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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

A driver was killed and a motorcyclist seriously injured in two separate crashes in Fairfax County this morning (Thursday).

The fatal crash occurred around 12:30 a.m. on the Capital Beltway (I-495) near Eisenhower Avenue in the Rose Hill area, according to Virginia State Police.

“A tractor-trailer and a Honda sedan collided in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Eisenhower Ave,” the VSP said in a brief news release. “Both vehicles came to a stop on the left shoulder.”

The sedan wound up “under the front of the tractor-trailer,” trapping the car’s driver, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

The sedan driver, an adult woman, died at the scene, police said. As of 6:37 a.m., police were still in the process of notifying the woman’s family.

“The crash remains under investigation,” a VSP spokesperson said. “The Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Crash Reconstruction Team and Motor Carrier Safety Team responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.”

Just a few hours later, around 4:25 a.m., Fairfax County police and emergency medical services responded to a reported hit-and-run that critically injured a motorcyclist on Richmond Highway at Fairfax County Parkway in Fort Belvoir.

“Male motorcyclist hit by a red sedan. Driver of sedan fled the scene,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in a tweet at 5:32 a.m. “Motorcyclist was taken to hospital w/ injuries considered life-threatening.”

According to the police scanner, a dispatcher reported that the motorcyclist “was down” in the roadway and said “their leg is gone.” The responsible vehicle reportedly sustained “heavy front-end damage.”

“It’s going to look like fleeing vehicle shouldn’t have any headlights at the moment,” an officer said at 4:34 a.m. “They’re all on the ground here.”

Southbound Richmond Highway at the intersection was closed for the police investigation. The roadway has now reopened after the vehicle and driver responsible for the crash were located, the FCPD said at 9:12 a.m.

The motorcyclist remains hospitalized, according to police.

Fairfax County police car with lights on (file photo)

A Lorton man was arrested earlier this week for shaking a dog, threatening its owner with a knife and driving wildly down Richmond Highway with police in pursuit.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, Franconia District officers were called to the 9600 block of Eaton Woods Place in Lorton at 4:03 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 24) by a man who said he’d been threatened while walking his dog.

“The victim stated he was walking his dog when he was approached by the suspect,” the FCPD said in a news release published yesterday (Thursday). “The suspect then, without provocation, picked up and shook his dog. The suspect initially fled the area but later returned with a knife and threatened to stab the victim.”

Police say investigating officers were then “flagged down” by community members who reported that “someone was ramming vehicles and driving recklessly on the roadway.”

An officer encountered the suspect — identified as Daniel John Sol, 30, of Lorton — in a 2017 Black Toyota Yaris at the intersection of Richmond Highway (Route 1) and Telegraph Road, according to the police scanner traffic on Open MHz.

The officer told a dispatcher that the Toyota was “doing donuts” in the middle of the intersection and “facing the wrong way in traffic,” hitting multiple vehicles in the process.

“He flipped me off and is taking off,” the officer said, noting that the driver was “doing the speed limit” and suggesting that the people at the intersection get checked for possible injuries..

Per the scanner, the chase proceeded north on Route 1 for several miles with the Toyota driver “swerving in front of traffic, trying to cause an accident,” an officer said. Sol then turned onto Old Mount Vernon Road and crashed into a tree at the Ferry Landing Road intersection.

The chase covered 12.5 miles, and no injuries were reported, though several vehicles “sustained minor damage” before police arrived, according to the FCPD.

Currently held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, Sol has been charged with “Cruelty to Animals, Attempted Malicious Wounding, three counts of Assault on Law Enforcement/Fire/Medical Services, four counts of Felony Hit and Run, two counts of Reckless Driving, Felony Eluding, and Driving Under the Influence,” police said.

Richmond Highway at Brevard Court in Mount Vernon (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) A pedestrian died last night (Friday) after a hit-and-run crash on Richmond Highway (Route 1) in the Woodlawn area of Mount Vernon.

Police officers were called to Richmond Highway near Brevard Court at 10:10 p.m., followed by emergency medical services with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department around 10:12 p.m.

“Vehicle struck a pedestrian. Pedestrian’s face is bloody and shoes were knocked off,” a dispatcher told police, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

Eder Machado Aleman, 36, of Fairfax was hit by a driver while attempting to cross Richmond Highway “outside of the crosswalk,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in an update released shortly after noon today (Saturday).

