Another person has been killed in a crash in the Richmond Highway corridor.
An adult man was transported to a hospital in life-threatening condition. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital, the Fairfax County Police Department said at 10:37 a.m.
“Memorial St is closed as our Crash Reconstruction Unit investigates,” the police department tweeted.
Officers are on scene of a single vehicle crash on Memorial St at Richmond Hwy in Hybla Valley. One adult man was taken to the hospital in life threatening condition and pronounced deceased. Memorial St is closed as our Crash Reconstruction Unit investigates. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/Y4LgKkLIUH
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) February 22, 2024
Just minutes earlier, around 9:21 a.m., Richmond Highway was shut down in both directions in the Lorton area after a multiple-vehicle crash at Hassett Street. Police said at 10:16 a.m. that an adult woman was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
“Please use an alternate route,” the FCPD said.
Both directions of Richmond Hwy closed for roadway clean up:
Officers on scene of a multiple vehicle crash at Richmond Hwy and Hassett St in Lorton. One adult woman taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Please use an alternate route. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/T4HyGmVAY9
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) February 22, 2024
There have now been four fatal crashes along Richmond Highway this month.
A man was arrested on Sunday (Feb. 18) after a reported hit-and-run that killed a pedestrian at the Brevard Court intersection in Woodlawn, and another pedestrian died in a crash at Belfield Road in Belle Haven on Feb. 15. In addition, a 19-year-old driver died after rear-ending a dump truck in Lorton on Feb. 14.
Map via Google Maps
A 32-year-old man from Groveton pleaded guilty on Thursday (Nov. 2) to defrauding the government of more than $1.4 million in fraudulent pandemic-related Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and unemployment benefits.
George Mensah, Jr., 32, admitted in federal court to wire and mail fraud by collecting fees with two unnamed conspirators through CashApp, Zelle and bank transfers, according to court records. The scheme ran from Oct. 2020 to Sept. 2021, during which time Mensah admitted to preparing dozens of fake PPP loans and unemployment insurance claims under the CARES Act.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:
Mensah admitted that he and his coconspirators prepared and submitted over 47 applications for PPP loans for fake businesses. At least 21 of these applications were funded by lenders, which caused an actual loss of at least $583,172. In addition, Mensah admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained the personally identifiable information of others, including identity theft victims, in order to make claims for pandemic unemployment benefits in Virginia and elsewhere. Mensah admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained at least $658,952 in fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance and pandemic benefits.
Mensah admitted to committing the schemes from three locations — an apartment in Springfield, an apartment in Tysons and from his parents’ home in Groveton.
“The defendant and his coconspirators created false tax returns, including Schedule C forms, and fake bank statements to accompany the fraudulent PPP loan applications,” according to court records.
Mensah admitted to collected fees through CashApp accounts and bank transfers, according to court records. Additionally, he admitted to receiving at least 20 Way2Go prepaid debit cards from the Virginia Employment Commission.
The maximum penalty for the offense is 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss, full restitution, forfeiture of assets and a maximum supervised release term of five years, according to court records. Mensah also agreed to pay the government back $1.5 million.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Shartar and Kathleen Robeson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ezra Spiro.
Mensah will be sentenced on Feb. 14.
A Groveton Elementary School teacher is facing indecent liberties and child pornography charges after allegedly exposing himself to a child this weekend — an incident that police say may not be his first.
James William Nugent II, 27, of Alexandria “lured” a juvenile into his Toyota Sienna van in Fort Hunt’s Stratford Landing neighborhood early in the afternoon on Saturday (Oct. 21), the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release yesterday (Wednesday).
“The victim ran away and contacted the police,” the FCPD said, noting that the victim wasn’t injured.
Officers responded to the intersection of Camden Street and Wittington Blvd at 1:30 p.m.
According to the police department, detectives identified Nugent as the van driver based on surveillance footage shared by a community member and a nearby license plate reader. The FCPD partnered with Flock Safety to install automated license plate readers last November, expanding its test of the devices this spring through Oct. 31.
Nugent was arrested yesterday morning. During a search of his residence, detectives found “numerous child sexual abuse material,” the FCPD said.
He has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, an offense that applies to situations involving victims under 15 years old, and 13 counts of distributing child pornography.
“Through our detectives’ investigation, they believe Nugent exposed himself to at least four additional victims near Stratford Elementary School within the past two weeks,” the FCPD said. “Detectives would like to speak to anyone who has information about this case or may have been a victim.”
The department advises anyone with potential information to call 703-246-7800, option 3, or submit a tip through Crime Solvers.
Nugent is currently employed by Fairfax County Public Schools as a resource teacher at Groveton Elementary School, which is almost five miles away from where Saturday’s exposure incident occurred.
“The victim in the case is not affiliated with his employment,” police said.
FCPS declined to comment on the case, directing inquiries to the police department. Nugent is still listed as a resource teacher in Groveton Elementary’s staff directory.
The rent is getting too high, residents of a committed affordable housing complex near Huntley Meadows Park say.
