Alexandria, VA

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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(Updated at 9:10 p.m.) A serious crash blocked N. Van Dorn Street just west of Seminary Road Wednesday morning.

The two-vehicle crash happened at the intersection of Van Dorn and Kenmore Avenue around 7:20 a.m. One person was trapped in a vehicle after the wreck but was later freed and brought to a local hospital, according to the Alexandria fire union.

In all, three people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Traffic was detoured around the crash scene, leading to major delays on eastbound N. Van Dorn Street, starting around Landmark Mall.

DASH says its AT5 bus was affected by the detour. A second crash was also reported on Van Dorn, to the west of the crash with entrapment.

As of 9:30 a.m. first responders were working to reopen portions of the roadway.

More via social media:

https://twitter.com/DASHBus/status/1219982019419103233

Map via Google Maps

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A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help a 31-year-old Alexandria man in serious condition after being struck by a driver in the 300 block of Yoakum Parkway on the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 6.

Jahid Shahbazov, who suffered spinal fractures and had his right leg amputated after the crash, remains unconscious in Georgetown University Hospital, according to his friend and campaign organizer Heydar Allahverdi. Shahbazov, who lives near the scene of the incident, was stopped along the curb and taking something from the trunk of his car when he was struck around 4:30 p.m. and wedged between the two vehicles.

The driver of the car called police, stayed at the scene and has not been charged. The crash is still under investigation, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

“He’s still unconscious. The doctors say they don’t want to wake him up because of the pain,” Allahverdi told ALXnow. “Right now we are just sitting and waiting for him to come back to life. He’s had four surgeries so far. His left leg is in bad condition, too, and they are worried about there being no circulation in it.”

To date, just over $28,000 of a $100,000 goal has been raised through 571 donations to help Shahbazov, a native of Azerbaijan, who has lived with his wife in Alexandria for four years. He’s a part-time Uber driver and has been taking quality assurance automation courses for the last six months, said Allahverdi.

He also doesn’t have health insurance.

“Jahid is a very kind person. I’ve known him for many years,” said Allahverdi, who is roommates with Shahbazov’s twin brother. “I’ve never seen Jahid hurt anyone. He’s a calm person. He never says bad things about people. He just handles his business. I never thought he would go through something like this. His wife, she is devastated. She’s having a hard time and is staying at the hospital the whole time.”

Most of the donations have been raised by friends and family.

“We are from a different country, and we don’t know many people,” Allahverdi said. “He’s going to face a lot of problems after he gets out of the hospital. He’s going to have psychological trauma, he will be suffering from not having a leg and we don’t know how long it is going to take or what the driver’s insurance is going to cover.”

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Just a few blocks away from where some local residents are incensed about a road diet, others are begging the city to do something about frequent collisions on their street.

W. Taylor Run Parkway connects Duke Street and Janneys Lane, two major east-west routes through Alexandria. The two-lane street is bordered by a creek on the eastern side and a row of homes on the right.

The residents along the parkway say its status as a cut-through with some tight turns has resulted in frequent crashes with parked vehicles along the road.

Caity Flaherty has been a resident on W. Taylor Run Parkway for five years, and in that time she said she has had five crashes in front of or near her home on the road. Crashes have ranged in gravity from sideswiped cars to collisions that sent her to the emergency room.

On the night of her baby shower, Flaherty said she woke up at 3 a.m. to police lights outside of her home. Her car had been hit and pushed up onto the sidewalk and was totaled. After that she had her driveway expanded to fit both of the family cars, but collisions continued.

On Aug. 28 people were visiting the home, so Flaherty parked her car on the street to let the visitors in and out of the driveway. Suddenly there was a loud “smack” sound and she walked out of the house to find her car damaged. A camera caught the car that passed and struck her vehicle, but police never found it.

Last Friday, Flaherty said her nanny parked a little further down the street and was sideswiped. A video Flaherty has of the incident shows the truck that struck the nanny’s car driving down the street in the parking lane.

Other neighbors along the street shared similar stories. One said their car was parked on the street in 2017 and was totaled, then another — also parked on the street — was totaled in 2018.