Aleman was transported to a hospital, where he died. There are no crosswalks at Brevard Court or Buckman Road, the closest signalized intersection. The closest crosswalk to the crash site appears to be on the west side of Richmond Highway at Frye Road.

The driver fled the scene, possibly in a white SUV that a witness reported seeing before the crash, the FCPD said. The vehicle was last seen headed south on Richmond Highway, police said on the scanner.

The crash shut down Richmond Highway in both directions from shortly before 10:30 p.m. until around 1:30 a.m. today (Saturday).

“Detectives continue to work to identify the vehicle involved as well as the driver,” the FCPD said. “Speed and alcohol as factors in this crash are still under investigation.”

Based on state data, this is the seventh pedestrian fatality in Fairfax County this year and the third on Richmond Highway, where a motorcyclist was also killed in May. At this time last year, the county had recorded 14 pedestrian deaths.

In total, there were 32 pedestrians killed in the county in 2022, more than any other year since at least 2010.

Highs and Lows snack shop on Richmond Highway (photo by Matt Blitz)

The owner of a local “exotic” snack shop has been arrested as part of a drug ring investigation by county police.

Last week, the Fairfax County Police Department announced it had arrested four individuals related to an investigation into an “extensive drug ring” in the Mount Vernon District.

One of those arrested was Matthew Powers, owner of the snack and collectible shop “Highs & Lows” which has locations on Richmond Highway and in Springfield Town Center. There’s also a shop inside the mall in Pentagon City.

Highs and Lows is advertised as having the “biggest selection of exotic sodas and snacks” in Virginia, with snacks “from all seven continents.”

Powers, who goes by the moniker “Fresh” and calls himself the shop’s “CE-BRO,” appeared over the summer on Fox5DC to promote the shops.

After a months-long investigation, FCPD says it arrested Powers and charged him with six counts of distributing narcotics and two counts of money laundering.

“During the operation, the detectives successfully confiscated a range of illicit substances, including Psilocybin and LSD, along with two firearms,” police said in the Sept. 18 press release. “Additionally, they seized over $138k in cash, discovered several bank accounts, valuable jewelry, and even a Porsche SUV – all believed to be connected to the illegal operations.”

The release notes that the seized narcotics have an estimated “street value” of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Powers is being held on a $10,000 bond.

FFXnow has reached out to FCPD for more details and to see if the stores were involved in any of the alleged illegal activity but didn’t hear back by publication.

As of yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, Highs & Lows on Richmond Highway was closed, and its phone number was disconnected. FFXnow emailed the business for comment but has not heard back either as of publication.

Three others were also arrested along with Powers, all charged with similar crimes. Those three men are in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County is considering a pilot program to support more murals in its commercial revitalization areas.

The pilot program, called Paint It! Fairfax, was introduced at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors economic initiatives committee meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 19).

If approved, the program would allocate $400,000 to complete at least two murals in the county’s Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRD) and Commercial Revitalization areas (CRA).

Richmond Highway would receive $85,000, with the rest spread out between the other CRDs and CRAs in Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners, Lake Anne, Lincolnia, McLean, Merrifield and Springfield, according to Jenee Padmore, a planner with the Department of Planning and Development’s Office of Community Revitalization.

Murals would remain on the property for at least five years, and artists would agree to repair the mural if it’s defaced or vandalized for a minimum of five years.

The program would begin with site identification and an agreement with the property owner, followed by calls for submission. The artist and committee would then work to finalize a concept to be presented to the community for input, followed by approval from the program director.

A Site and Artist Selection Committee would manage the program.

Elizabeth Hagg, deputy director of the community revitalization office, said that the program was developed at the board’s direction.

“If the board should confirm that this proposal is on target, our intention would be to come back to the board to seek funding through the economic reserve fund,” Hagg told the committee.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity encouraged staff to leverage students and community members to create and design the murals.

Overall, the board said they were supportive of the program. Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, for example, noted that the addition of a mural at The Boro in Tysons is a significant asset. Some developers choose to install murals without specific direction from the county.

“I’m just in awe of it every single time. And I’ve looked at it so many different times,” Lusk said.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik encouraged staff to consider adjusting the program timeline so that community input was prioritized earlier in the process.

“My big concern about this is the order,” she said.

Cars head south on Richmond Highway (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

(Updated 10:55 a.m. on 7/26/2023) The ongoing redevelopment of Richmond Highway (Route 1) in Fairfax County has sparked a larger discussion over whether the benefits of road widening projects outweigh their potential harm.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to bring improvements to a three-mile stretch in the Richmond Highway corridor in two phases: first from Jeff Todd Way to just north of Frye Road, then from just north of Frye Road to Sherwood Hall Lane.

