Email Newsletter
A school bus in Vienna (file photo)

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A former Fairfax County Public Schools bus driver and an attendant have been charged with abuse and neglect after a 3-year-old kid was injured on a ride home from school, police reported today (Monday).

According to the Town of Vienna Police Department, its officers were called to a school bus stop on March 18 in response to a verbal argument between the bus driver and a parent, who requested that their kid be taken to a hospital by Fairfax County firefighters.

“It was later determined that the 3-year-old special needs child had suffered a severe head injury,” Vienna police said.

Rqia Tabite, 36, and Teresa Wessells, 70, both residents of Falls Church, have been charged with one count each of abuse and neglect of a child — a class 4 felony in Virginia — after a Vienna police investigation determined that they had “failed to provide proper care to the child,” according to the news release.

The department says the investigation was done with “the full cooperation” of FCPS, which launched an independent follow-up investigation. An FCPS spokesperson told FFXnow that Tabite and Wessells are no longer employed by the school system.

Fairfax County Child Protective Services also conducted an investigation.

Vienna police obtained warrants on May 19, and Tabite and Wessells were arrested on May 20 by the Fairfax County Police Department. They have since been released on unsecured bonds.

“The child is not being identified at this time but is at home with his family and is receiving necessary treatment,” the VPD said.

In a separate incident, a former FCPS bus driver remains under investigation by Fort Belvoir after allegedly slapping a student on March 16.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Yellow flowers at Walker Nature Center in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Motorcyclist Injured in Crash — Fairfax County police detectives responded to a crash involving a motorcycle & vehicle at Braddock Road and Second Road in the Fairfax area around 1 p.m. yesterday (Sunday). The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital with injuries initially considered life-threatening but later got upgraded. [FCPD/Twitter]

GOP Selects 8th and 10th Congressional District Nominees — Karina Lipsman, a Ukranian-born defense worker who lives in Arlington, beat four other contenders to become the Republican nominee for the 8th District, where she’ll face either incumbent Rep. Don Beyer or his Democratic challenger Victoria Virasingh. The 10th District will be a contest between incumbent Rep. Jennifer Wexton and Navy veteran Hung Cao. [WTOP]

Amazon Testing Retail Delivery Drivers in Tysons — “Amazon is turning to its legions of contracted Flex drivers to deliver packages from mall-based retailers, allowing sellers to ship products from their own stores using the e-commerce giant’s delivery service…Amazon is also testing the service in Chandler, Arizona, and Tysons Corner, Virginia, according to Bloomberg.” [CNBC]

McLean Bible Church Seeks Election Redo to Stop Lawsuit — “The conflict over the McLean election is part culture war, part battle over bylaws, fueled by political polarization and the broader evangelical ‘woke wars,’ combined with a recent pastoral transition and a global pandemic.” [Religion News Service]

People Attacked With Machete in Groveton — “3500 block of Robert E. Lee Place, 5/13/22, 11:51 p.m. Two men displayed a gun and assaulted two victims with a machete. One victim was transported with injuries not considered life threatening. Preliminary, this does not appear to be a random act.” [FCPD]

Reston Home Depot Robbed — “1651 Reston Parkway (Home Depot), 5/17/22, 4:16 p.m. A man exited the store with merchandise without paying. When confronted by store employees, he displayed a firearm and ran away. No injuries were reported.” [FCPD]

Vienna Police Investigate Vehicle Window Smashings — “First, it was a rash of catalytic-converter thefts that kept Vienna police hopping earlier this year. Now vandals have been damaging vehicles’ windows. Vienna police on May 17 received four reports of vandalism on vehicles parked on two streets.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Light rain starting in the afternoon. High of 72 and low of 59. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:23 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

It’s gosling season at Lake Audubon in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Family of Slain Alexandria Man Urge FCPD to Resume Search — Family members and friends of Ahmed Hasheem Ebrahim called on Fairfax County police yesterday (Thursday) to resume searching for his body at a landfill in King George County. Police believe Ebrahim was killed in an attempted robbery in Lincolnia and have arrested and charged two people in connection with his disappearance in mid-January. [The Washington Post]

FCPD Sex Trafficking Lawsuit Allowed to Advance — “A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit against two former police officers accused of protecting a sex trafficking ring in northern Virginia in exchange for sex can move forward…The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a Costa Rican woman identified in court papers only as Jane Doe.” [WTOP]

Local Groups Call for Lockheed Blvd Improvements — “Together, the leaders expressed appreciation for the county’s proposal to add standard bike lanes along the roadway near Huntley Meadows Park but insisted that protected bike lanes or a cycle track were necessary to ensure cyclist safety.” [On the MoVe]

