A pedestrian remains hospitalized two days after he was hit by a driver on Route 29 in the West Falls Church area, police say.
A 911 caller reported that a blue Tesla struck a pedestrian, who was injured, a police dispatcher told responding officers at 8:07 p.m. The Fairfax County Police Department didn’t confirm the type of vehicle involved in the crash by press time.
The pedestrian, an adult man, was transported to a hospital with injuries initially considered life-threatening, police said. Eastbound Route 29 was shut down at the intersection while police investigated the crash.
As of this morning (Monday), the man is still in the hospital, but his condition “has been upgraded to non-life threatening,” according to the FCPD.
Police say that the driver in the crash remained on the scene and “has cooperated fully” with the investigation, which is still active.
“Preliminary investigations suggest that alcohol may have been a contributing factor for the pedestrian, but a thorough examination is ongoing,” an FCPD spokesperson told FFXnow. “It is important to note that speed and alcohol do not appear to be contributing factors on the part of the driver.”
According to state data, this is the fourth crash at the Route 29 and Hollywood intersection since 2020 where a pedestrian got injured. Crashes with injuries occurred in February 2020, March 2022 and January of this year, but there haven’t been any fatal crashes involving pedestrians since the Department of Motor Vehicles started the online database in 2010.
Officers are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian at Rt 29 & Hollywood Rd in West Falls Church. The pedestrian, an adult man, was taken to the hospital w/life-threatening injuries. The driver stayed on scene. E/B Lee hwy is closed at Hollywood Rd. Please avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/e1esFGTnar
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) November 12, 2023
A teen has suffered potentially life-threatening injuries in a crash on Route 50 near the Mosby neighborhood in West Falls Church.
“It looks like there’s a 13-year-old patient that’s unconscious. They are breathing,” a dispatcher told police at 8:28 p.m.
The teen was a pedestrian and has been transported to a hospital, the Fairfax County Police Department said. It’s unclear what vehicle was involved, but police said the driver stayed at the scene.
Eastbound Route 50 has been closed, and police are advising community members to avoid the area.
Officers are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian at Rt. 50 and Annandale Rd in West Falls Church. The pedestrian, a juvenile teen, was transported in life threatening condition. Driver stayed on scene. EB Rt. 50 is closed, please avoid the area. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/GGdbhmpB5a
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) October 20, 2023
Map via Google Maps
A raccoon struck by two different vehicles on Route 29 last weekend has tested positive for rabies, Falls Church City says.
The drivers hit the animal near the 500 block of S. Washington Street in the West Falls Church area on Saturday, Sept. 23, according to the city. The raccoon’s resulting injuries led Falls Church City police to euthanize it.
Before police arrived, however, at least two people came into contact with the animal.
“A witness stated that prior to officers arriving, both he and an unidentified driver came in direct contact with the injured raccoon while removing it from the roadway,” the city said in a news release.
The Fairfax County Health Department tested the raccoon for rabies and reported that it was positive on Tuesday (Sept. 26).
“The City of Falls Church Animal Control Officer and Fairfax County Health Department are seeking to identify the unknown driver (and any other individuals) who came in contact with the raccoon to clear them of rabies exposure,” Falls Church City said. “Please call the Fairfax County Health Department Rabies Program immediately at 703-246-2433 (TTY 711) if you believe that you were exposed.”
Falls Church says this is the first animal found within its city limits to test positive for rabies in 2023.
The Fairfax County Health Department typically identifies 40 to 60 rabies cases annually. Cases so far this year have included a raccoon that got attacked by a dog in Vienna and a skunk that chased, sprayed and bit hikers on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail in Clifton.
Rabies cases often increase in the spring, summer, and end of the fall, Fairfax County health officials previously told FFXnow.
“Rabies is a viral disease that people and pets can catch from infected animals through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth.),” Falls Church City said. “It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly.”
The city advises anyone who encounters sick, injured or aggressive wildlife that appear injured, sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive to avoid it and call its non-emergency line at 703-241-5053.