Notably, the changes will widen Richmond Highway from four to six lanes, which will pave the way for bus rapid transit in the corridor but has garnered some pushback from local community members.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth, which advocates for more “sustainable” transportation methods such as walking, biking and transit in the D.C. region, claimed in a recent press release that “wider roads fail, and the public knows this.”

CSG’s Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager Sonya Breehey says road widening projects create induced demand, arguing that adding more travel lanes incentivizes more people to drive and increases congestion in the long run, despite offering short-term relief.

“The idea is, we get stuck in traffic, so we add travel lanes,” Breehey said. “It’s easy for a few years, but then those travel lanes fill back up and then everybody’s clamoring again for more road widening. It’s a cyclical problem.”

Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the county’s Route 1 area in Congress, told FFXnow in an exclusive interview that he supports road widening projects.

“I think [road widening projects] are an important part of congestion relief,” Beyer said. “There’s an alternative argument…that they will fill up as fast as you build them. That’s certainly been largely true in the metro D.C. area for a long time…but at the same time, I don’t know if it’s still true today.”

In addition to adding travel lanes, the Richmond Highway project reserves median space for future lanes dedicated to The One, a bus rapid transit system that aims to outpace traditional bus services with dedicated lanes and fewer stops.

The planned Richmond Highway bus rapid transit map (via FCDOT)

With the BRT expected to be operational in 2030, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission announced last month that the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved $10 million to help implement the bus system from Fort Belvoir to the Huntington Metro station.

“This billion-dollar investment in a new state-of-the-art transportation system and in the communities along Richmond Highway will revitalize the area and provide more safe, convenient and dependable transportation options for the people who live here,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck wrote in a statement.

Storck says road widening can only be “done right” if it is “in coordination” with “walkable, bikeable communities and mass transit.” Read More

Fairfax County police investigate a vehicle crash at Richmond Highway and Holly Hill Road in Groveton (via FCPD/Twitter)

(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.

Police and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units were dispatched to the intersection of Richmond Highway (Route 1) and Holly Hill Road around 8:53 p.m., according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

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.

Photo via FCPD/Twitter

Metro plans to convert all of its buses to zero emissions by 2042 (courtesy Metro)

Metro’s bus facility in Franconia is a step closer to going electric, thanks to a big infusion of funding from the federal government.

The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Metro a $104 million grant to convert its Cinder Bed Road Bus Division garage at 7901 Cinder Bed Road into a fully electric facility, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Monday (June 26).

In addition to supporting new charging infrastructure, the funds will enable Metro to buy about 100 battery-powered buses and develop a training program for drivers, mechanics and first responders, according to Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who lauded the grant in a joint statement.

“We appreciate the Federal Transit Administration’s leadership in the transition to zero-emission bus technology that will help reduce air pollution and improve quality of life across the region,” WMATA Board Chair Paul Smedberg said, thanking the senators and other federal, state and local elected officials for helping secure the money.

Metro’s board of directors adopted a plan in 2021 directing the transit agency to purchase only buses that don’t produce carbon emissions by 2030 and fully transition to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2045.

Metro’s first electric bus arrived this month as part of an initial 12-vehicle batch that will operate out of the Shepherd Parkway garage in D.C., according to WMATA. The vehicles were expected earlier, but the delivery got delayed after a fire in Connecticut last summer forced the manufacturer New Flyer to recall hundreds of buses.

Located northeast of the I-95 and Fairfax County Parkway interchange, the Cinder Bed Road garage houses 121 40-foot buses that serve 11 routes, as of December 2021. It has parking for 160 vehicles and 13 maintenance bays.

According to Metro’s transition plan, the facility could host 112 battery-powered electric buses. It has “safe and efficient site circulation,” but a stacked bus parking layout and existing underground infrastructure for utilities and stormwater pose hurdles.

To fully cover the cost of converting the Cinder Bed garage, the federal grant will be matched by “a combination of local funding,” a Metro spokesperson said.

Fairfax County plans to use the facility for its future Richmond Highway bus rapid transit service. Branded as The One, the system will operate all-electric buses from Fort Belvoir to the Huntington Metro station, potentially beginning in 2030.