New I-66 Express Lanes on Track to Open This Year — “Although VDOT has not given an exact date yet, spokesperson Michelle Holland tells 7 News that as long as the weather does not cause major construction delays, the new express lanes should open some time in December at the latest. Construction on the lanes has now been going on more than four years.” [ABC7]

Nearby: Landmark Mall Demolition Begins — “After two decades of Landmark Mall redevelopment being just out of reach, city officials and developers alike let out wild roars of satisfaction as the wrecking ball crashed into the side of the building…There’s still a long way to go before the first buildings of the new hospital and mixed-use development start coming online — currently slated for 2026.” [ALXnow]

Man Pushing Stroller Hit by Vehicle in Vienna — A pedestrian told police that he was knocked to the ground by a vehicle while pushing his child in a stroller past the Chick-fil-A parking lot at 538 Maple Avenue W on April 27. According to the Vienna Police Department’s weekly recap, the driver attempted to talk to the pedestrian, who left the scene but later reported the incident. [Vienna Police]

Local Foster Parent Awarded — “Congratulations to Sue Christenson! She’s been recognized as the 2022 Fairfax County Foster Parent of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). Sue has been a foster parent for nearly 15 years, and she is happily spending her golden years giving precious children a new beginning.” [Fairfax County Government/YouTube]

Lunar Eclipse May Be Visible Sunday — “The first of two total lunar eclipses visible to Virginia and DC residents in 2022 occurs Sunday night into Monday and will turn May’s full flower moon blood red. Oh, and it’s also a supermoon — depending on whom you ask.” [Patch]

It’s Friday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 69 and low of 58. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:14 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
Construction on Vienna’s new police station is expected to be complete in July (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

It will cost the Town of Vienna nearly $300,000 more to finish construction on its new police station at 215 Center Street South.

The Vienna Town Council agreed last week to authorize spending increases of $249,310 for contractor Hoar Construction and $48,817 for project manager Downey & Scott.

However, town officials emphasized that the overall project is still on track to come in $98,913 under the $17.3 million allocated to it from bond funding and cable fees.

“The police station has several different components to it,” Vienna Director of Finance Marion Serfass said at the May 2 meeting. “Some items are under the original budget, and some are over, but in total, the entire project is under budget by $98,000.”

One of the items that has gone over budget is Downey & Scott’s contract, which was originally approved in January 2019 with a $318,950 price tag.

Hired to manage the construction process, the firm previously requested and received an additional $67,680 in October, citing a longer-than-anticipated pre-construction phase and “unknown condition incidents” that emerged after work on the site began.

Bringing the firm’s bill up to $437,897, this new increase was needed to extend the contract by 90 days, according to a memo sent to the town on April 8.

“Due to supply chain disruptions, the roofing materials, fencing, and other materials have been delayed,” Downey & Scott said in the memo, reporting that Hoar’s estimated completion date for the project is July 19.

That will be “less than a month late despite historic issues with construction materials and the supply chain,” according to town staff.

The town council approved both funding requests without any public discussion, but members said they had talked about them in a closed conference session.

“I just want the public to know we discussed this in detail,” Councilmember Chuck Anderson said. “We asked a bunch of questions, so it’s not like we’re just automatically approving it.”

Construction on the Vienna Police Department’s new building began in January 2021. When completed, the station will be approximately 30,000 square feet in size with a firing range, additional interview rooms, more personnel and storage space, and a 1,500-square-foot multipurpose room that could be used by the community, among other amenities.

0 Comments
Vienna police SUV (via Vienna Police Department/Facebook)

In a sequence of events that could’ve been ripped out of a pulpy crime thriller, a man in Vienna was reportedly taken for a ride and robbed at gunpoint — potentially by a trio spotted patronizing a local gun shop earlier that day.

Around 2:40 p.m. on April 9, the man was picked up by three men in a vehicle, one of them an acquaintance, at the Giant shopping center (359 Maple Avenue), according to the Vienna Police Department’s recap for the week of April 8-14.

“While they were driving around, the three men displayed handguns and announced a robbery, taking the citizen’s belongings,” police said. “The men allowed the citizen to exit the vehicle on Cabin Road where he ran to the nearest residence for assistance.”

According to the police report, a citizen reported seeing a man shopping for a handgun at Vienna Arsenal (386 Maple Avenue East) between noon and 1 p.m. that same day. The shopper allegedly left the gun store in a vehicle with two other men.

The report doesn’t specify whether the citizen is the same person who was robbed, but it does say that the person “thought the men may be related to the robbery.”

