Alexandria, VA

It was another busy week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

This week, ALXnow profiled Mayor Justin Wilson and his opponent, former Mayor Allison Silberberg. The pair are facing off in the June 8 Democratic primary, and have vastly different ideas on city governance.

Alexandria Police released its 2020 crime data this week, revealing a 19% increase in Part 1 crime and 15% reduction in Nuisance crimes. ALXnow also reported a number of noteworthy crime stories, including the release of a video showing a chase suspect who died after his arrest in D.C. on April 12, and the indictment of a West End murder suspect.

This week also brought the unbelievable story of locals chasing down suspected shoplifters in Del Ray.

On the vaccine front, the Alexandria Health Department paused Johnson & Johnson vaccinations, following new concerns about potential side effects.

In school news, Alexandria City Public Schools will shift to three feet distancing in classrooms on April 26. Additionally, the School Board has started a conversation on reducing the number of members from nine to six.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: ‘Alexandria City High School’ chosen as replacement name for T.C. Williams High School
  2. JUST IN: Dr. Stephen Haering suddenly retires as director of Alexandria Health Department
  3. Southern Towers residents nervous as landlord steps up eviction proceedings
  4. Man stabbed at Old Town intersection
  5. NEW: Locals chase down suspected shoplifters in Del Ray
  6. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
  7. Man faces 10 years for DWI in horrific West End crash in Safeway parking lot
  8. Planning Commission approves controversial subdivision, plants potential loophole for future denial
  9. JUST IN: Video released of police arresting chase suspect who died in D.C.
  10. JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
  11. JUST IN: West End murder suspect faces life plus 13 years in prison

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via ACPS/Facebook

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A 52-year-old Alexandria man faces up to 10 years in prison after allegedly driving while intoxicated and pinning a man who was packing his car with groceries in a West End parking lot.

On April 12, Catalin Filipeanu was indicted by the Grand Jury for the City of Alexandria for maiming a person by driving while intoxicated and possession of Xanax.

The 59-year-old victim lost both of his legs.

The incident occurred on Jan. 5, 2021 in the parking lot of the Safeway at 299 S. Van Dorn Street in the Van Dorn Plaza shopping center. Filipeanu stayed at the scene and waited for police.

“Maiming-DWI is a felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in the penitentiary and a fine of not more than $100,000,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter’s office said in a statement. “Xanax is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.”

There were also two incidents last year of pedestrians in Alexandria who lost limbs after being struck by cars.

No trial date has been set.

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No charges have been made against a driver who smashed a window at a CVS in De Ray late Thursday afternoon.

Police said the driver had wooden boards in the back of his truck, which struck the window of the store at 415 E. Monroe Avenue as he backed up from his parking space. No one was injured and the driver stayed at the scene.

An employee at the store said that the incident occurred at around 4:45 p.m. and sounded like an explosion.

“I didn’t think it would sound like that,” the employee said. “There was this big boom, and then you heard the glass shatter later.”

This is the second incident of a person driving into a storefront in the area in the last few weeks. A man was recently arrested in allegedly rammed his car into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Verizon store crash suspect also suspected of crashing into D.C. apartment complex — “Following receipt of his emails, we immediately worked to increase security at the property. Unfortunately, he visited the office twice last Monday and the second visit is when he crashed his car into our lobby. After leaving The Drake, he visited a Verizon store in Virginia and crashed his car through their storefront as well.” [PoPville]

The Art League bringing back in-person classes this month — “In-person classes will start on Monday, April 5 with adherence to CDC, Alexandria Health Department and Virginia Department of Health guidelines. Over 40 classes will be offered, covering a range of art forms, including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, metal jewelry design, stained glass, and steel furniture design and construction.” [Patch]

April is Sexual Assault Survivor’s Month — “In April, the City will recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a series of events, activities, workshops and displays to support survivors of sexual assault and engage the community in prevention efforts.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 48F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible… Clear skies. Widespread frost likely. Low around 30F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Child care director — “Are you a natural leader who LOVES working with children? Are you passionate about working in child care and managing and inspiring a team? Are you ready to grow personally and professionally? We are seeking an awesome assistant director to join our child care team.” [Indeed]

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It was quite a week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a man who allegedly crashed his car headfirst into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard. The suspect was later arrested in North Carolina.

The week was full of big news. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg announced her candidacy against Mayor Justin Wilson for the June 8 Democratic primary, and ALXnow has learned that the Del Ray Business Association is planning a debate.

One of our favorite stories this week was on Tobi, the Alexandria dog without front legs who needed a new $2,350 wheelchair. Within a day of posting the story, Tobi’s GoFundMe goal was reached. The fundraiser has since raised $3,590, and Tobi’s owner says the excess funds will be donated to help another disabled pet get a wheelchair.