The owner of Lafayette Apartments (7136 Groveton Gardens Road) in Groveton increased rents starting on June 1, even though living conditions have become “unsafe” and “hazardous” in recent years, according to Tenant and Workers United (TWU), a local grassroots organization that supports advocacy efforts by low-income communities of color.
In a protest organized by TWU, residents gathered at the apartment complex’s playground on Sept. 7 to urge Jonathan Rose Companies to stop raising their rents and address maintenance issues.
“These sudden, predatory rent increases for apartments with significant health and safety issues are shocking,” TWU community organizer Marianela Funes said. “It’s this type of behavior that forces our neighbors out of their homes and displaces entire communities.”
Vartania Olivia says she and other residents started organizing with TWU about three months ago after they were informed in May that their rents would be increased.
According to TWU, rents were increased by the maximum increment allowed for a property eligible to receive Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The organization says residents reported “widespread inconsistency” in the amount of the increases and the wording of the notices they received.
A Lafayette Apartments resident for over 11 years, Yesenia Climato says she got a letter stating that her rent would go up by $200 a month on June 1. However, if she didn’t agree to the new rate by signing the letter, the rent would automatically increase even more by $321.
“This increase is too high,” Climato said. “What we want is a stop in the rent increase. We are a low-income community and this is too much for us.”
Rose Community Management, which manages the Lafayette Apartments, confirmed that it increased rents by 10% on average, which it says is “significantly lower than what is allowed by law” for a designated affordable housing community.
The increases came after the company voluntarily froze rents for three years during the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson said. With the neighborhood’s area median income rising 18% over that time, the building could legally raise rents by as much as 17%, according to Rose Community Management.
“It is now necessary to raise rents at the Lafayette Apartments to keep pace with inflation and rising property payroll and operating costs to ensure the property remains in good working order,” the Rose Community Management spokesperson said in a statement. “…We look forward to continuing to serve residents in this affordable apartment community.”
Jonathan Rose says it has completed over $9 million in repairs and maintenance since buying the property, including roof replacements, balcony and chimney updates, modernization of the water heaters, and improvements to the unit floors, countertops and kitchen appliances.
However, residents say conditions have deteriorated since Jonathan Rose acquired the 340-unit property in May 2016.
Issues have included neglected maintenance requests, rodent infestations, unsafe and unhealthy living conditions, and unusable common areas, according to TWU.
“This property has been in such bad condition. They never pay attention to our maintenance requests,” Olivia said. “The pool has been closed for over 4 years. We have pest [infestations].”
The Lafayette Apartments swimming pool reopened on Aug. 18 after being closed for several years due to the pandemic and repairs, according to the property manager.
In light of the rent increases, some residents fear the owner is preparing to sell the apartments, though TWU didn’t elaborate on the basis for that speculation. Jonathan Rose didn’t comment on whether there are any plans to put the property on the market.
“That leaves the future of the community in limbo,” TWU said. “This community is facing exorbitant increases in rent coupled with a lack of maintenance repairs and living conditions that are unsafe and unhealthy. The management company must do better.”
(Updated at 3 p.m.) A child was taken to the hospital last night (Tuesday) after a car crash on Richmond Highway in the Groveton area.
According to police, Jermaine Ridgely, 45, of Alexandria was driving north on Route 1 in a 2003 Infiniti when he hit a southbound 2010 Nissan Altima that was turning left into a parking lot in the 7100 block of Richmond Highway.
“A juvenile passenger in the Nissan Altima was seriously injured in the crash and was taken to an area hospital in life-threatening condition,” the Fairfax County Police Department said, noting that a medic with the fire department “witnessed the crash and immediately rendered medical aid.”
The child remains hospitalized, police said in an update today.
Scanner traffic suggested one other person was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but no other injuries were mentioned in the police news release.
Ridgely was arrested and faces a charge for driving under the influence, along with a citation for failing to obey a highway sign.
“Preliminarily, detectives believe speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the crash,” the FCPD said.
Ridgely is currently being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Road Closure: Officers are on scene of a serious car crash at Rt.1 and Holly Hill Rd in the Groveton area. A juvenile passenger was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries. Crash reconstruction detectives are enroute to the scene to continue the investigation. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/BL73ULalkh
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) July 12, 2023
Photo via FCPD/Twitter
Shortly before 9:30 p.m. on March 30, Luis Merino Berrios was driving south on Richmond Highway in a 2007 Mercedes C230 when he lost control near Groveton Street, a change from the originally reported location of Clayborne Avenue.
From the Fairfax County Police Department:
The driver of a 2017 Jeep Wrangler attempted to make a left turn from northbound Richmond Highway onto Groveton Street. Detectives determined Berrios was traveling at an excessive speed. He attempted avoidance maneuvers, lost control of his Mercedes, and struck the Jeep Wrangler. Berrios’s vehicle spun several times before leaving the roadway striking Samantha Jennings-Jones who was walking on the sidewalk.
Jennings-Jones was declared dead at the scene. She was 36.
Berrios was charged today (Thursday) and released on a summons, which means he’s still legally allowed to drive, the FCPD said.
Police said they didn’t have the exact speed Berrios was driving, but it was “excessive” for that section of Richmond Highway, which had a 45 mph speed limit.