“Unfortunately, this is an active case and we can’t comment on it at this time,” a VPD spokesperson told FFXnow when asked if the “citizen” referenced in both incidents is the same person.

Police say anyone with information or video related to the armed robbery can contact Detective Herrera at 703-255-7821 or mherrera@viennava.gov.

A chore and errand take alarming turns

In other Vienna crime news, a resident of the Park Terrace Condominiums (200 block of Park Terrace Court) told police that a verbal argument with another woman in the complex’s communal laundry room escalated into a physical assault.

“The resident reported that during the dispute, the woman punched her,” Vienna police said of the incident, which occurred at 10 a.m. on April 10. “The resident was advised of the warrant process should she wish to pursue charges against the other resident.”

For a different Vienna woman, a visit to the post office on Lawyers Road became an occasion for distress when a man followed her “for several blocks,” according to the police summary:

Suspicious Event 22-003436
Post Office
200 Lawyers Road, NW
April 12 11:30 a.m.
A resident reported that she was at the Post Office when she observed a man who was trying to get her attention. The man followed the resident for several blocks. When the woman tried to take a picture of the man’s license plate, he became angry and got out of his vehicle. The woman drove immediately to the police station to report the incident.

The VPD says an officer tried to speak to the owner of the vehicle that the man reportedly drove, and those attempts “were unsuccessful.”

Photo via Vienna Police Department/Facebook

0 Comments
A school bus in Vienna (file photo)

A fight broke out between a school bus driver and three teenagers, escalating into an assault, the bus driver told Vienna police last week.

According to the Vienna Police Department’s report for the week of March 11-17, the bus driver started following the teens’ vehicle after he observed them “driving erratically, running stop signs, and tailgating the bus.”

“The bus driver followed their vehicle and stopped to record the license plate,” the report said. “The juveniles were trying to block him from recording the license plate when he was thrown to the ground and they began assaulting him.”

Police officers responded to the scene in the 300 block of Kingsley Road SW around 5:10 p.m. on March 14. They explained the warrant process to the bus driver in case he decided to pursue charges.

Officers were also recently called to the 700 block of Talahi Court SE to help rescue personnel with two youths who required medical assistance after consuming “an edible laced with an unknown drug,” according to the police report.

Found near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail at 6:28 p.m. on March 11, the juveniles were transported to a local hospital in a condition not considered life-threatening.

Also included in the most recent Vienna crime recap was a report of a customer harassing local food service workers over a pizza delivery:

Paisano’s
312 Maple Avenue West
March 12 9:52 p.m.
An employee reported that a customer called the restaurant, upset that their delivery was taking too long, used vulgar language, and threatened the employees.

0 Comments
Vienna police car (via Vienna Police Department/Facebook)

(Updated at 7:10 p.m.) Vienna police have identified a suspect in last summer’s fatal shooting at the Vienna Park apartment complex.

Andrew Gordiyenko, 20, from the Vienna area was arrested around 1 p.m. yesterday (Monday) and charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly shooting 21-year-old Matthew Chadwick on June 10, the Vienna Police Department announced today (Tuesday).

He has also been charged with reckless handling of a firearm and unlawful firing in an occupied dwelling. All three charges are felonies.

Gordiyenko is currently being held on no bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Vienna police officers were dispatched to the 100 block of Patrick Street SE in the early morning hours of June 10, 2021 for “an unknown situation.” Upon arriving, they found a man inside an apartment who had sustained a gunshot wound to the head.

The victim, later identified as Chadwick, was transported to the hospital. Police reported that he died from his injuries on June 14, but an obituary says he died on June 11.

When FFXnow asked for clarification, the Vienna Police Department confirmed that Chadwick died on June 11. June 14, 2021 was the date of the autopsy.

While declining to comment on specifics of the investigation, the department’s Criminal Investigations Section said the charges and arrest were the result of months of work by Vienna and Fairfax County police as well as the county’s Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

“Numerous interviews and search warrants were conducted, evidence was recovered and examined, which is how Mr. Gordiyenko was determined to be the suspect,” CIS said in a statement. “The involved firearm and ammunition were recovered…I cannot comment on the motive of the shooting, but we believe the charges are appropriate.”

