Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

City Official Dies in Car Crash — “The City of Alexandria is devastated by the loss of Robert Bloom, Public Safety Systems Administrator in the Department of Emergency and Customer Communications (DECC), in a vehicle crash on the morning of July 20, 2020.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria Man Dies in D.C. Shooting — “Homicide detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department are investigating the fatal shooting of an Alexandria man that occurred Sunday night in the Shipley area of the city, according to a police release… MPD identified the decedent as Rayfone Gassaway, 37, of Alexandria, Virginia.” [Patch]

COVID-19 Cases Jump by 23 in Alexandria — “Positive tests up 23 to 2,582 in the City… Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Beyer Calls Out Trump Directive to Census Bureau — “A clear violation of the United States Constitution, which spells out in the 14th Amendment that ‘Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States.. counting the whole number of persons in each State..'” [Twitter]

National Coin Shortage Hits Alexandria — “At Alexandria stores like The Home Depot in West End Village and dozens of grocery and other retailers, customers are starting to see signs at checkout (like the one below) pleading with them to use a credit or debit card, or use exact change.” [Alexandria Living]

New Job: Youth Soccer Coach — “Prior soccer experience is not required. We only require the passion for positively impacting children’s lives through the love of sports and fitness. Valid driver’s license and access to personal vehicle Must be at least 18 years of age.” [Indeed]

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A GoFundMe campaign has started to help an auto technician who was severely injured in a car crash in the 100 block of N. Telegraph Road on June 12.

John Debley, who is an automotive technician for Land Rover Alexandria, stopped on the side of the road to help change the tire of a Toyota Sienna van that was involved a minor crash. While changing the tire, a black 2010 Nissan Rogue crashed into his Toyota and pinned Debley.

“While changing the tire, another vehicle was not paying attention and crashed into the first vehicle, causing a chain reaction ending in the loss of his leg from the knee down and injury to his eye socket,” states the GoFundMe campaign. “The incredible work of the surgeons has saved his life, however now the work begins on determining what type of prosthesis will work best for him. This will be a long tough road but John is a positive person with the heart of a lion.”

So far the campaign has raised $5,380 with a goal of $100,000.

The victim “was assisting the two with the tire as he had been involved in the initial crash with the van,” and was caught between the two vehicles when the Nissan ran into the bumper of the truck,” notes a search warrant affidavit.

The Nissan was disabled by the incident with severe damage.

Debley and the driver of the Nissan were transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, and the case is being handled by the Crash Reconstruction Team, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

“It remains under investigation, and at this point, there have been no charges,” Ballantine told ALXnow.

Please read and consider any type of donation for this Jonathan Debley an invaluable member of our Land Rover Alexandria Team. Fell free to share too!:)

Posted by Bill Colgate on Saturday, June 20, 2020

Photo via GoFundMe

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A 49-year-old Alexandria tow truck driver was killed on Monday night as he responded to a disabled vehicle on Interstate 495, according to Virginia State Police.

Derrick A. Marbury was responding to a disabled vehicle on I-495 southbound when a 2015 Ford Edge was rear-ended by a 2013 Honda Pilot. The Honda went off the road and hit the tow truck, and Marbury reportedly ran out of the way and was struck and killed by a 2015 Mercedes-Benz M35.

“The Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and is assisting with the ongoing crash investigation,” Virginia State Police said in a statement. “This is all the information we have at this time.”

The incident occurred less than a mile north of Route 236 in Fairfax County, according to police.

File photo

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A 42-year-old Alexandria man was arrested for a hit and run and driving under the influence after allegedly smashing his Land Rover into a telephone pole in the West End on Monday, March 9.

At around 11:30 p.m., an Alexandria Police officer was on mobile patrol when he reported finding vehicle debris and a snapped telephone pole in the area of Lincolnia Road and Quantrell Avenue.

The officer then heard “what sounded a lot like an explosion and saw what appeared to be a large flash of light from the area of Van Dorn/Duke Street intersection,” according to a police search warrant affidavit. “The pole was shattered at the base and laying parallel to the roadway, partially on the sidewalk. There was extensive vehicle debris to include a portion of the front fender.”

The officer reportedly got into his cruiser and was flagged down by staff from BMW of Alexandria, who reported that the power went out after a loud banging sound. The officer was then told over the radio that more debris was found at Stevenson Avenue and South Whiting Street.

A white Land Rover with front damage and flat passenger-side tires was soon located parked at the 7-Eleven at 331 S. Whiting Street.

Police arrested Christian Belandres at the 7-Eleven after he took a preliminary breath test police said registered a 0.192 reading, which is 2.4 times the legal limit. Belandres declined to perform a standard field sobriety test, according to police.

