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Fairfax County Police Lt. Dan Spital talks to the media at Lake Accotink after a coyote bit three adults and two dogs (via Fairfax County Police Department)

Fairfax County Animal Protection has seen an increase in the number of coyote-related calls since a rabid coyote bit three adults, two dogs and an officer last month.

“The recent incident of the rabid coyote at Lake Accotink has understandably created concerns for many residents about wildlife and public health and safety,” the Animal Protection Police said.

However, they say rabid coyotes are relatively rare, and none of the calls have indicated the animals sighted have rabies.

Coyotes are well-established in the county, and it’s normal to see them in parks and residential neighborhoods. They generally avoid human contact. The coyote that was spotted in June displaying signs of rabies — biting vehicle tires and other aggressive behavior — was killed after he bit an officer.

Since then, there have been 12 calls for service related to coyotes in the Springfield area. Seven of those reported coyote sightings involved the animals living close to people but displaying normal behavior, two reported injured coyotes, and the others shared concerns.

Animal Protection Police says most of the behavior reported is not indicative of sick or rabid animals, “especially given the time of year with coyotes raising pups.” Park ecologists were also monitoring the site and did not detect any unusual wildlife behavior on camera, police said.

“Based on the information received, the Animal Protection Police and Wildlife Management Specialist do not consider there to be an increased threat of rabies at Lake Accotink Park,” Animal Protection Police said.

In one call reported in June, a coyote followed a person on a trail, but when Animal Protection Police arrived, the animal was gone.

“The event notes stated the coyote seemed to be displaying normal behavior per the conversation with the caller,” police said. “The behavior described sounded like the coyote was engaged in ‘escorting’ behavior where coyotes will sometimes escort people and pets out of their territory, especially if there might be a den nearby.”

Another call in June reported a coyote “circling, barking, and snarling” at Greentree Village Park, and on Monday, July 18, a caller said he was approached by coyotes twice in Lake Accotink Park but was able to scare them away.

“The caller was fearful that the coyotes might attack him and requested an escort from the park,” police said. “A patrol unit provided him a ride out of the park. There was no mention of symptoms or behavior consistent with rabies in the event notes.”

Police said most of the calls were not within the immediate Lake Accotink area and were reported several miles from the park throughout the greater Springfield area.

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Morning Notes

Capital One Center on Scotts Crossing Road in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Pedestrian Hospitalized By Route 1 Hit-and-Run — “Officers are investigating a crash involving a pedestrian on Rt. 1 & Huntington Ave in Alexandria. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital with injuries considered life threating. Striking vehicle left the scene.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Suspect in Tysons Corner Center Shooting Denied Bond — “The D.C. rapper accused of firing a gun inside Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, Virginia on Father’s Day weekend has been denied bond. The Commonwealth’s Attorney announced that Noah Settles, 22, was denied bond after a bail hearing was held on Wednesday.” [FOX5]

Herndon Police Officer on Leave After Shooting — “A Herndon police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he shot a man fleeing on foot from a traffic stop on Tuesday afternoon, according to Capt. Justin Dyer of the Herndon Police Department.” The man is reportedly in stable condition, and the investigation has been turned over to the Northern Virginia Criminal Incident Response team. [Patch]

Plan to Restrict Trucks Near West Falls Church Metro Nixed — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will no longer hold public hearings next month on a plan to reroute truck traffic away from Grove Avenue at Haycock Road in McLean. The proposal fell through in the face of resident opposition and news that Falls Church City has already banned trucks on N. West Street, which had been suggested as part of the detour. [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax City Bicycle Shop Gets New Name and Owner — “Trek Bicycle Fairfax is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its store on Fairfax Boulevard at 12 noon, on Friday…The bike shop, which is located at 10937 Fairfax Blvd., has been operating from that storefront for years as Spokes Etc. In March, bicycle manufacturer Trek purchased the business from the shop’s previous owners, who chose to retire.” [Patch]