In Fairfax County, community members can report incidents to the Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131.
Photo via Pete Nuij/Unsplash
Fairfax County police are searching for a man suspected of raping a woman at the Quarry Inn Motel just west of Falls Church City.
The man allegedly arranged to meet the woman at the motel (7179 Lee Highway) last Saturday (Sept. 16) at 6:40 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
“When she opened the door, the suspect displayed a knife and threatened the victim. The suspect then sexually assaulted her,” the FCPD said in a news release today. “The victim was able to escape the room and call 911.”
Based on surveillance footage, police believe the suspect is a man in his 20s. He’s described as thin with scars or acne on his face.
The FCPD says anyone with information can contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. The department also accepts anonymous tips through Crime Solvers by phone (866-411-8477) and online.
As of June, the FCPD had recorded 192 forcible sex offenses in 2023, according to a mid-year crime report released earlier this month. The report found that shoplifting and assaults had noticeably increased from the previous year.
Photo via Google Maps
Some good news is on the horizon for local Metrorail riders: the West and East Falls Church stations are set to reopen on Monday (June 26) after a 23-day closure.
The bad news? The Vienna and Dunn Loring stations will remain closed through July 16.
Orange and Silver line service at the four stations ceased on June 3 so Metro crews could replace a 40-year-old steel rail. The transit agency is also using the closures to install fiber optic cables and clear vegetation along or near the train tracks.
After laying down nearly 1,800 tons of rail and removing “more than 42,000 linear feet of trees, bushes, grasses, and invasive vines,” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says it will advance to the project’s second phase next week.
“Our team has made great progress on this work so far. As of last week, our team has replaced 15.5 miles of track, installed nearly 36 miles of fiber-optic cable, replaced two diamond interlockings, and installed 13 new switch machines,” Metro Chief of Infrastructure Andy Off said. “They are working to keep the system safe and reliable, and we thank our customers and visitors to the area for their understanding and patience.”
After getting reports of long lines and wait times for the shuttles, particularly at the Vienna and Ballston stations, WMATA said on June 7 that it would add more buses, coordinate with police to ensure free movement through traffic and reevaluate routes through the more congested areas of Rosslyn.
However, the transit agency noted that wait times could still reach 20 minutes during peak rush hours “based on the volume of customers at these stations.”
Some waiting should still be expected at the Vienna, Dunn Loring and West Falls Church stations going forward, Metro says, advising riders “to allow extra time for their travel,” especially during rush hour.
From June 26 through July 16, free shuttles will be provided with stops at those three stations, arriving every 10 to 20 minutes. There will also be an Orange Line Express with service between Vienna and West Falls Church every eight to 15 minutes on weekdays.
Standard buses from Metro and other transit services, including Fairfax Connector, will be available as well: Read More
(Updated at 12:45 p.m. on 6/16/2023) As Pride Month got underway, a pair of hate incidents targeting the LGBTQ community shook up Falls Church and West Potomac high schools.
At Falls Church High School (7521 Jaguar Trail) in West Falls Church, a student admitted to stealing a rainbow Pride flag from the school and burning it, principal Ben Nowak said in a message to the school community on June 6.
According to Nowalk’s letter, a circulating video that the student recorded of the flag burning captured “another young person…using homophobic and hate-filled language towards the LGBTQ+ community.”
Nowalk emphasized that Fairfax County Public Schools and Falls Church High School “will not tolerate this kind of behavior” as it goes against “the kind of school community we seek to cultivate.”
“Each and every student in FCHS has the right to feel safe and affirmed in our school,” he wrote. “June is Pride Month, when we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically. We stand with those facing an ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice. This is sadly more evident today given this hateful act.”
An FCPS spokesperson indicated that the student has been disciplined, but the school system can’t share further details due to federal laws protecting the privacy of students and families.
“Please know we take such incidents of hate seriously and appropriate disciplinary actions are always taken,” FCPS spokesperson Julie Moult said.
