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Fairfax County Police Department Capt. Rachel Levy at an October press conference on Troy Reynolds’ arrest following a school bus crash (via ABC7)

A bus driver was indicted by a grand jury yesterday (Tuesday) for allegedly driving drunk while transporting D.C. kindergarten students home from a trip to Cox Farms in Centreville.

Troy Reynolds, 48, faces nine felony charges of child endangerment and three misdemeanor charges, including a second offense of driving while intoxicated, driving with a disqualified commercial license, and driving a bus without a commercial driver’s license, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced today.

“My office takes crimes that endanger children very seriously,” Descano said in the press release. “We’re grateful to our partners at the Fairfax County Police Department for their collaboration on this case.”

Reynolds was arrested on Oct. 27 after he reportedly drove a school bus carrying 44 students and four adults from Murch Elementary School off the road, hitting a rock and flattening a tire. Nine kids were injured, according to Descano’s office.

At the insistence of staff on board, the bus stopped in the 1500 block of Conference Center Drive in Chantilly, and the kids were transferred to the Fairfax Criminal Justice Academy, where two buses provided by Fairfax County Public Schools took them to D.C.

The FCPD said at the time that a test revealed that Reynolds had a blood alcohol content of .20. Officers also found that his commercial driver’s license had been revoked in Virginia due to a prior DWI and suspended in Maryland.

The case will go to trial tomorrow (Thursday), according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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Fairfax County police car (file photo)

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A Lorton man charged with alleged sexual battery of a minor may be responsible for a separate, earlier sexual assault against a woman in Mount Vernon, police say.

The Fairfax County Police Department announced today that additional charges have been filed against Louis C. Allen, 42, after they matched his DNA to evidence collected from a sexual assault at a Mount Vernon Lakes apartment on Feb. 2.

According to police, a woman reported entering her apartment building in the 8300 block of Brockham Drive at 7:05 p.m. that day and being “grabbed from behind by a man,” who sexually assaulted her.

“The victim was able to fight off the suspect. He left property behind as he ran away,” the FCPD said in a news release. “This item was collected as evidence and sent to the Department of Forensic Science (DFS) for DNA testing.”

According to police, the DFS analysis detected Allen’s DNA on the evidence that was collected.

Allen was arrested on May 24 for allegedly touching a kid inappropriately multiple times at a playground in Lake Accotink Park on May 21. He was charged with aggravated sexual battery and served warrants for assault of a family member and failing to appear in court for previous offenses, the FCPD reported at the time.

Fairfax County General District Court records show that Allen previously arrested for an attempted vehicle burglary on Oct. 25, 2020.

He was initially charged with possession of burglary tools and entering a vehicle, which are misdemeanors, as well as destruction of property over $1,000 — a felony. However, the felony was later downgraded to a second misdemeanor charge of entering a vehicle, and Allen entered a no contest guilty plea at a preliminary hearing on Jan. 26, 2021.

He was also arrested on May 13, 2021 for an April 12, 2021 assault and battery incident.

After the Lake Accotink arrest, police said Allen was initially being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. A judge set a bond of $50,000 in the case that hasn’t been paid, according to a Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court clerk.

Right now, though, Allen is in a Tennessee jail on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and aggravated photography of a minor, the FCPD said today. He was extradited from Fairfax County to face those charges after the May 24 arrest, according to the department.

“Detectives traveled to Tennessee and obtained DNA from Allen,” police said. “DFS was able to provide a DNA confirmation based on the direct comparison of the DNA collected from Allen and the collected evidence” from the Mount Vernon assault, for which he has been charged with abduction with the intent to defile and object sexual penetration.

According to the FCPD, Allen will be extradited from Tennessee to Fairfax County for Lake Accotink Park assault. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 15.

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Eastbound Old Keene Mill Road at the Huntsman Blvd intersection in West Springfield (via Google Maps)

The driver in a crash that killed a 93-year-old man in West Springfield last month has now been charged with reckless driving, Fairfax County police announced yesterday.

Jessica Bonilla Alfaro, a 41-year-old Springfield resident, “was travelling above the speed limit and in a reckless manner” when she crashed into a 2017 Toyota Camry on Old Keene Mill Road at the Huntsman Blvd intersection on Nov. 7, the police department said.

When the crash occurred that morning, Bonilla Alfaro was driving east on Old Keene Mill in a 2016 Dodge Journey, while the Camry was attempting to turn left onto southbound Huntsman Blvd, according to police.

The Camry driver — 93-year-old John Rowley Jr. of Springfield — was taken to a hospital with injuries not initially considered life-threatening, but his condition deteriorated and he died that evening, police said.

The speed limit on Old Keene Mill at the Huntsman intersection is 45 mph, per the Virginia Department of Transportation’s speed limits map.