Merrifield Tech Startup Stretches Legs — MarginEdge Co., which runs a platform that helps restaurants manage their finances, is moving its headquarters to a 23,500-square-foot office above Arlington’s Ballston Quarter mall. The company has outgrown its existing 10,000-square-foot space in Merrifield and hopes to “appeal to a new era of office-goer,” co-founder and CEO Bo Davis said. [Washington Business Journal]

Coalition for TJ Cofounder Appointed to State Board — Suparna Dutta was recently appointed to the Virginia Board of Education by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. She co-founded the Coalition for TJ, which has sued the Fairfax County School Board over changes to the admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. [ABC7]

Lake Accotink Park Prepares 60th Birthday Celebration — “A daylong event will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, for the 60th anniversary of Lake Accotink Park. Members of the public are invited from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. for special cost-free activities. Bring your family for classes, demonstrations, historical guided experiences and much more.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

It’s Thursday — Rain until evening. High of 82 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:52 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A coyote (via Ross Sokolovski/Unsplash)

A coyote reportedly bit multiple people in the Springfield area this weekend, including a police officer who shot it.

The Fairfax County Police Department says it received a report around 8 a.m. on Saturday (June 4) of three adults being bitten by a wild coyote in Lake Accotink Park. The animal also bit two dogs, police later confirmed.

Animal protection officers launched a search of the park and coordinated with the Fairfax County Park Authority to clear it and close it to visitors. A police helicopter provided assistance, but the search wrapped up after dusk with no more coyote sightings.

The coyote reportedly resurfaced yesterday morning (Sunday) in the neighborhood along Carrleigh Parkway.

“Community members had seen the animal biting tires, which is indicative of rabid behavior,” FCPD Lt. Dan Spital said in an afternoon press conference.

According to the FCPD, around 12:15 p.m., the coyote bit an officer who was searching woods near the 7900 block of Carrleigh Parkway, just south of Lake Accotink Park.

“The animal snuck up behind the officer, and it did bite him in a lower extremity,” Spital said. “The officer discharged his weapon several times and did kill the coyote.”

Medics responded to the scene and transported the officer to a hospital for treatment. All four of the people who were bitten by the coyote  are expected to make full recoveries, police say.

Lake Accotink Park reopened at 3 p.m. yesterday, according to the park authority.

The coyote will be tested to confirm whether it had been infected with rabies. Results from the Fairfax County Health Department will likely be available tomorrow (Tuesday), the FCPD told FFXnow.

As of early May, Fairfax County had recorded 11 rabies cases this year, nearly all of them among raccoons. There have been reports in Arlington and D.C. of foxes carrying the disease, which affects the nervous system and is typically fatal if it reaches the symptomatic stage.

Photo via Ross Sokolovski/Unsplash

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The Lake Accotink dam in Springfield (staff photo by David Taube)

A 42-year-old man from Lorton faces criminal charges after allegedly sexually assaulting a kid at Lake Accotink Park, the Fairfax County Police Department announced today (Wednesday).

According to police, Louis C. Allen approached the victim at a playground in the park (7500 Accotink Park Road) around 6 p.m. on Saturday (May 21). He “unlawfully touched” her multiple times, first while talking to her in the play area and again after following her into the water when she left to avoid him.

“The victim advised family members of the assault,” the FCPD said. “When family members confronted the man, the suspect got into a vehicle and left the area.”

The assault was reported to police that day, and the family was able to provide identifying information on the man using cell phone footage, including the registration number for his vehicle, according to the FCPD.

FCPD detectives obtained a warrant for aggravated sexual battery and arrested Allen yesterday (Tuesday) with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. Allen was also served with three outstanding warrants: two counts of failure to appear and one for simple assault against a family member.

Allen is currently being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

The FCPD says anyone who might have information about the case or any other incidents of inappropriate sexual contact involving Allen can contact its Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted to Fairfax County Crime Solvers.