The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that the theft of the Pride flag, which was displayed outside a classroom trailer, was reported to its school resource officer (SRO) at the school.
“The SRO determined that a juvenile stole the flag,” the FCPD said. “The SRO discovered that the flag was reportedly burned by another juvenile. The juveniles have been referred to the juvenile justice system.”
Also last week, graffiti with messages described as antisemitic and homophobic was painted on the “spirit rock” outside West Potomac High School (6500 Quander Road) in Belle Haven, according to a message to families from principal Dr. Tanganyika Millard.
The graffiti was discovered the morning of June 7, when the community gathered at the school for the Class of 2023 graduation ceremony.
“It has always been a point of pride that we live in a diverse and caring community,” Millard wrote. “To see these symbols of hate at the space that welcomes others to our school is devastating. We will make every effort to find those responsible and hold them accountable.”
The FCPD said it doesn’t have a record of any reports of antisemitic graffiti at West Potomac High School last week.
In response to the incidents, FCPS Pride, an advocacy organization for LGBTQIA students, staff, family and allies, announced earlier this week that it will hold a Pride Rally Against Hate at Luther Jackson Middle School (3020 Gallows Road) in Merrifield today (Thursday).
The rally will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. before the Fairfax County School Board’s meeting, which will include a proclamation honoring Pride Month.
“Hate incidents…against all communities have been accelerating in FCPS, and we demand by our presence that the system take action,” FCPS Pride said in a media advisory.
Moult confirmed that FCPS is currently developing a system for tracking hate and bias incidents, as previously reported by WTOP.
The school system announced last month that it would hire an investigator to look into an anonymous email that complained about Oakton High School’s former Black cheerleading coaches.
Fairfax County is moving to make two vacant properties in the Mason District available for development as affordable housing.
At Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross’s request, the Board of Supervisors directed staff on June 6 to schedule public hearings on potential transfers of county-owned land at 2859 Annandale Road and 5831 Columbia Pike to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA).
No official proposals have been put forward, but transferring the sites would enable the housing authority to review their potential for future redevelopment, according to Gross.
“My motions…were made to allow the RHA to perform due diligence on what type(s) of redevelopment might be appropriate for the sites,” she told FFXnow by email.
Located across a lane from the James Lee Community Center, the half-acre Annandale Road property in West Falls Church is currently undeveloped with some grass and trees.
While too small to support multifamily housing or public use, “initial studies” suggest it could be “an excellent site on which to develop affordable homeownership units, potentially through a public-private partnership,” Gross said in her board matter.
According to Gross, if a redevelopment moves forward, it will likely consist of single-family detached houses, which would conform with the rest of the block.
Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik thanked Gross “for bringing this forward,” noting that FCRHA has already begun discussing the prospect with the community.
Dubbed “East County Part B,” the 2.9-acre Columbia Pike property is adjacent to the future Alta Crossroads apartment building that broke ground in March. It includes Crossroads Interim Park, which brought recreational space and a plaza to Bailey’s Crossroads when it opened in September 2019.
“An opportunity exists on this site for the co-location of affordable housing, to include associated support services, underground parking, and possibly a childcare facility,” Gross’s board matter said. “The site’s location is ideal. It is within walking distance of public transportation, retail, and healthcare, and is accessible to vital services including schools, libraries, and parks, as well as other recreational and commercial amenities.”
Discussions about developing the area between Moncure Avenue and the Radley Acura dealer at 5823 Columbia Pike have been going on for almost 20 years now, according to Gross.
With construction on Alta Crossroads at last underway, Gross said it’s “an opportune time” to look at how to redevelop the park area. As indicated by its name, the Crossroads Interim Park was always intended to be a temporary use of the site, though Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay cautioned that community members may not understand that.
“Except for the concrete, we can take the things that are there and move it to another location,” Gross said.
The board sees both sites as opportunities to further its goal of adding 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2034. If the FCRHA opts not to pursue projects for one or both of the properties, their ownership would be transferred back to the Board of Supervisors.
