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Fairfax County will evaluate the cost of removing hills on Lee Chapel Road after multiple fatal crashes (via Pat Herrity/Twitter)

With its lone survivor still hospitalized, this month’s crash that killed two teens on Lee Chapel Road has spurred Fairfax County to step up its efforts to address long-standing concerns about the safety of the key Fairfax Station th0roughfare.

During its meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed transportation staff to develop a cost estimate for a project that would widen the two-lane road to four lanes and eliminate hills that limit driver visibility along a roughly 1-mile segment between Ox Road (Route 123) and Fairfax County Parkway.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity originally proposed the project in 2017 after a 19-year-old died in a crash at the same intersection with Fairfax County Parkway in 2015. However, no funding has been identified yet.

A petition calling for safety improvements on Lee Chapel Road now has over 13,500 signatures. Herrity met the two South County High School students behind the campaign on Monday (Jan. 23), he told the board.

“There’s a lot of community support for doing something,” he said. “Unfortunately it takes a tragedy.”

Unanimously approved, Herrity’s board matter also asks staff to look at more immediate ways to improve the roadway’s safety, such as adding streetlights and clearing shoulders on the adjacent parkland.

According to preliminary state data, there have been 245 crashes and 149 injuries on Lee Chapel Road since 2010, including the fatal crashes in 2015 and this past Jan. 10. Also the site of a 2005 crash that killed an 18-year-old who had just graduated from Hayfield Secondary School, the road has proven especially dangerous for young, inexperienced drivers.

The victims of the fatal crash on Jan. 10 were all South County High School students. Ariana Haftsavar and Ashlyn Brotemarkle, the two teens who were killed, were 16.

Detectives have determined that the 2019 Lexus IS350 was traveling at 100.7 mph when it veered off the road, becoming airborne for about 130 feet before landing on its roof, the Fairfax County Police Department reported last night.

“Fire and rescue personnel extricated one victim, who was taken to a nearby hospital; she remains hospitalized,” the FCPD said. “The driver and the rear passenger, of the Lexus were declared deceased at the scene. The passenger in the backseat was not wearing a seatbelt.”

In the wake of the crash, Del. Kathy Tran (D-42) will host a virtual town hall on road safety at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30. Read More

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Optical speed bars intended to slow down drivers have been installed on Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station (via Pat Herrity/Twitter)

Calls for safety improvements on Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station have resurfaced in the wake of last week’s car crash that killed two teens and put a third in the hospital.

As an online petition urging Fairfax County to prioritize regular maintenance and new safety features surpassed 12,000 signatures, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity — who represents the area — met with state and county transportation staff to discuss short, mid and long-term options for addressing long-standing safety concerns.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and Del. Kathy Tran (D-42) also attended the meeting yesterday (Wednesday).

“Both VDOT and County staff came to the meeting with ideas for improving the safety of the road and will be working to address the feasibility and timing of these potential improvements including those recommended by residents,” Herrity tweeted, adding that another meeting will be held next week.

A key connection between Lorton via Route 123 and the Burke/Fairfax Station area, Lee Chapel Road has been the site of 243 vehicle crashes since 2011, resulting in 148 injuries and two deaths, according to state data.

That includes the fatal Jan. 10 crash, where a sedan veered off the road while going over a hill approaching the Fairfax County Parkway intersection, according to police. The crash killed 16-year-old South County High School students Ariana Haftsavar and Ashlyn Brotemarkle, who were identified publicly by family and friends.

Started by classmates of Ariana and Ashlyn, the petition says local residents have been questioning the road’s safety for years, noting that a 19-year-old died in a crash at the same intersection in 2015.

“The solution for this conflict is to keep the road maintained regularly by doing something big like putting in safety features to something small like filling in potholes,” the petition says. “Safety features include signs that blink when you are to slow down at turns, road lights, safety signs before the road starts, and guardrails.”

After the last week’s crash, the Virginia Department of Transportation added “optical speed bars” on the road last Friday (Jan. 13). The striped markings are thought to reduce speeds on curves with an optical illusion that makes drivers aware of how fast they’re going.

“We are saddened to hear of the loss of two of our community members,” VDOT said in a statement. “As is customary, we allow time for the police department to fully investigate the crash to determine the facts, circumstances, and cause. Once we receive the finalized police report, our Traffic Engineering group will perform a safety review of the location.” Read More

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Northbound Lee Chapel Road approaching Fairfax County Parkway (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) Two people died and one person was critically injured when a Lexus ran off Lee Chapel Road near Fairfax County Parkway in Fairfax Station last night, police say.

(Correction: This article originally described the crash as being in Burke, but it occurred on the Fairfax Station side of Fairfax County Parkway.)

The sedan had three occupants — all female teenagers — when it “crested a hill” while traveling north in the 7400 block of Lee Chapel Road shortly before 9:30 p.m., the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Wednesday).

“The driver lost control, left the roadway and the vehicle came to rest on its roof,” police said.

An emergency crash notification went out to dispatchers at 9:26 p.m. Officers who searched the area found a 2019 Lexus IS350 off of the road.