A witness also reportedly tried to pull Belandres out of the car at a Sunoco gas station at 190 S. Whiting Street.

“The witness attempted to pull Mr. Belandres from the vehicle to check on him, telling him that he was ‘not fit to drive,’ before Mr. Belandres and the Land Rover pulled away before coming to a stop at 331 S. Whiting,” noted the affidavit.

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Morning Notes

Visit Alexandria Launches ‘ALX at Home’ — “Experience Alexandria’s restaurants, shops and attractions from the comfort of your own home… From unlimited ‘Ride it Out’ bike rentals to beer-to-go curbside pickup to FaceTime shopping, there are numerous ways to support the independent businesses that make Alexandria so special. Buy a gift card for a future date. Pick up a ready-to-go dinner to make at home. Tap into your creative spirit by taking a live stream writing workshop.” [Visit Alexandria]

Mark Levine Says It’s ‘Criminal’ to Congregate During Pandemic — “You must be unaware of the @GovernorVA‘s executive order. There are criminal penalties for going to a bar or restaurant tonight. If more than 10 people congregate, the restaurant can lose its license and folks can go to jail. ” the Delegate for Virginia’s 45th district wrote in an email.” [Twitter]

Former Police Chief Charles Samarra Passes Away — “Charlie was a beloved figure in the region’s public safety community. He will be missed by many, but his legacy of excellence and professionalism lives on.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Doctor Helps Homeless During Pandemic — “As far as street care, I don’t really feel comfortable having anyone else with me right now due to all the unknowns from coronavirus.” [WTOP]

Old Town Home and Garden Tour Canceled — The annual event was to be held on April 18, and has been canceled due to concerns about coronavirus. [Alexandria Living]

Driver Hospitalized After Car Flips on King Street — “Overnight, units from 206 and Arlington Station 109 worked to assist one patient from an overturned vehicle on King Street near Dawes Avenue. One patient was transported to an area hospital by Medic 206.” – [Twitter]

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A crash has closed a section of Van Dorn Street near Landmark Mall, according to police.

The crash damaged a power pole and prompted the closure of Van Dorn Street between Duke Street and Holmes Run Parkway.

Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine said it was a single-car accident that resulted in minor injuries to the driver, who was taken to a local hospital. The power company is on the scene, Ballantine said, but that it would be several hours before the pole was repaired. Drivers should expect the road to be closed for the duration of those repairs.

Police said on Twitter that people should avoid the area.

Image via Google Maps

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A car crashed into the Pet Valu store in Arlandria just after noon on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

No one was injured in the incident at 3819 Mount Vernon Avenue, the driver was not charged and there were no customers in the store at the time.

“It was like a movie,” a store staffer told ALXnow. “I was very close to where she crashed. She slammed in really hard and she ran into the register. I just stood there watching in shock. It was like it happened in slow motion.”

The store recently replaced its front door and is in the process of replacing a couple of windows, staff told ALXnow.

The driver, who was going to the store to pick up dog food, was parking her new orange Subaru Forester, and stepped on the gas instead of the brake, we’re told.

“As soon as it happened, I got the lady out of the car and gave her some water,” the Pet Valu employee said. “She was in shock. She was like, ‘Am I inside the store?'”

The Pet Valu is next door to a Topper’s Pizza and MOM’s Organic Market, and is across the street from The Waffle Shop.

The driver ended up not buying dog food that day.

Map via Google Maps

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A man is in critical but stable condition after an overnight crash in Alexandra.

The crash occurred around 2:15 a.m. at King Street and Chesterfield Road, within the city’s northern border. The driver was initially trapped in the mangled car, a white Lexus, after crashing into a utility pole near the intersection. He was extricated from the wreck by firefighters.

It is not clear yet if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash since the driver was unconscious when emergency personnel got to him, according to an Alexandria Police spokesman. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital with serious injuries.

The crash occurred near the Shops at Summit Centre and the National Tire & Battery at 4720 King Street.

Photos via IAFF Local 2141/Twitter and map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Robbery in Landmark Area — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery from person in the unit block of South Reynolds Street. Victim had items taken and received a minor injury. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Alexandria’s Mobility Priorities — “The top four priorities for the future of transportation according to Alexandria residents are congestion management, safe and comfortable places to bike and walk, reliable and efficient transit and maintaining infrastructure. The Alexandria Mobility Plan team revealed those results from their community outreach meetings at seven locations in Alexandria and an online survey last fall.” [Alexandria Living]

VT Names Innovation Campus Director — “The new leader of Virginia Tech’s billion-dollar tech campus project in Alexandria is laying out his vision for it. Lance Collins comes from Cornell University, for which he helped open a tech campus in New York City. The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus is being built in the Potomac Yard area.” [Virginia Tech, WTOP]

Crash Near Hospital Yesterday Morning — “Police, medics on scene of a car that reported[ly] crashed into a tree on the 800 block of N. Howard Street, near the hospital. Road may be temporarily closed.” [Twitter]

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Several Alexandria Fire Department units responded as mutual aid to a crash on the GW Parkway in Fairfax County this afternoon.