Neighbors blamed the narrow, unprotected parking lanes and some of the tight turns that drivers take at high speeds — despite speed bumps along the road.

“We’ve been after the city to do something,” Flaherty said. “The parking lanes are too narrow. It’s a perfect storm.”

The Alexandria Police Department said they didn’t have information about crashes along the street, but the city’s Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) said it’s a well-known issue.

“We’re aware of this and are talking to the community about it,” Sarah Godfrey, public information officer for T&ES, said in an email. “There is some striping on West Taylor Run that we plan to fix/adjust [Thursday], weather permitting, to help address the issue. In terms of what we know about the incidents involving the parked cars, distracted driving and alcohol were factors in two of the crashes.”

Temporary no parking signs have been placed along the street in anticipation of the re-striping work.

Flaherty said she was told the current plan is to widen the parking lane by four inches, but what neighbors along the street agreed was needed was some kind of barrier.

“It sucks,” Flaherty said. “Our family is coming over for Christmas and we’ll have four cars here. I’ll have to tell people to park on another street and shuttle them over.”

Beyond just very costly property damage, Flaherty and other neighbors said they were concerned about the safety of residents given that at least one crash has pushed vehicles up onto the sidewalk.

“We love where we live,” Flaherty said, “but if it affects our son’s safety, we’ll move.”

H/t to @JHoffman_DC

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Among Most Festive Xmas Cities — Thanks in part of the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade and the annual boat parade, Alexandria has made Wall Street 24/7’s list of the Most Festive Christmas Cities in the U.S. [24/7 Wall Street]

City Warns of PCP Overdoses — “The City of Alexandria has responded to eight overdoses related to suspected phencyclidine (PCP) use in the past two months, one of which was fatal. City officials are concerned about the potency and deadly nature of the PCP being distributed and used in the region.” [City of Alexandria]

Confederate Statue Struck — “The Appomattox statue in Old Town commemorating Alexandria’s Confederate troops was struck by a vehicle last night. Its base looks like it was moved quite a bit by the impact.” [Twitter/@Drubaru]

Local Doctor Honored — “For Dr. Jennifer Lightfoot of Alexandria, hearing loss hasn’t held her back. In fact, it shaped her life’s work and recently won her a 2019 Oticon Focus on People Award… Winning the award in the practitioner category solidified the belief in her work with hearing impaired children.” [Patch]

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A car has crashed and overturned on W. Braddock Road at the intersection with N. Quaker Lane, near the Bradlee Shopping Center and Episcopal High School.

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. on the west side of the busy intersection. Eastbound Braddock was briefly shut down to traffic, but two lanes have since reopened.

It was not immediately clear how the crash happened. It left heaps of shattered glass and orange juice splattered across the street, and also reportedly damaged a guide wire for a nearby utility pole.

No serious injuries were reported, according to police on the scene.

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Morning Notes

Work Starts on Potomac Yard Metro — “Monday afternoon workers prepared to clear brush and deliver fill for the new Potomac Yard Metro Station… Environmentalists are against the project because it calls for work in nearly 4-acres of wetlands north of Potomac Greens Drive and west of the George Washington Parkway. A permit was approved for the wetlands work on November 15.” [WJLA, Twitter/@ABC7TimBarber, Alexandria Times]

Crash on Telegraph Road — Alexandria police and firefighters responded to a potentially serious crash along Telegraph Road at Duke Street around noon on Monday. A driver, initially reported to be trapped and bleeding from the head, was rushed to a local hospital. [Twitter/@AlexandriaNow]

It’s Giving Tuesday — “Giving Tuesday started in 2012 to promote charitable giving during the Christmas season. Last year, approximately $400 million in donations was raised online in the U.S… Here are some nonprofits to support in Alexandria.” [Patch]

Nearby: Topgolf Closing Soon — “The first Topgolf in the United States will close in January. Dallas-based Topgolf will lay off the 198 employees of Topgolf Alexandria by Jan. 15, according to a Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filed earlier this month.” [Washington Business Journal]

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