Bonilla Alfaro was served a magistrate summons for the reckless driving charge yesterday and is set to appear in court in February, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Rowley Jr. was the 16th non-pedestrian to die in a crash on county roads this year, though that death toll has now reached 19 people after a 19-year-old was killed on Prosperity Avenue in Merrifield on Dec. 6.

The victim in that crash, Chantilly resident David Mendez Hernandez, was on his way to work when he collided with a tractor-trailer. His family set up a Gofundme to help pay for the funeral expenses.

Image via Google Maps

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Fairfax County Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A man already serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 2002 has pleaded guilty to killing a woman in Herndon 35 years ago.

The Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney announced today that Charles Helem was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering 37-year-old Eige Sober-Adler, whose body was found in a field near the Dulles Toll Road on Sept. 8, 1987.

Helem is facing a third life sentence for the 2002 murder of 19-year-old Jennifer Landry in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He’s currently incarcerated at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison for strangling 37-year-old Patricia Bentley in her Chantilly home in April 2002.

“Today, the community can begin to move toward peace and closure,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement. “I am grateful for the cooperation across agencies and jurisdictions that helped solve this case, including from Fairfax Police Chief Kevin Davis, Prince George’s Police Chief Malik Aziz, and the cold case detectives in both jurisdictions.”

Helem was indicted in Sober-Adler’s murder by a Fairfax County grand jury in January after providing information about her death that only the suspect would know, Davis said at a joint press conference with Prince George’s police, who shared that Helem had confessed in 2021 to killing Landry.

According to The Washington Post, Sober-Adler was found nude and beaten by construction workers in a field near a Days Inn that was under construction in Herndon on Sept. 8, 1987. Her car was found nearby on the shoulder of the westbound lanes of the Dulles Toll Road.

An autopsy determined that her skull had been fractured, and she suffered a “cerebral hemorrhage caused by an unknown object,” the Post reported.

After his sentencing today, Helem is being transferred to Prince George’s County, where he’s set to plead guilty to Landry’s murder. He will serve all three life sentences concurrently, the Office of the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney confirmed to FFXnow.

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Sully’s Pour House in Herndon (via Google Maps)

The owners of Sully’s Pour House, a gastropub in the Town of Herndon, is disappointed over the handling of prosecution against a man who allegedly fired a gun in the business on Nov. 6 last year.

In a scathing Nov. 30 Facebook post, the owners said the justice system failed the business and the community by not taking a tougher stance on the case, accusing the office of Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano of trivializing “a stressful, frightening, and unsafe situation.”

“Where is MY PROTECTION? I didn’t ask your office to move mountains. I expected your office to PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY. There were MULTIPLE FELONIES committed that night. I only asked for ONE TO stick. One FELONY,” the business wrote in the post.

The defendant, De’Quinn Le’Charn Hall, 29, has been indicted on a felony charge of discharging a firearm in an occupied building. A plea deal was offered but hasn’t been officially accepted by the court. A Fairfax County Circuit Court grand jury will take up the matter on Dec. 22.

The post by Sully’s includes allegations that additional charges were not pursued in order to avoid impacting the defendant’s commercial driver’s license. It also states that the case was not handled seriously because no one was killed in the incident.

“HE jeopardized LIVES and your office cared about his job?!” the post says. “We still have people traumatized, but why would you care about them.”

Laura Birnhbaum, a spokesperson for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing. She also disputed some statements in the post, including its characterization of how one of the assistant commonwealth’s attorneys interacted with the victim and the police department.

“This case is ongoing and no final resolution has been presented to or accepted by the court,” she said. “CA Descano is reviewing this case and will determine the proper path forward. We want this community to know that we take these types of crimes seriously and will always seek final outcomes in line with the seriousness of the alleged conduct.”

Photo via Google Maps

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The northbound left turn lane from West Ox Road to Ox Hill Road in Fair Oaks (via Google Maps)

A 79-year-old driver who crashed into a motorcyclist in Fair Oaks last month, resulting in the biker’s death, is now facing criminal charges.

Detectives have determined that Fairfax resident Mazher Rajput did not yield to a 2018 Yamaha MT07 motorcycle when attempting to turn left from West Ox Road onto Ox Hill Road on Oct. 25, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release yesterday.

The allegation deviates slightly from the FCPD’s original characterization of the crash:

Preliminarily, detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit determined the operator of the motorcycle, Andrew Dearing, was traveling south on West Ox Road in the left lane. The driver of the Jeep was in the northbound turn lane on West Ox Road waiting to turn left onto Ox Hill Road. The motorcycle proceeded straight through the intersection from the southbound left lane and struck the Jeep. The Jeep continued through the intersection, struck a pedestrian signal and collided with a 2013 Lexus GS350. The Jeep spun around and struck the Lexus a second time before coming to a rest.