Fire and rescue personnel pulled one teen out of the vehicle who was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, but two other teens died at the scene.

The FCPD says its detectives believe preliminarily that the car may have been speeding when it crashed. Lee Chapel Road has a speed limit of 40 mph.

“Alcohol was not a factor in the crash,” the department said.

This is the first fatal crash that the FCPD has reported this year. In a year traffic fatalities spiked across the D.C. area, Fairfax County saw 63 people, including at least 30 pedestrians, killed in 2022 — the most of any year since 2010, according to state data.

Photo via Google Maps

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Northbound S. George Mason Drive approaching the Skyline Plaza entrance (via Google Maps)

A Maryland driver is facing possible manslaughter and hit-and-run charges for a fatal, two-vehicle crash that occurred in Bailey’s Crossroads in May.

Tewodros Worku, 35, was arrested Monday (Dec. 19) by Fairfax County detectives and the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Fairfax County Police Department announced yesterday.

According to the department, detectives with its Crash Reconstruction Unit determined that Worku was the driver of a 2018 Honda Accord that crashed into a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta on South George Mason Drive in front of Skyline Plaza on May 24, killing the Jetta’s passenger and hospitalizing two others.

“Worku originally ran from the scene of the crash. When found by our K-9 unit, he claimed to be a passenger. Detectives determined Worku was the driver of the Honda,” the FCPD said.

At the time, police reported that the Accord was traveling north on South George Mason when it hit the Jetta, which was going south and attempting to turn left into Skyline Plaza, a two-tower condominium complex.

Gladis Suyapa Deras, a 54-year-old Falls Church resident, died at the scene, becoming the fourth non-pedestrian to be killed in a crash on Fairfax County roads this year. The Jetta’s driver was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to police, the Accord driver and a passenger initially fled the scene, but they were located by K9 officers. One individual was arrested and charged with being drunk in public, while the other went to a hospital with injuries considered life-threatening.

The FCPD confirmed to FFXnow that Worku was the person arrested.

Fairfax County General District Court records show that an adjudicatory hearing was held on the misdemeanor charge on July 27. The prosecutor’s office opted not to pursue the charge, and Worku was released on a summons.

FCPD detectives have now obtained warrants for Worku charging him with DUI manslaughter and a felony hit-and-run. The warrants will be served and a trial date set once he’s extradited back to the county, the department said.

There have now been 19 fatal crashes on county roads this year that didn’t involve pedestrians, according to the FCPD. The most recent one came on Prosperity Avenue in Merrifield on Dec. 6.

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

(Updated at 7 p.m. on 12/22/2022) A pedestrian involved in a crash on Richmond Highway (Route 1) in Groveton on Wednesday (Dec. 21) has died, police announced today (Thursday).

Around 6:40 p.m., the driver of a 2014 Nissan Altima going south on Richmond Highway hit 72-year-old Kim Hampton, who was crossing the southbound travel lanes from Beacon Center to Beacon Hill Road, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Hampton was transported to a hospital and ultimately succumbed to life-threatening injuries.

Police said that, based on a preliminary investigation, alcohol and speed don’t appear to be factors, and Hampton wasn’t in a crosswalk, though Richmond Highway has a crosswalk on only one side of that intersection.

The FCPD says Hampton is the 23rd pedestrian killed in a crash on county roads this year, surpassing the 13 such fatalities seen at this point in 2021.

Virginia crash data, which includes crashes on interstates and other roads not policed by FCPD, shows 27 pedestrian fatalities for this year, exceeding every other year since the interactive reports began in 2010.

However, by FFXnow’s count, Hampton would be the 32nd pedestrian to die in a crash this year and the second just this week. The state report only shows one death so far for December, when there have now been at least five.

This is the fourth fatal pedestrian crash on Route 1 this year, following two in July — including a hit-and-run — and one at Backlick Road in Fort Belvoir on Oct. 6.

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Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A man was struck by a bus and killed on Fairfax County Parkway this afternoon, Fairfax County police say.

Police say a preliminary investigation indicates that the man “intentionally jumped in front of a vehicle” at the Old Keene Mill Road intersection in Burke. The call for service went out at 1:48 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The road has been closed from Old Keene Mill to Burke Lake Road to the north. Traffic backups extend for approximately 1 mile, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic information site.

The FCPD confirmed to FFXnow that the vehicle was a bus, but not a school bus.

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Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) Another pedestrian has been killed on Route 50 (Arlington Blvd).

Tomas Escudero Machado, 76, of Falls Church died at the Westmoreland Blvd intersection in West Falls Church around 5:54 a.m. yesterday (Sunday) after he was struck by a driver who may have been speeding, the Fairfax County Police Department said today.

According to police, Machado was crossing the eastbound lanes of Arlington Blvd, heading toward Westmoreland Blvd, when a 2003 Honda Accord headed east on Route 50 hit him.

“The driver struck Machado in the roadway and continued eastbound on Arlington Boulevard, traveling over two medians and striking multiple street signs as well as a pole before coming to a stop,” the FCPD said.