“Thanks to our partnership with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and federal support, we will soon deliver a fully converted battery-electric bus facility in Fairfax County,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “This project aligns with the county’s important goal of carbon neutral government operations by 2040 and is an investment in the region’s transit system and clean energy that will bring significant environmental and community benefits.”

The conversion design process is slated to begin later this year, with a projected opening coming in 2027-2028, according to WMATA’s transition plan. Read More


(Updated 10:30 a.m.) A ribbon will be cut today (Wednesday) on a new, affordable housing development in Hybla Valley.

The Residences at North Hill will get a ceremonial grand opening at 10 a.m. at 7250 Nightingale Hill Lane, hosted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Expected speakers include Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay.

A family and senior housing development with mixed-income levels, the Residences at North Hill consist of 279 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across five four-story buildings, according to Pennrose, which developed the project with the nonprofit Community Housing Partners Corporation.

The development includes one building of 63 apartments reserved for people aged 55 and older.

The apartments are priced at 30% to 60% of the area median income, which is “roughly $29,900 to $59,820 for a one-person household,” a media release from the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs says.

Under construction since 2020, the project furthers the county’s goal set in 2022 to create 10,000 affordable housing units by 2034.

It demonstrates the county’s usage of “creative strategies” to ensure affordable housing “despite the current economic realities of high land prices, inflation, and other barriers to entry,” Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Direct Tom Fleetwood said by email.

“I believe housing for all is important to our vibrant, diverse and engaged community,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck told FFXnow by email. “Affordable, senior and market-rate homes are all important elements to ensure that everyone who wants to live in the Mount Vernon District can do so, one of my main goals with the redevelopment of the Richmond Highway Corridor.”

Spanning roughly 33 acres off of Richmond Highway (Route 1), the project is part of the Woodley-Nightingale Redevelopment area, now known as North Hill. The FCHRA first acquired 48 acres of the area in 1981, putting it at odds with residents of an existing mobile home park.

Part of the land was redeveloped as the Woodley Hills Estates mobile home community on Dart Drive, according to the county.

“The remaining 33 acres are now the vibrant, new mixed-income, mixed-tenure type intergenerational community the Richmond Highway needs and deserves,” Fleetwood wrote.

In addition to the 279 affordable apartments, the North Hill community includes 175 market-rate townhouses along Dart Drive, a 12-acre public park, playground and a recreational plaza.

The park, set to open later this summer, will offer parking, trails, an open lawn, basketball court, pickleball courts, picnic pavilion and fitness area. The public plaza, located at the corner of Richmond Highway and Dart Drive, features benches, a lawn, fitness equipment, ping pong and chess tables and a potential bus rapid transit station stop.

The proposed stop will be part of The One, the planned public bus system on Richmond Highway that aims to outpace traditional bus services with dedicated lanes and projects. The BRT is expected to be operational in 2030.

The county’s Embark Richmond Highway Comprehensive Plan “encourages future residential and commercial development around the proposed BRT stations so that residents and workers can walk to transit and other daily needs in a mixed use environment,” according to Fleetwood.

“The Bus Rapid Transit system is the catalyst for the revitalization of the Richmond Highway Corridor, from 70’s era development sprawl to a 21st century, modern, higher-density, transit focused, walkable, livable community,” Storck wrote.

On its project website, developer Pennrose notes that North Hill also provides residents easy access to public services, with banks, pharmacies, health care services and grocery stores located within half a mile of the site.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responds to a landfill fire in Lorton (via FCFRD/Twitter)

(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) A massive fire broke out last night (Monday) at the Rainwater Landfill on Richmond Highway in Lorton, occupying Fairfax County firefighters for hours.

As of 9 a.m., the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department remains on scene in the 9900 block of Richmond Highway after units were dispatched to a reported outside fire at 11:03 p.m.

The department reported at 5:47 a.m. that the fire had been contained, but smoke was still visible from Route 1 and I-95.

Given the size of the fire, it will be at least 24 hours before investigators can determine a cause, FCFRD spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt told FFXnow.

“The fire was contained to the landfill,” Hildebrandt said, describing the site as an area for construction debris rather than a trash landfill.

Established in 1969, Rainwater Topsoil & Recycled Concrete provides mulch, soil, construction and other debris disposal services to Northern Virginia, according to its website.

The mulch section of the landfill appears to have been most affected, since the fire department says the site is “mainly logs & brush.”

“Due to the amount of smoke generated, HazMat units conducted atmospheric monitoring. All readings are within normal levels,” the FCFRD said at 12:25 p.m.


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