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Three pedestrians killed in separate crashes in Fairfax County on Sunday

Westbound I-495 approaching the exit to Telegraph Road near Alexandria (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 12:50 p.m. on 3/12/2024) Fairfax County was the site of three different fatal pedestrian crashes yesterday (Sunday), two of them occurring just minutes apart in the same proximity on the Capital Beltway (I-495).

According to the Virginia State Police, troopers responded first at 3:39 a.m. to a crash on the westbound I-495 shoulder, east of the exit to Telegraph Road at the Alexandria border.

“At this stage of the investigation, it appears an individual was on the shoulder changing a tire on a vehicle when the individual was struck by a truck,” the VSP said.

The person changing their tire died at the scene, while the truck driver was taken to a hospital for treatment. Charges in the crash “are pending,” police said in an update just before 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Then, at 3:53 a.m., police came across a woman lying in the eastbound lanes of I-495 near the Telegraph Road exit. Calls to police indicated that the woman got hit by two vehicles, according to scanner traffic on OpenMHz.

“A 2005 Honda Accord, heading eastbound in the right center lane on I-495, was unable to avoid striking a female pedestrian who had stepped into traffic,” the VSP said in an update on Tuesday (March 12). “The Accord was then struck by a 2021 Acura RDX, and the Accord then struck the jersey wall. A 2023 Nissan Rogue then struck the RDX.”

The woman, Vanessa Schwartz, 35, of Alexandria, died at the scene of the crash, which remains under investigation. A spokesperson emphasized that the two crashes “are not related.”

Police seek driver in fatal hit-and-run

Separately, Fairfax County police detectives are investigating a fatal pedestrian crash in Mount Vernon that allegedly involved the driver of a stolen vehicle.

Around 12:17 a.m., officers spotted a black 2015 Hyundai Sonata on Buckman Road near Russell Road that had been reported stolen overnight on Saturday (March 9) from the 7900 block of Sausalito Place, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

“The driver of a stolen Sonata sped away at the sight of the police. Officers did not pursue,” the FCPD said.

An officer saw the sedan “traveling at a high rate of speed” north on Janna Lee Avenue about 15 minutes later.

“The driver sideswiped an occupied vehicle near Tamarind Street,” police said. “Officers followed the direction the driver was traveling and located the stolen vehicle crashed into a dumpster and unoccupied.”

A man later identified as James Johnson, 63, of Hybla Valley was found in the grass nearby after he had apparently been hit by a vehicle. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

According to the FCPD, its Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives believe the driver of the stolen Hyundai hit Johnson while he was walking on Janna Lee Avenue before crashing into the dumpster. The driver wasn’t located, and the police department doesn’t have a description “at this time.”

The crash remains under investigation.

There have now been five pedestrian deaths in Fairfax County this year, including two fatal crashes on Richmond Highway in February.

Image via Google Maps

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