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A driver lost control of their vehicle last month on Spring Street (Photo via Stephanie Frye).

(Updated on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 to clarify an accident account and add attribution) Increased redevelopment in the Town of Herndon’s transit-oriented core may come with a price: increased concerns about road safety in quiet neighborhoods designed for low speeds, town officials say.

Late last month, a Jeep flipped over on Spring Street, hitting a tree right in front of a home. The driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle, police said. 

A series of crashes in the area have prompted the creation of a neighborhood coalition that is calling on the town for change. Most of the residents are in and around Spring Street.

At the forefront of that effort is Stephanie Frye, who claims she was almost struck by a drunk driver in the middle of the day while walking her dog on the sidewalk of Spring Street in downtown Herndon. 

She said a police officer told her the driver was going nearly 60 mph on a street where the speed limit is 25 mph. The driver crashed into another car and ended up on the frontward of a home on 651 Spring Street, destroying a concrete pillar on the site, she says.

The Town of Herndon said that there is no record that the individual was going nearly 60 mph on the road, according to a town spokesperson. The police department’s police report characterizes the incident as a DUI.

Since that May 2018 incident, Frye and other residents asked town officials to make the area safer. 

Part of the problem is cut-through traffic. Many drivers seem to be using Spring Street to avoid Elden Street and the Dulles Toll Road. 

The regularity of seeing a car on its side in a ditch, a road sign at a 30 degree angle from being hit, cars flipped onto their roofs, car mirrors and other parts scattered in front yards, fresh tire marks on the sidewalks, cars crashed into town establishments has become a regular occurrence,” Frye said.

But of the four crashes that happened on this stretch of Spring Street from Elden to Van Buren streets this year, speed was not even a contributing factor, according to a spokesperson for the Herndon Police Department. 

In two crashes, the drivers lost control of their vehicles. The third incident was a hit-and-run in which a car took out the sideview mirror of a car parked on the shoulder. The fourth accident was attributed to a driver who did not have the right-of-way. 

“These have been the only four accidents over a twelve month period in that portion of Spring between Elden and Van Buren,” said police department spokesperson Lisa Herndon. 

In April, residents compiled a list of incidents and mitigation measures to the town after a car crashed into a crepe myrtle on the side of the road. 

Four months later, a Jeep took out the same tree as it careened onto its roof. 

A seven-day speed study conducted by the town in mid-May found that speeds were below state standards that trigger changes to engineering traffic controls. Average speeds ranged between 28 and nearly 27 mph. 

“The town is looking at the accident and assessing the area,” Kelly Garrone, a spokesperson for the Town of Herndon, told FFXnow.

Ideas include further reducing the speed limit to 15 mph, trimming trees to make sure speed limit signs are visible, adding speed camera on Grace Street near the school zone, and adding speed cushions in particularly problematic areas. They have also suggested making residential streets for “local traffic only” and upping police enforcement. 

The stalled redevelopment of Downtown Herndon — which is on pause — and the start of service for Silver Line Phase II will likely bring more cars, town officials have noted in previous town meetings The town has several major projects in the works to add relief to area streets.

Residents wonder if it may be too late before a casualty takes place.

This isn’t the first, and certainly not the last accident that has occured on Spring Street that could have killed one of our neighbors,” Frye said.

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Alfaro Rodriguez Juan was arrested in connection with a series of indecent exposure incidents (Photo courtesy FCPD).

Local police have arrested a Herndon man in connection with a series of indecent exposure incidents near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Reston and Herndon.

Fairfax County police arrested and charged Juan Alfaro Rodriguez, 42, with five counts of indecent exposure. Rodriguez was arrested on Thursday for warrants from another state.

Detectives believe the suspect was involved with at least 13 cases in Fairfax County and eight incidents in the Town of Herndon. The arrest was made after collaboration between the Herndon Police Department and FCPD.

Rodriguez lived in the Town of Herndon since January, according to FCPD Lieutenant Ryan Lazisky, assistant commander of the violent crimes division. He had an outstanding warrant for attempted rape in New York.

Detective continue to investigate if Rodriguez is linked to other cases.

“We believe there is information out there that could lead us to additional charges,” Lazisky said at a press conference today (Monday).

FCPD received a tip from the U.S. Marshalls last week. The department’s fugitive team acted promptly to arrest Rodriguez, who was attempting to flee the state.

Photo via FCPD

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Paul Veneto is pushing a beverage cart to raise awareness about 9/11 (Photo via Herndon Police Department).

Town of Herndon police officers gathered on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail Wednesday to celebrate a peculiar site: a retired flight attendant pushing a beverage cart.

“It was an honor to welcome Paul “Paulie” Veneto to the Herndon as he continues Paulie’s Push,” the Herndon Police Department wrote.

Paul “Paulie” Veneto — a former flight attendant whose colleagues were killed on Sept. 11 — trekked through the Town of Herndon this week in memory of the victims of that fateful day.

FFXnow’s sister site ARLnow previously reported that Veneto’s shift on Flight 175 had ended, sending a new crew into the skies on its normal route from Los Angeles to Boston. They were all killed.

