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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

A motorcyclist has been taken to the hospital with serious injuries after crashing on Route 7 in Seven Corners.

The westbound lanes of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) at Patrick Henry Drive have been closed, as Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives investigate the crash, the Fairfax County Police Department said.

The biker’s injuries are considered life-threatening, according to police. The crash appears to have only involved the one vehicle, FCPD spokesperson Tara Gerhardt told FFXnow.

Drivers are advised to find an alternate route.

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Jake’s Ice Cream in Falls Church employs people with disabilities (courtesy Jake’s Ice Cream/Facebook)

A new gourmet popcorn shop is coming next year to Seven Corners Shopping Center.

Coming from the team behind Jake’s Ice Cream in Falls Church, Jake’s Gourmet Popcorn is slated to open next year at 6201 Seven Corners Center next to Michael’s.

Owner Robin Rinearson, a Fairfax County resident and retired optometrist, opened the Falls Church ice cream shop in August 2021.

Although ice cream is not on the new location’s menu, the team will continue its commitment to to hire people with disabilities, Rinearson told FFXnow. The effort is a partnership with the Arlington Program for Employment Preparedness, which offers internships that are pathways to paid employment.

“I have such a long wait list for employment at the ice cream parlor that I decided to expand the business,” Rinearson wrote in a statement. “I went to graduate school in Chicago where there is a popcorn shop every half dozen blocks. There are none in this area now. It’s time to start. I like a challenge.”

The ice cream parlor is named after Rinearson’s 29-year-old nephew, who has cerebral palsy and has worked for the company for several years. WUSA 9 covered the business, which has gained regional and nationwide attention for its business model.

Jake’s will sell flavors like kettle corn, caramel corn, cheddar cheese, buffalo wing and ranch, barbecue, maple bacon, lemon pound cake, birthday cake, Oreo and strawberry.

Patrons for events will also be able to make special requests for flavors, and seasonal flavors will be available.

Rinearson’s niece and husband — who are both architects — are designing the new shop. It’s expected to open in late winter or early spring 2023.

Photo courtesy Jake’s Ice Cream/Facebook

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The Seven Corners fire station gets demolished (via FCFRD/Twitter)

The one-story fire station on Sleepy Hollow Road in Seven Corners is now coming down after standing for almost half a century.

Demolition work began last week on Station 28 at 2949 Sleepy Hollow Road to make way for the construction of a new, larger facility on the same site, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department announced Monday (Dec. 12).

Firefighters and other personnel moved out of the 8,518-square-foot building back in February, relocating operations to 6637 South Street. The temporary firehouse was previously utilized by the Jefferson Fire Station until that permanent station opened in October 2021.

Originally opened in 1977, the Seven Corners Fire Station had just two vehicle bays and lacked locker rooms and other accommodations for female employees, according to FCFRD.

The replacement station will be 13,513 square feet in size with two stories, three vehicle bays, additional locker room and bunk space, and a storage outbuilding.

Construction was once expected to begin in the fall of 2021, but the county didn’t open bids for a contractor until this past April, ultimately awarding the contract to Roanoke-based Branch Builds Inc. As of September, the project carried an estimated cost of $15.9 million — exceeding the $13 million it received from a public safety bond in 2018.

The difference will be covered by the county’s Public Safety Contingency Fund and a reserve fund specifically intended for escalating construction costs, according to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

FCFRD says construction will begin in the “not-too-distant future” with completion now expected in late 2024.

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Proposed “Ring Road” street changes at Seven Corners (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County has come up with a plan to improve Seven Corners and will be explaining it to residents next week.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is holding two virtual meetings on Nov. 8 and 9 to update and ask for feedback from residents on its findings from the Seven Corners Phasing Study.

The four-phase plan will build a “Ring Road” that the county believes will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as relieve traffic congestion, in the Seven Corners area, particularly where Route 7, Arlington Blvd (Route 50), and Wilson Blvd all meet.

The first phase is to build a Ring Road on the west side of the interchange between Arlington Blvd and Route 7. The Ring Road will then be extended to the south side, and the central interchange will be reconfigured above Arlington Blvd where Route 7, Wilson Blvd, and Sleepy Hollow Road meet. The final phase will complete the Ring Road on the east side of the interchange connecting Wilson and Roosevelt Blvds.

The interchanges in and around Seven Corners are known to be confusing and dangerous. As recently as August, it was the site of a tragedy when a driver veered off the road and fatally hit a pedestrian in a nearby parking lot.

The Seven Corners study dates back a decade when a community task force first started discussing the future of the area.