Alexandria-based cafe Java Loco is coming to West Falls Church.
Java Loco launched in 2013 and has since expanded to a handful of locations around Northern Virginia. The cafe offers a wide variety of coffees — including Italian espresso and Vietnamese coffee — along with smoothies, bubble tea and sandwiches.
Java Loco anticipates opening the Graham Park Plaza location this spring, but no exact date has been determined yet, according to Federal Realty, which owns part of the shopping center.
“The menu concept will be the same as the Mount Vernon location,” Federal Realty said.
Staff at another Java Loco said the West Falls Church location is likely to open sometime around the end of April.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m. on 3/2/2023) Compass Coffee is planning to open a second drive-thru location, and it will be right in Fairfax County.
The growing regional coffee business will add a full-service, drive-thru cafe at 7393 Lee Highway, a standalone building that previously housed a BB&T bank in the Shops at West Falls Church, confirmed Joel Shetterly, the vice president of marketing.
“We have something for every coffee lover — from delicious seasonal drink flavors to year-round classics like our nitro cold brew,” Shetterly said by email. “We also serve a delicious range of house-made breakfast sandwiches and pastries for folks who want to pick up breakfast on the go.”
A commercial alterations permit application filed with Fairfax County in mid-February indicates that the shop won’t have any on-site food preparation work or cooking.
The space will be about 3,000 square feet “with ample seating,” Shetterly told FFXnow.
Based in D.C., Compass Coffee launched in 2014 and now operates 16 shops across the region, including one that opened in Fairfax City on March 21, 2022. The company’s first drive-thru location arrived on Langston Blvd in Arlington this past October.
Compass Coffee is “shooting” for a summer opening for its West Falls Church location, which furthers the company’s goal of expanding in the area after getting “fantastic feedback” on its cafe at 10400 Fairfax Blvd, Shetterly said.
“We are thrilled to continue growing in the region,” he said.
Managed by EDENS, the developer that’s also behind the Mosaic District in Merrifield, Shops at West Falls is anchored by a Safeway grocery store. Other food service tenants include Subway, Fava Pot, The Original Pancake House and Vocelli Pizza.
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) Another pedestrian has been killed on Route 50 (Arlington Blvd).
Tomas Escudero Machado, 76, of Falls Church died at the Westmoreland Blvd intersection in West Falls Church around 5:54 a.m. yesterday (Sunday) after he was struck by a driver who may have been speeding, the Fairfax County Police Department said today.
According to police, Machado was crossing the eastbound lanes of Arlington Blvd, heading toward Westmoreland Blvd, when a 2003 Honda Accord headed east on Route 50 hit him.
“The driver struck Machado in the roadway and continued eastbound on Arlington Boulevard, traveling over two medians and striking multiple street signs as well as a pole before coming to a stop,” the FCPD said.
The Honda driver was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
The vehicle crash prompted a closure of Route 50 between Annandale Road and Summerfield Road that was later extended further west to Graham Road. The closure lasted almost the entire morning, beginning around 6:50 a.m. and ending shortly before noon.
Police say alcohol doesn’t appear to have been a factor for the driver, but detectives are still investigating whether their speed may have been an issue.
The press release notes that there is no crosswalk at the intersection where the crash occurred.
Arlington Blvd has two travel lanes in each direction at the intersection, along with two dedicated turn lanes on the westbound side. There are also service roads on both sides of the boulevard, separated by grass medians, with no sidewalk on the eastbound side.
Fairfax County’s pedestrian death toll for 2022 has soared past previous heights since at least 2010. State data shows that there have been 26 fatalities so far, but the report doesn’t yet include at least one death in November or any of the four deaths that have occurred so far in December.
This is the second time this month that a pedestrian has been killed on Arlington Blvd in the West Falls Church area, following a crash at the Allen Street intersection near Graham Park Plaza on Dec. 4.
Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives continue to investigate. Rt. 50 will be closed between Graham Rd. and Annadale Rd. for an extended period. Please avoid the area. #FCPD
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 18, 2022