenagers on Burke Centre Parkway last month has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, police announced today (Tuesday).

Jose Angel Zelaya, a 42-year-old Burke resident, was arrested yesterday after detectives found that he was driving almost double the speed limit around the time his 2014 Cadillac XTS4 collided with a 2023 Kia Forte exiting the Burke Centre Shopping Center parking lot on July 18, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The crash killed 17-year-old Rebekah Zarco and sent three other teens who were in the Kia to the hospital, where all of them are still being treated, according to police.

Zelaya is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

As community members started a petition calling for a traffic light or other safety improvements in the area, the FCPD increased the presence of its officers on Burke Centre Parkway last week for a crackdown on dangerous driving.

The High Visibility Enforcement campaign resulted in 419 traffic summons and warnings, including 222 speeding infractions, the department said on Monday.

The road’s speed limit is 40 mph in the 5700 block where the fatal crash occurred.

A recent graduate of Robinson Secondary School, Zarco had been preparing to pursue a degree in technology at George Mason University’s School of Engineering this fall, according to an obituary published by her family.

She also played the piano and enjoyed traveling. The obituary says she was “an exemplary friend” who was “always ready to lend a caring ear or offer a helping hand to those in need.”

“In the midst of our grief, we find solace in knowing that Bekah’s beautiful soul has left an indelible mark on the world,” Zarco’s family wrote. “Her kindness, grace, and love will forever be remembered and cherished by all who were touched by her presence.”

A memorial service for the teen was held this past Saturday (July 29).

Photo via FCPD/Twitter

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