Dearing, died at a hospital after being thrown from his bike. He was the 14th non-pedestrian killed in a traffic crash on Fairfax County roads this year, a number that has climbed in the past month to 18.

After further investigation, police now have charged Rajput with failing to yield when turning left and failure to abide by a traffic light.

Magistrate summons have been served to Rajput, who is scheduled to appear in court in January, the FCPD says.

Photo via Google Maps

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The Justice Department logo (via DOJ)

A 29-year-old man from Mount Vernon could face life in prison after pleading guilty to transporting a teen for sexual purposes, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.

Apipat Vutipawat pleaded guilty last Thursday (Nov. 10) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to charges that, from May 29, 2020 through June 2, 2020, he transported an unidentified minor from Virginia to Pennsylvania “with the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to the Observer-Reporter, Vutipawat was arrested on May 14, 2020 in Pennsylvania’s Richhill Township after police found him in a vehicle with a 14-year-old girl who said he was her boyfriend. He had allegedly met the girl through a dating app and faced multiple local assault charges.

Vutipawat pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault in Washington County Court and was sentenced to over three years in prison on Jan. 14, according to court records.

Vutipawat was indicted on three federal charges in March 2021, including traveling with the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct, transportation with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and obstruction of justice.

With his guilty plea, he faces a total sentence between at least 10 years and life in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, or both, according to the DOJ.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 11 a.m. on March 16, 2023.

“Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant,” the DOJ news release said. “Pending sentencing, Vutipawat remains detained.”

The department says the case was part of its national Project Safe Childhood initiative, which started in May 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. The Fairfax County Police Department joined the investigation with federal, state and local law enforcement in Pennsylvania.

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A construction worker on a house building frame (via Josh Olalde on Unsplash)

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) A 57-year-old contractor from Centreville could face up to two decades in jail for using his custom home building company to defraud McLean homeowners.

Pedro Felipe Valdes Sanchez pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding “several couples” who hired his company to build or remodel their houses in and around McLean, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced.

Unfolding from at least May 2017 through April 2018, the scheme saw Valdes take money from customers who believed he would use it to perform contracted work on their properties, according to the Department of Justice:

In the end, Valdes performed minimal work on these customers’ homes, sometimes only demolishing the existing residence on the customers’ property. Valdes also convinced one customer to lend him money by misrepresenting his company’s financial situation. He sometimes used client funds for personal expenses and routinely used funds from one client to fund another client’s projects.

Valdes targeted three couples, according to court documents, the DOJ told FFXnow.

Valdes’s plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema and announced by U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber and FBI Washington Field Office Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs.

Valdes could be given a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

“Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties,” the DOJ said in its news release.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 14, 2023.

Photo via Josh Olalde on Unsplash

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A model house with a magnifying glass and piggy bank in the background (via Photo by Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash)

A couple in Merrifield have been sentenced to prison for using the wife’s real estate job to steal people’s identities.

Caprice Foster, 51, and Marcus Foster, 33, took personal identifying information from at least nine people and used it to “buy a luxury vehicle, lease high-end residences, and obtain loans and credit,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said Friday (Oct. 14).

The information was primarily obtained through Caprice Foster’s work as a real estate agent and timeshare salesperson, per the news release:

To carry out their fraud scheme, the Fosters created numerous false identification documents in other people’s names, including social security cards and driver’s licenses, and they also fabricated tax and employment documents in their victims’ names. The Fosters opened fraudulent bank accounts using stolen identities and deposited stolen and altered checks into these accounts. The Fosters also incorporated a business that they used in furtherance of the fraud. Mr. Foster even impersonated victims in state court eviction proceedings to prolong the Fosters’ stay in residences they fraudulently leased.

Caprice Foster was sentenced to 80 months in prison, while Marcus has been sentenced to 58 months.

According to the Department of Justice, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis joined prosecutors at the sentencing announcement, along with officials from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Photo via Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

An Alexandria man was convicted earlier this month in connection with a series of armed gas station and convenience store robberies in Herndon.

Rashawn Perkins, 28, allegedly wore a ski mask and used a firearm during four robberies over five weeks, according to court documents.

“The evidence established that Perkins robbed a 7-Eleven on December 30, 2021 and a Sunoco on January 19, 2022. The evidence further proved that on February 5, 2022, Perkins returned to both locations and robbed them at gunpoint again,” the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a Sept. 23 release.

According to court documents, Perkins — who previously had been convicted of three felony offenses — threw a firearm out of his bedroom window when the Fairfax County Police Department executed a search warrant for his home.

“Evidence at the trial established that this was the same firearm Perkins used to commit several of the robberies,” the release said.

Perkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 28 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment when sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023.

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