The task force proposed recommendations in 2015 that were adopted into a plan amendment approved by the Board of Supervisors. At that time, FCDOT committed to a “phasing analysis” to determine how and in what order improvements were to be made.

In June 2020, FCDOT started conducting this analysis looking into “future transportation conditions; incorporated feedback received from previous rounds of outreach; and worked with various stakeholders to identify a recommended phasing approach.”

In Feb. 2021, a community meeting was held to update residents on that work and, again, in November.

Now, a year later, FCDOT is reaching back out to the public for a final round of feedback for the phasing study, which is expected to be completed by early next year.

However, there’s no set timeline yet for the project’s engineering and design phase, which is “dependent upon funding,” FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger told FFXnow in an email.

“The County has applied for Smart Scale funding from the Commonwealth for the first phase of the project and expects to hear early next year whether funding has been awarded,” Geiger said.

The county will also apply for federal funding as well. Once funding from local, state, and federal become available, design, utility coordination, and right-of-way acquisition will commence.

Once funding is awarded, Geiger said it should be expected that Phase 1 will take two years to construct.

The timeline for the other three phases is hard to predict at this point since they are “contingent upon the availability of funds.”

“We will continue to apply for funding progressively based on construction start for each phase,” Geiger said.

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Two cars crashed on Wilson Blvd in Seven Corners, killing a pedestrian in the adjacent parking lot (via Google Maps)

One of the two drivers involved in the Seven Corners crash that killed Maryland father Albert Sweat will face criminal charges, the Fairfax County Police Department announced yesterday (Wednesday).

Yansi Martinez Gonzalez, a 26-year-old resident of Falls Church, was charged on Tuesday (Aug. 30) with reckless driving and driving without a license for her alleged role in the fatal Aug. 18 crash, where two cars collided and one hit Sweat as he was walking in a parking lot in the 6200 block of Arlington Blvd.

According to police, Martinez Gonzalez was driving north in a 2012 Honda Civic on Wilson Blvd when she attempted an “improper” lane change from the left lane, running into the side of a Volkswagen Jetta that was headed in the same direction.

“The collision forced the Volkswagen off the roadway into the adjacent parking lot, striking Mr. Sweat as he was walking,” the FCPD said. “The Volkswagen continued over a median and struck a parked 2010 GMC Yukon before coming to rest in a mulch bed.”

Martinez Gonzalez has been released on a summons ahead of a scheduled court appearance.

A construction foreman, Sweat left behind a wife and eight children. Talking to FFXnow last week, his eldest sister, Jean, and niece, Tierra, described him as a kind, loving person and a music enthusiast.

Tierra Sweat also called for safety improvements around the Wilson and Arlington Blvd intersection where the crash occurred.

Photo via Google Maps

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Albert Sweat, who has eight children, was killed in a crash last week (courtesy Jean Sweat)

The family of a Maryland man who died after a car struck him in a Seven Corners parking lot is seeking justice. 

Albert Sweat, 62, of Silver Spring, was killed on Thursday (Aug. 18) after two cars that were merging into the same lane collided in Wilson Blvd, Fairfax County police reported.

The driver of a 2012 Honda Civic attempted to change from the left lane to the right at the same time that the driver of a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta went from the right to the left lane. Both cars collided, causing the Volkswagen to veer off the roadway into the parking lot.

The Volkswagen hit Sweat, a construction foreman who was walking through the parking lot in the 6200 block of Arlington Blvd. The car also hit a median and an occupied 2010 GMC Yukon.

The police department is continuing to investigate the details of the crash to determine if charges will be pursued.

Family members say they want justice for Sweat, who will be remembered for his love of music — including teaching the art to his children — and his kind and loving personality. 

Jean Sweat, his eldest sister, says the incident is best described as “vehicular manslaughter.”

“Because of two irresponsible drivers…his kids will grow up without a father around. As a husband, brother, father and uncle, he will truly be missed. His demise should not be in vain,” Jean Sweat said.

He leaves behind his wife and eight children, two of which are from a previous marriage. 

His niece, Tierra Sweat, said Albert was in the area working to secure a contract for a gazebo he planned to build. He was killed in front of a guitar store — a bitter irony given his love for music. 

According to Tierra, crash witnesses indicated that the intersection where the crash occurred is prone to accidents. 

“There is a clear problem in that intersection that needs to be addressed,” she said. 

So far, police do not believe that alcohol or speed were a factor in the crash.

Still, Tierra hopes that some change can come out of her uncle’s untimely death — whether it is fines or new traffic laws or an assessment of crashes in that area. 

“This was just negligence and heinous,” she said.