The Honda driver was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

The vehicle crash prompted a closure of Route 50 between Annandale Road and Summerfield Road that was later extended further west to Graham Road. The closure lasted almost the entire morning, beginning around 6:50 a.m. and ending shortly before noon.

Police say alcohol doesn’t appear to have been a factor for the driver, but detectives are still investigating whether their speed may have been an issue.

The press release notes that there is no crosswalk at the intersection where the crash occurred.

Arlington Blvd has two travel lanes in each direction at the intersection, along with two dedicated turn lanes on the westbound side. There are also service roads on both sides of the boulevard, separated by grass medians, with no sidewalk on the eastbound side.

Fairfax County’s pedestrian death toll for 2022 has soared past previous heights since at least 2010. State data shows that there have been 26 fatalities so far, but the report doesn’t yet include at least one death in November or any of the four deaths that have occurred so far in December.

This is the second time this month that a pedestrian has been killed on Arlington Blvd in the West Falls Church area, following a crash at the Allen Street intersection near Graham Park Plaza on Dec. 4.

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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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Kings Park Drive at the turn to eastbound Braddock Road (via Google Maps)

A 70-year-old woman died last week from injuries dealt by an SUV that hit her outside the Kings Park neighborhood in West Springfield half a month earlier.

On Nov. 15, Springfield resident Ly Tran was using the Braddock Road crosswalk to go from Kings Park Drive to the north side, which is the entrance to the Parkwood Baptist Church, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release today.

The crossing requires passing six lanes of traffic, plus three turn lanes with a crosswalk marked only by two parallel lines and a narrow grass median.

While Tran was crossing, the driver of a 2012 Toyota Rav4 turning right from Kings Park Drive onto eastbound Braddock Road struck her.

Tran was transported to a hospital with injuries that were not initially considered life-threatening, but she then died on Sunday, Dec. 4, according to police.

The driver, Willy Vaca Cardozo, 33, of Fairfax, was charged on Nov. 15 with failure to yield to pedestrians with the right of way.

“Speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash,” the FCPD said.

By FFXnow’s count, Tran is now the 30th pedestrian to be killed in a vehicle crash in Fairfax County this year. Virginia data shows 26 fatalities in 2022, but at least one death in November and the three deaths reported in December, including Tran’s, haven’t been counted yet.

In comparison, a total of 14 pedestrian fatalities were reported in 2021. No other year since the database begins in 2010 recorded more than 17 such deaths in the county.

Image via Google Maps

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Virginia State Police vehicle (photo by John Calhoun/JC Photography)

Updated at 11:40 a.m. on 12/9/2022The Virginia State Police says it located the Chevrolet Malibu involved in the I-66 hit-and-run in a local public parking garage after receiving a phone tip last night (Thursday).

“The Malibu has been seized as evidence and is being processed,” police said. “The temporary tags displayed on the vehicle do not belong to the vehicle. The investigation into identifying and locating the driver of the Malibu remains ongoing at this time.”

Earlier: A construction worker was killed on I-66 early this morning after a passing vehicle hit him while he was checking on drivers involved in a separate, two-vehicle crash, Virginia State Police said.

Police are currently asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating a maroon vehicle that drove through an I-66 work zone just east of the Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) exit in Oakton around 1 a.m.

The vehicle was traveling “at a high rate of speed” when it hit the construction worker, who has been identified as 32-year-old Culpeper resident Jonathan W. Franzell, the VSP said.

According to police, the fatal crash was preceded by a collision between two other vehicles at approximately 12:58 a.m.

At approximately 12:58 a.m., a Honda Accord and Ford Taurus collided in the eastbound lanes of I-66 near Exit 60. The driver of the Ford Taurus fled the scene on foot. State police is investigating that crash and working to locate the driver. The driver of the Honda Accord suffered minor injuries and was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

This crash occurred in an active highway work zone and was witnessed by one of the workers. The worker reported to his supervisor that he was going to check on the drivers, exited his work vehicle and ran over to the crash scene.

While checking on the driver of the Honda, a maroon vehicle came through the work zone at a high rate of speed and struck the worker. The vehicle then fled the scene.

Franzell died from his injuries at the crash scene.

The VSP says debris from the maroon vehicle collected at the scene suggests it was a 2013-2015 maroon or burgundy Chevrolet Malibu.

“The Malibu will be missing its driver’s side mirror and have substantial damage to the front driver’s side,” police said.

VSP advises anyone who may have witnessed the crash or have other information about the Chevrolet to call 703-803-0026 or email questions@vsp.virginia.gov. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Franzell is the 28th pedestrian killed by a vehicle crash in Fairfax County this year, by FFXnow’s count. Virginia crash data shows 25 fatalities for this year, but it has recorded only one so far in November, when there were at least three fatal pedestrian crashes, and none yet for December.

This is the second fatal pedestrian crash in the county this week, following the death of 66-year-old Falls Church resident Kamrul Hassan on Route 50 on Sunday (Dec. 4).

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