Veneto is now pushing an airplane beverage cart 30 miles from Dulles International Airport to the Pentagon — tracing the path of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon and killed 184 people.

He began his journey on Sept. 8. He hopes to wrap up on Saturday, the 21st anniversary of 9/11.

Last year, he embarked on a lengthier journey — pushing a beverage cart across 230 miles from Boston Logan International Airport to Ground Zero in New York.

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A Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

A naked man grabbed a woman at the Washington & Old Dominion Trail between Town Center Parkway and the Fairfax County Parkway in Reston on Friday (Aug. 26), according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The suspect may be connected to other indecent exposure incidents in the area, police say. Later that day, police officers in the Town of Herndon investigated an indecent exposure on the trail near Ferndale Avenue.

County police say that, around 8:12 a.m., a man approached the woman from behind and grabbed her around the waist near mile marker 18.5. The woman was able to break free.

Police were unable to catch the suspect, who ran off without pants. They describe the suspect as white or Hispanic, between 5’5”and 5’8”, and between 30 and 40 years old. He has athletic build and was wearing a dark-colored head band and a yellow exercise vest.

Police believe the same man may also have exposed himself between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Aug. 3, 15, and 18 on the trail near Fairfax County Parkway.

Here’s more from FCPD on how to provide information about this and other incidents:

Anyone with information about this case can contact detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Community members residing in the area are asked to review home surveillance for any suspicious activity. 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 and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

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The Herndon Police Department (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Herndon Police Department is poised to upgrade its body camera equipment five years after the program officially began.

Police spokesperson Lisa Herndon tells FFXNow that move was necessary because the police department’s old system became “antiquated.”

The new system offers better image quality, and officers can also access the cameras and videos remotely, a feature not available in the department’s current cameras, according to Herndon. 

At an Aug. 9  meeting, the Herndon Town Council approved the allocation of roughly $1 million for the program with funds from the American Rescue Act.

The upgraded system is also in sync with regional partner agencies, allowing law enforcement to share information more efficiently across agencies.

These upgrades to our in-house technology will ensure that our agency is up to date with new equipment to investigate crimes more efficiently, accurately, and successfully in the Town of Herndon,” Herndon said.

The upgrades also include updated forensic computer equipment that allows police officers to access and analyzes digital devices and information for criminal investigations. 

In the past, some devices and information had to be sent to partner agencies, creating what Herndon said was “delays in the investigation process.”

Herndon’s police body camera program went into effect in the summer of 2017.

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Herndon Parkway is closed to Elden Street traffic due to downed utility poles (via Herndon Police/Twitter)

A car crashed into a utility pole on the 900 block of Herndon Parkway yesterday (Wednesday) evening, resulting in an ongoing, hours-long road closure.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a driver lost control of his car in the heavy ran and crashed into a utility pole.

When crews attempted to remove the car, the wiring lost tension and caused a “chain reaction,” leading to the collapse of several other utility poles, according to police.

“The driver suffered minor injuries and was treated on-scene,” Herndon Police Department spokesperson Lisa Herndon told FFXnow.

Police advised drivers to avoid the area around Herndon Parkway and Palmer Drive, as the road closure was expected to last into this afternoon (Thursday). The parkway’s outer loop was closed at Elden Street, with traffic in both directions being diverted there.

A flagger to escort residents who need access to their homes has been positioned outside the Capital One Bank at the Herndon Parkway and Elden intersection.

Photo via Herndon Police/Twitter

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Town of Herndon police (courtesy Herndon Police Department)

A man was injured during a carjacking and shooting in Herndon over the weekend, the Herndon Police Department said in its weekly recap.

The man said that someone he knew assaulted him, fired a gun at him and stole his car in the 500 block of Fairfax Lane on July 23 around 9 p.m.

The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The car was later found, according to the HPD. No information about an arrest was immediately available. 

Police said the case is under investigation. They were alerted to the scene after multiple callers reported hearing a gunshot in the area. 

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Town of Herndon police (courtesy Herndon Police Department)

A man who was shot by police during a chase earlier this month remains in stable condition.

The individual, whose identity has not yet been released, brandished a weapons during a chase that started when three suspects drove off in a stolen car, according to the Herndon Police Department. The incident happened on July 5.

Since then, the individual remains hospitalized but is stable.

The incident started when police attempts to pull the car over on the 600 block of Dulles Park Court.

The hospitalized suspect is in the custody of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, according to the police department.

“All outstanding warrants unrelated to the shooting were served,” a spokesperson for HPD told FFXnow.

HPD did not respond to requests for comment on the charges and whether or not the suspect will be released soon.

After the shooting, the officer who fired their gun was put on administrative leave while the Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team conducts an investigation, according to police, who said that it will be up to Chief Maggie DeBoard to decide whether to release any related footage.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” HPD spokesperson Lisa Herndon said. “The officer involved is on restricted duty until the Commonwealth’s Attorney determines criminal culpability.”