“Victim advocates from our Major Crimes Bureau’s Victim Services Division have been assigned to this case to ensure the victim’s family is receiving appropriate resources and assistance,” the police department said.

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Morning Notes

A Virginia Department of Transportation truck at the intersection of Route 1 and Popkins Lane in Groveton, where traffic signals were flashing (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

Metro Leaders Step Down — Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld and Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader resigned, effective immediately, last night (Monday) after the transit agency pulled 72 operators for failing to recertify. Wiedefeld had been set to leave on June 30 but says he wanted to “provide a more timely transition to Interim General Manager Andy Off.” [WMATA]

Mosby Woods Residents Split Over Possible Street Renamings — “The increasingly diverse neighborhood named after Confederate army battalion commander John S. Mosby…is another battleground, with the [Fairfax] City Council set to decide in June whether nine streets in Mosby Woods should be called something else.” [The Washington Post]

Pipe Replacement to Disrupt Wolf Trap Area Traffic — “Lawyers Road (Route 673) just south of Carhill Road will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging Tuesday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 18, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe…Through traffic will be detoured via Garrett Street, Trott Avenue, Vale Road, Hunter Mill Road and back to Lawyers” [VDOT]

Police Share Details on I-95 Crash — “The woman who died in last week’s fatal three-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 in Springfield, Virginia, was identified Monday by Virginia State Police….Speed and driver distraction are being investigated as contributing factors in the crash.” [WTOP]

Herndon IT Company Bought for $4.2B — “Herndon information technology contractor ManTech International Corp. (NASDAQ: MANT) said Monday morning it has agreed to be acquired by D.C. private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CG) in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.2 billion.” [Washington Business Journal]

Decision Nears on Lake Accotink Dredging — Fairfax County will make a final decision “in just weeks” on how to address sediment build-up in Springfield’s Lake Accotink. The options currently on the table would transport the sediment to a nearby industrial park or pipe it to Wakefield Park, where it would then be taken to a quarry via I-495, raising environmental and traffic concerns. [ABC7]

Reston Association’s Pool Season Underway — “Our Pools season has officially started! Check out these scenes from opening weekend at North Shore and Lake Audubon! Thanks to all who came out! We’re ready to have an amazing summer at the Pools!” [RA/Twitter]

Bear Sightings Might Become More Common — “Due to warmer weather, bears are beginning to move throughout the county. Be safe by securing your trash cans and bird feeders, reducing the likelihood of on of our hairy friends popping up in your community.” [Pat Herrity/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 73 and low of 58. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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One of the most heavily used trails in Fairfax County will undergo construction starting this summer to address recurring flooding issues.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is planning to upgrade a portion of the trail at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield. The $3 million project will add a 325-foot-long, elevated, concrete pedestrian crossing over the park’s dam outfall, along with approximately 300 feet of asphalt trail improvements.

“The contractor, Franco’s Liberty Bridge Inc, will be mobilizing on site with active construction activities beginning this summer,” the FCPA said in an announcement on Wednesday (May 4).

Parts of the Lake Accotink Loop Trail will be closed during construction. The FCPA says signs will be posted on the site and advises nearby residents to expect occasional construction traffic entering and exiting the park.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is planning improvements on the trail by the Lake Accotink dam in Springfield (via FCPA)

Despite the short-term inconveniences, the project will likely come as welcome news to visitors like Milo Nekvasil, who says he sometimes takes off his shoes and socks to walk through flooded areas on the trail during light rains. Heavy rains make it impassable for him.

Tree limbs, logs and other debris can clog along the path, causing backups where water would normally flow under the path.

Nekvasil’s experiences aren’t unique. Flooding is frequent and can be sudden, stranding trail users or leading them to wade through waters, according to the community group Friends of Lake Accotink Park.

“Excessive damage due to major storm events has required a total reconstruction of the trail twice in the last five years,” the Park Authority said. “This project will resolve these issues, enhancing safety and accessibility for park users.”

The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2023.

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