Starting on Tuesday (May 23), the speed limit will be dropped to 35 mph in response to years of concerns about the roadway’s safety. Another pedestrian was killed on Route 1 just a week after Jennings-Jones died, and earlier this month, a motorcyclist was killed in the Lorton area.
According to her obituary, Jennings-Jones was working in the White House Office of the National Cyber Directorate when she died. She had a husband and two cats.
“Sam was a firm believer that friends are the family you choose, and she will be missed by the many friends and colleagues whose lives she touched and was such a big part of,” the obituary said.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) A shooting in a parking lot near Isaac Newtown Square and Wiehle Avenue in Reston left one individual hospitalized with life-threatening injures last night (Tuesday).
Police believe the individual was shot in an act that does not appear to be random, authorities wrote in a social media post.
“The victim remains hospitalized and there are no apparent threats to the community,” police said.
Though it wasn’t publicized until nearly 2 a.m. today, officers were called to the 1900 block of Isaac Newton Square for the shooting at 11:42 p.m. yesterday, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release.
Police believe the shooting occurred inside the victim’s vehicle, according to the release.
Upon arriving at the scene, officers found an adult man who had been shot in the lower body, according to police. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he remains, as of this afternoon.
“Detectives believe the shooting occurred after a verbal argument and continue to investigate to identify a suspect involved,” the FCPD said.
Police said they continue to investigate both incidents.
Officers are in a parking lot near Isaac Newton Sq & Wiehle Ave, Reston for a victim who was shot by unk suspects. Vic was taken to a nearby hospital for injuries considered to be life threatening. Prelim, this does not appear to be a random act. Avoid area as ofcs investigate. pic.twitter.com/EDL1TiWmyJ
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) April 5, 2023
Officers are in the area of South Kings Hwy/Furman Ln in Groveton for an adult man who was shot by an unknown suspect. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital for injuries considered to be life-threatening. Avoid area as officers investigate. pic.twitter.com/KLvB2apcAk
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) April 5, 2023
(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) A 36-year-old Alexandria woman was killed last night (Thursday) after a driver who may have been speeding down Richmond Highway (Route 1) careened into her.
Samantha Jennings-Jones was walking on the sidewalk when a 2007 Mercedes C230 sedan hit her at 9:22 p.m. near the Clayborne Avenue intersection in Groveton, Fairfax County police said in a news release published today (Friday).
Based on a preliminary investigation, police say the Mercedes driver was headed south on Richmond Highway when they collided with a northbound 2017 Jeep Wrangler that was “attempting to make a left onto Clayborne Avenue.”
“The driver of the Mercedes struck the Jeep, left the roadway and spun around before striking Samantha Jennings-Jones,” the Fairfax County Police Department said.
Jennings-Jones died at the scene. She is the second pedestrian to be killed in a vehicle crash within the past seven days after Falls Church resident Ana Julia Acosta De Ostorga was hit while crossing Wilson Blvd in Seven Corners last Friday (March 24).
Prior to that crash, Fairfax County hadn’t seen any pedestrian fatalities in 2023. By this time last year, the FCPD had recorded five pedestrian-related fatal crashes.
“Preliminarily, speed appears to be a factor for the driver of the Mercedes in the crash. Detectives do not believe alcohol to be a factor,” the police department said regarding yesterday’s crash.
As they prepare to present details of the investigation to prosecutors for potential charges, police are still seeking additional information about the crash from community members.
Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact our Crash Reconstruction Unit at 703-280-0543. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.
According to state data, there have now been 10 fatal crashes involving pedestrians on Richmond Highway since 2020.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 7:50 p.m.) Several people have been hospitalized after a crash on Richmond Highway (Route 1) in Groveton that involved four different vehicles, including a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department truck.
One person sustained injuries considered life-threatening, the Fairfax County Police Department says.
Police units were dispatched to a fire department accident with injury at the intersection with Memorial Street near Beacon Center around 5:19 p.m., the FCPD confirmed.
Based on scanner traffic on OpenMhz, at least six people were transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, including two people from a car and four from the fire department truck.
Richmond Highway has been shut down in both directions, and police advise avoiding the area.
The fire department directed comments to FCPD.
Officers are at Richmond Hwy & Memorial St in Groveton for a crash involving a @Ffxfirerescue truck and three vehicles. Several people taken to the hospital, one with life threatening injuries. Richmond Hwy is closed at Memorial St. Avoid the area. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/ihWkO2DG7x
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) March 23, 2023
A person has been hospitalized after a reported shooting in Groveton.
Fairfax County police officers are currently at the scene in the 7100 block of Fairchild Drive.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the suspect left in “a dark-colored coupe,” though no description of the person is available. The department advises anyone with information to call 911.
The address is in the Meadow Woods Apartments. The complex was the site of an extended police barricade last summer after two men allegedly fired handguns at two people in an apartment, injuring one of them.
Officers are in the 7100 blk of Fairchild Dr in Groveton for a shooting. One person shot and taken to a nearby hospital. The suspect left in a dark-colored coupe. Unknown suspect description. Anyone with info, call 911. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/xgViWQULge
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) February 6, 2023