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Morning Notes

A bicyclist on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail passes Herndon Caboose Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

More Money Requested for Silver Line Phase Two — “Officials with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority are seeking an additional $250 million in funding to pay for construction…citing the project’s complexity, coronavirus-related restrictions, an increase in the cost of building materials, and supply chain slowdowns as key factors for the cost increase.” [The Washington Post]

Mochi Doughnut Eatery Opens in Vienna — The regional chain Donutchew has opened a franchise in the former Starbucks at 107 Maple Avenue West, offering about 20 flavors of doughnuts made with glutinous rice flour. The shop gives Vienna a second option for mochi doughnuts and bubble tea after Bubble Mochi opened nearby in January. [Patch]

Man Robbed on W&OD Trail in Herndon — “The victim reported he was walking along the W&OD Trail on the afternoon of Thursday, July 14, 2022, when he was approached from behind by two unknown suspects. The suspects robbed the victim of personal property. The case is under investigation.” [Herndon Police]

Vienna Business Committee Chair Dies — “It’s not easy assuming a leadership role during a pandemic, but Robert ‘Bob’ Leggett did it willingly and enthusiastically when he became chairman of the Town Business Liaison Committee (TBLC) in 2020. Upon learning of his death on Sunday, July 17, 2022, Town leaders reflected on Leggett’s ability to bring people together for the greater good of the community.” [Town of Vienna]

Fairfax Station ATM Stolen From Gas Station — “Authorities say two men forced their way into a gas station in Fairfax and stole the automated teller machine inside. The incident happened just after 4:05 a.m. Tuesday at the Exxon at 5211 Ox Road. Police say the men loaded the ATM into a white van and fled the area.” [FOX5]

Vienna Revises Historic Site Definition — The Vienna Town Council voted unanimously on July 11 to amend an ordinance to make buildings, structures, businesses and sites eligible for the town’s historic register if they’re at least 100 years old. The town previously defined sites as historic if they’ve been at their current locations or in continuous use or operation since before 1900. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

County Library Foundation Board Elects New Chair — “The Fairfax Library Foundation is excited to announce that Miriam Smolen has been elected chair of the board of directors beginning in 2022-2023. Miriam will replace outgoing Chair, Patricia Reed. She previously served as the board’s special projects lead.” [Fairfax Library Foundation]

Students Master Cake and Swordplay at Summer Arts Program — “The teenagers are part of Fairfax County Public Schools annual Institute for the Arts, a summer program that encourages kids — even those not enrolled in FCPS — to explore subjects like ‘Modern Buttercream Techniques’ or ‘Stage Combat’ that either aren’t traditionally offered during the school year or may not fit into a student’s academic scheduling needs.” [FCPS]

It’s Wednesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:01 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A rainbow at sunset over Reston Town Center (photo by Beth Allgaier)

Police Uses of Force Prompt Town Hall — Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk’s office will host a virtual town hall on July 21 to discuss recent use-of-force incidents by Fairfax County police officers. Lusk, who chairs the Board of Supervisors’ public safety committee, said he shares community concerns “about both the nature of these incidents, as well as the frequency at which they are occurring.” [Rodney Lusk/Twitter]

Possible Reston Arts Center Delayed — Reston Town Center developer Boston Properties got approval to extend the deadline for when Fairfax County has to decide whether to build a new performing arts center by six months. A proffer agreement for the next phase of the center’s development allows the county to require an arts center or a park on the site along Sunset Hills Road. [Patch]

Local Students Take in New Images of Deep Space — “On Monday, the world got a look at the first image from the most powerful telescope ever launched into space, the James Webb Space Telescope…More images were released on Tuesday, and in Fairfax County, students taking part in summer learning programs got their first look with a NASA Solar System Ambassador in Burke, Virginia.” [WTOP]

Prepare for New Running Bamboo Regulations — “The effective date for a new ordinance designed to control the spread of ‘running bamboo’ is still nearly six months away, but Fairfax County’s Department of Code Compliance is already working to get property owners prepared.” [Patch]

Vienna Delivery Company Leases Warehouse — “Vienna-based LaserShip signed a lease for a full 105K SF warehouse building in Chantilly, Virginia, the company announced Tuesday. The property it leased, the Stonecroft Industrial Center, is located at 14850 Thompson Road…The lease represents an expansion of LaserShip’s Northern Virginia footprint, where it already operates in Chantilly.” [Bisnow]

Herndon Police Remind Drivers to Stop — “THIRTY citations were issued over the past two weeks for drivers failing to come to a complete stop. Stop. At red lights. At stop signs. Not only is this the law, but it keeps our town safer!” [Herndon Police/Twitter]

Mini Golf Enlivens Capital One’s Tysons Campus — “Eleven stories up, on a rooftop at the corporate campus of one of America’s biggest banks, grown adults are playing miniature golf…They’re at Perch Putt, an 18-hole mini-golf course complete with bright green Astroturf and undulating greens. It’s one of the more playful, if unexpected, amenities of the corporate landscape.” [Fast Company]

Vienna Community Group Auctions Custom Yard Signs — “Rustic Love and Vienna Arts Society, two nonprofits based in Vienna, have teamed up for an auction that launched Sunday. The auction features 20 heart signs built by Rustic Love volunteers and painted by Vienna Arts Society artists.” [Patch]

It’s Wednesday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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