The crash happened just before 1:30 p.m. at the GW Parkway intersection with Belle View Blvd. At least one of the victims was initially reported to trapped in their vehicle, potentially requiring extrication.

An ALXnow photographer arrived as one of the vehicles involved, a red sedan with heavy passenger side damage, was loaded onto a flatbed tow truck.

The intersection is likely familiar to many who commute to and from Alexandria and points south. It, along with the nearby intersection of the GW Parkway and Belle Haven Road, are among the most dangerous and crash-prone in the area — prompting the National Park Service to hold recent public meetings and consider new safety improvements.

Particularly for those turning left at both intersections, to head north on the Parkway, the maneuver requires dodging fast-moving southbound traffic and then waiting in a barely-wide-enough median for fast-moving northbound traffic to clear. Turning left from the northbound lanes of the Parkway onto either road is similarly death-defying.

More from a December article on Covering the Corridor on potential safety improvements:

Recent Park Police efforts to improve speed enforcement along the entire Parkway between I-495 and Mount Vernon have led to a 35 percent reduction in motor vehicle accidents between 2018 and 2019, Cuvelier said. The superintendent added that public opinion about installing speed cameras was about evenly divided, but that the cameras raised a larger issue involving data requirements.

More than half the comments submitted so far have been related to the Belle View Boulevard and Belle Haven Road intersections, where nearly 125 crashes occurred over a five-year period.

To help improve intersections that are currently difficult to navigate — especially when making left turns — the Park Service proposed solutions like road diets and roundabouts, including ones at Morningside Lane. Some of these proposals will require more investigation, Cuvelier acknowledged, due to potential downsides like queuing.

Thus far, no serious injuries have been reported following this afternoon’s crash.

Street view photos via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Dog Featured in Puppy Bowl — “The Puppy Bowl features dogs from shelters and rescue groups like Alexandria-based dog rescue Operation Paws for Homes. The rescue group is holding a watch party Sunday, Feb. 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Wag & Brew, 614 S Pickett Street, Alexandria.” [Patch]

Crash Snarls Rush Hour Traffic — Just before 5:30 p.m. last night a crash, reportedly involving a car and a motorcycle, shut down portions of Sanger Avenue and Beauregard Street, snarling rush hour traffic. [Twitter]

Apartment Building Purchase Complete — “The purchase of an Alexandria apartment building that will provide affordable housing units is complete, the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation announced Thursday. Avana Apartments, a 326-unit apartment complex at 3001 Park Center Drive in the West End, will have some units available at lower costs for households that meet income requirements. It will be renamed Parkstone Alexandria.” [Patch]

Waterfront is Highlight for Local Visitors — “Another standout in the data was attraction to the waterfront. In a portion of the survey where respondents were shown photos of scenes around Alexandria – which included shops along King Street, cobblestone roads and historic sites like Mount Vernon – the photos that performed the best were those with water. ‘Our historic character is really important but showing a place that’s on the water is very inspirational to people as a place that they want to visit,’ Vito Fiore, director of marketing and research for Visit Alexandria.” [Alexandria Times]

No Anniversary Beer for Port City — “Each year for our anniversary we craft a unique style of beer. Sadly, after monitoring the brewing process we have decided COLOSSAL IX does not represent our dedication to great quality beer, and we will not be releasing an anniversary beer in 2020.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Petition for Lower Speeds on Duke Street — “After Sunday’s fatal traffic crash which took the life of 89-year-old Alfredo DaSilva, Alexandria, Virginia resident Grace Grant has started a petition to reduce speed along Duke Street between Quaker Lane & Jordan Street.” [Port City Wire, Change.org]

T.C. Grad Wins Grammy — “Tracy Young, a T.C. Williams alumna, became the first woman to win in the best remixed recording non-classical category at the 62nd annual Grammys Sunday. She won for her pride remix of Madonna’s ‘I Rise.'” [Patch, Twitter]

Remembering Kobe Bryant — Alexandria’s Elijah Griffin spoke to TV station ABC 7 about his personal “memories of legendary NBA star, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter, Gianna. He spoke not only about Bryant’s outstanding abilities on the court, but also about the amazing person he was off the court.” [WJLA]

DASH Bus Crash on Duke Street — “APD is on scene of a minor crash involving a DASH bus on Duke Street near S. Jordan Street. No injuries reported.” [Twitter]

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