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Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) A pedestrian has died after a crash in Seven Corners that reportedly involved two different vehicles, the Fairfax County Police Department says.

Police received a call for service to the 6200 block of Arlington Blvd at 8:38 a.m., according to FCPD spokesperson Sgt. Tara Gerhard. The person was transported to a hospital, where they died. Both drivers remained on the scene, according to police.

Gerhard confirmed that the crash hasn’t required any road closures. The Virginia Department of Transportation’s live traffic site doesn’t show any significant congestion, though a Route 50 camera at the nearby Patrick Henry Drive intersection appears to be down.

However, the FCPD advises community members to avoid the area.

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Major Crimes Bureau Commander Ed O’Carroll announces charges in a homicide in Seven Corners (via FCPD/Facebook)

A man from Arlington has been charged with second-degree murder after police found a woman who had been set on fire and stabbed multiple times in Seven Corners on Wednesday (Aug. 10).

Richard Montano, 47, was arrested at his home in Arlington around 6:30 p.m. after allegedly fleeing the scene of the homicide in the 2900 block of Willston Place, where police say he assaulted Silvia Vaca Abacay, 40, of Falls Church and set her on fire.

Officers responded to The Villages at Falls Church at 3:05 p.m. after a neighbor reported a man and woman having an argument in an adjacent condominium, the Fairfax County Police Department said yesterday (Thursday).

There, they found Vaca Abacay “on fire and suffering from multiple stab wounds to the upper body,” according to the report announcing the charges against Montano.

“First responders extinguished the fire and attempted to provide life-saving measures. Sadly, she was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the FCPD said.

According to police, a witness reported seeing a man flee the scene, prompting a shelter-in-place order for residents while officers searched the area.

The FCPD says Montano was identified as a person of interest based on “an investigative analysis” of the condo by detectives with help from professional support staff. They also located surveillance footage that showed Montano entering the home prior to the murder, according to police.

The Arlington Police Department provided assistance in locating and arresting Montano, who is being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

In addition to murder, Montano has been charged with burglary with intent to commit murder and burning of an occupied dwelling.

“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is in the process of conducting an autopsy to determine the exact cause and manner of death,” police said.

The FCPD has investigated 14 homicides so far this year, slighly under the 15 homicides recorded by this point in 2021.

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Police are conducting a homicide investigation at The Villages at Falls Church (photo by Ed O’Carroll)

Updated at 5:50 p.m.Fairfax County detectives are still investigating and looking for a suspect in a homicide at Willston Place in Seven Corners, but the shelter-in-place order has been rescinded.

Earlier: Residents of The Villages at Falls Church have been told to shelter in place, as police search for a possible suspect in a homicide in the Seven Corners area.

Officers are currently on the scene in the 2900 block of Willston Place, the Fairfax County Police Department said just after 4 p.m. today (Wednesday).

Police say officers found a dead woman inside an apartment, and a witness reported seeing a Hispanic man wearing a white hat, light blue shirt, and khaki shorts “running” from the scene.

The FCPD advises community members to avoid the area.

The investigation is occurring just blocks away from where police were conducting an undercover drug operation last week that ended with a detective shooting a man.

Area residents were also subjected to an hours-long barricade that Tuesday (Aug. 3) when a man at the Barcroft Hills condominiums was seen carrying a gun and yelling threats from a balcony.

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The marketplace concept is inspired by farmers markets (via Anne Preble/Unsplash)

This month, Fairfax County residents in need will have a couple of opportunities to stock up free fresh produce and other food.

The Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate is taking part in the Capital Area Food Bank‘s Community Marketplace program, which provides fresh produce every second Saturday of the month. The next distribution is slated for Saturday (Aug. 13) from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the center, which is located at 12125 Pinecrest Road in Reston. 

The partnership is the product of an alliance between the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and the food bank, which aims to bring food distributions to communities in need. 

Lately, nonprofit partners have reported high levels of food insecurity in the state and the county. Food insecurity is a growing challenge for moderate-income families in what is becoming a high cost-of-living area.

According to the food bank, one out of 10 residents in the D.C. region is food insecure, nearly a third of them children. 

The Willson Multicultural Center in Seven Corners will also hold a food distribution this month through a partnership with Comunidad, a nonprofit in Falls Church that aims to engage and help locally rooted community leaders.

The event serves over 250 families each month, and volunteers take boxes of food to the homes of local Ukrainian families.

The community marketplace concept intends to bring farmers-market-style opportunities with high-quality, fresh produce for people who are food insecure. The events often include cooking demonstrations, utility assistance, health screenings and descriptions for recipes.

Photo via Anne Preble/Unsplash

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