Photo via Vienna Police Department/Facebook

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Townhouses on Lake Audubon in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Man Charged With Assault on Police Officer — “Yesterday, Michael Vaughn, 34, was charged with five felonies and two misdemeanor charges stemming from the officer-involved shooting that occurred on Feb. 15 in 8300 block of Fitt Court in Lorton. He remains held at the Adult Detention Center without bond.” [FCPD/Twitter]

FCPS to End Virtual Learning This Year — With vaccines now available for school-age children, Fairfax County Public Schools will discontinue a limited virtual program for students with medical concerns due to the pandemic. At-home instruction will only be for students with significant health risks that prevent them from attending school in-person after this academic year. [FCPS]

Vienna Approves Police Body Cameras — “Vienna Town Council members on Feb. 28 unanimously agreed to allow the police department to use $223,732 in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to implement the camera program.” [Sun Gazette]

Shake Shack Sets Sights on Smithsonian — Construction is underway on a new Shake Shack that will replace the McDonald’s at the the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. The burger chain is also adding a location at the Mosaic District in Merrifield. [The Burn]

Assaults Up, Drug Offenses Down in Mason Police District — “The assaults, including domestic violence, have mostly taken place in residences, which [Commander Capt. Sean] Adcock suspects could be due to stress caused by the Covid pandemic. The decrease in drug arrests is possibly due to the legalization of small amounts of marijuana.” [Annandale Today]

Private Foundation to Operate Historic Hall — “The Fairfax County Park Authority and the Great Falls Grange Foundation will ratify an agreement, which permits the Great Falls Grange Foundation to operate and maintain the historic property. The Grange will serve as a community meeting place, a potential location for classes and planned activities, and a venue for public and private special events.” [FCPA]

Transportation Group to Talk Route 7 Bus Project Tonight — The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) will discuss a timeline and financing for the Envision Route 7 Bus Rapid Transit project at its meeting tonight (Thursday). The planned bus service will run from Tysons to Mark Center in Alexandria, with stops at Seven Corners, Falls Church, and the East Falls Church Metro station. [ALXnow]

Community Outreach on Reston Comprehensive Plan Begins — “My office and Task Force members are beginning the first phase of community outreach of the Task Force’s interim recommendations on the 14 areas of the Reston Comprehensive Plan Study…Input by the county agencies is expected by spring/early summer and community outreach will continue through the summer.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn]

It’s Thursday — The forecast indicates that it’ll be mostly sunny today, with a high temperature near 51 degrees and a low around 25. Wind gusts could reach 22 miles per hour during the day. The sun will rise at 6:37 a.m. and set at 6:04 p.m. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
The Vienna Police Department is seeking to introduce body-worn cameras like the pictured one used by Fairfax County police (via FCPD)

(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) The Vienna Police Department plans to institute a body-worn camera program, a practice that has gone from rare to commonplace in the D.C. region just within the past half-decade.

Police will request the Vienna Town Council’s approval tonight (Monday) to use $223,732 in federal relief funds for a five-year program that would equip all 41 of its sworn officers with cameras, according to the agenda for the council’s meeting.

The department hopes to use money from the town’s $17.1 million American Rescue Plan Act allocation, half of which came last summer. The remaining $8.5 million is expected this June.

Congress passed the ARPA stimulus package in March 2021 to address the ongoing effects of the pandemic. The VPD believes body cameras would be eligible for funds as a COVID-19 public health expense, according to a request form submitted by Police Chief Jim Morris and signed by town staff.

“Although the Department currently has a successful In-Car Video program, there are situations and interactions that cannot be captured from the police vehicle,” Morris wrote. “A body worn camera program would allow for officers to better capture and preserve evidence as well as provide a level of protection and oversight for the officers and the community.”

If the funding is approved by the town council, the VPD would enter a five-year contract with the law enforcement technology provider Axon Enterprises.

In a quote issued on Jan. 21, the company estimated that Vienna’s proposed body camera program would cost a total of $213,078, or $42,093 per year. The expenses include the 41 cameras, storage costs, and other equipment, such as camera docks and mounts.

As recently as 2016, just a handful of Northern Virginia law enforcement agencies utilized body cameras, according to a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments survey. In pursuing a program now, however, Vienna lags behind even small jurisdictions like the Town of Herndon and Fairfax City.

Fairfax County approved a program in 2019 and completed a second phase in February 2021. The county moved in 2020 to accelerate its rollout with the goal of introducing all 1,210 cameras by the end of fiscal year 2021, which came on June 30, 2021.

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed to FFXnow that it finished implementing the third and final phase of its program in April 2021, adding 516 body-worn camera operators.

“This included our Sully, West Springfield and Fair Oaks District stations as well as Animal Protection Police Officers and our Crisis Intervention Team,” the FCPD said by email. “Our Special Weapons and Tactics team also were [issued] Body Worn Cameras in 2021.”

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list