As of noon Friday, our unscientific poll on mayoral candidates had 1,111 votes, but only 537 views. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg trailed by a large percentage for the first several hours, but she later received a surge of votes that led to her getting 589 votes, or 53%, to Wilson’s 432 votes, or 39%. Republican candidate Annetta Catchings, who also announced her mayoral candidacy this week, got 90 votes, or 8%.

Other important stories:

ALXnow’s top stories:

  1. BREAKING: Man rams car into Verizon Store near Potomac Yard
  2. Waterfront Commission tries to avert ‘Disneyland-like’ development in Old Town
  3. Flight attendant Annetta Catchings running for Alexandria mayor as a Republican
  4. Chadwicks going double-decker on outdoor dining at upcoming BAR meeting
  5. BREAKING: Former Mayor Silberberg rematch as she enters democratic primary for mayor
  6. City Councilman Seifeldein quits meeting after argument with mayor
  7. Three men tied up and robbed in West End
  8. GoFundMe launched to get wheelchair for Tobi, an Alexandria dog with no front legs
  9. Just Sold in Alexandria: March 23, 2021
  10. Republican J.D. Maddox announces run for 45th District seat
  11. Al’s Steak House to endure under new management

Have a safe weekend!

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Morning Notes

No injuries in two-car crash in Old Town — “APD is investigating a two-vehicle crash at North Henry and Cameron Streets that happened around 3:40 pm. One vehicle struck a building at the intersection, causing damage. No injuries reported. That intersection is CLOSED, traffic is being re-routed.” [Twitter]

Missing woman has connections to Alexandria — “MISSING PERSON:: 30-year-old Bridget Nicole Lucas has connections to the Alexandria area. If you have any information, please call the Police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444.” [Twitter]

Emergency Food Distribution this Saturday — “ALIVE! Truck-to-Trunk will distribute emergency groceries for Alexandria residents at two drive-through sites on Saturday, March 27, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the parking lot of Cora Kelly Elementary School (3600 Commonwealth Ave.) and parking lot B-1 of the Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus (3320 Bisdorf Drive via Dawes Ave.).” [City of Alexandria]

Mark Shiffer taking another crack at City Council — “The list of candidates for the upcoming City Council election is growing longer by the day. Democrat Mark Leo Shiffer, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in 2018, filed paperwork on Tuesday to run again this year.” [Alexandria Living]

Chamber ALX Welcomes New Board Members — “Stephanie Beyer Kirby of the Beyer Automotive Group will serve as the 2021 Board Chair. Stephanie has served on the Board for five years and has previously served as Chair for the 40 Under 40 Recognition. She also began the Young Leaders Program.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy early. Mostly sunny skies with gusty winds developing later in the day. High near 80F. Winds WSW at 20 to 30 mph… Clear (in the evening). Low 51F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Home school instructor for teens with autism — “Unspoken Thoughts is a group of instructors from various backgrounds, and we are looking for a new member to join our team, specifically to work one on one with students at their homes in Alexandria City, VA. We teach students with autism and related disorders, using engaging academic lessons, how to communicate using AAC while addressing their motor, behavioral, emotional and developmental challenges.” [Indeed]

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A suspect has been arrested after allegedly crashing his car headfirst into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard on March 22.

Police did not identify the suspect, but said in a tweet that he was arrested in North Carolina. Police also did not say what he was charged with or when he was arrested.

“We’ll provide further updates and details when we have them,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow in an email.

A video was recently released of a suspect walking in to the store, walking out and then driving in headfirst, narrowly missing an employee before driving away.

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(Updated 3:15 p.m.) Police and fire department are at 2920 Richmond Highway after a driver apparently crashed his vehicle into the building then left the scene.

There are no injuries reported yet, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

According to Evans:

Call went out around 2:30pm for a vehicle into a building in the 2900 block of Richmond Highway. No injuries reported at this time. Driver apparently hit the building and left the scene.

Staff at the Verizon store said the man became belligerent over a service issue and left before hitting the building with his vehicle.

A witness said the driver was a white man driving a black sedan.

“It sounded like a bomb,” one witness said. “Boom. Then I saw him drive around the corner [northbound on Route 1].”

Code enforcement and the building inspector are at the scene after officials responded to a report of a building collapse, according to scanner traffic.

James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story. Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Nothing Bundt Cakes opens in West End — “Nothing Bundt Cakes sells a variety of bundt cakes, bundt cake towers, mini bundt cakes and bite-size bundt cakes. There are nine basic flavors, including traditional vanilla and chocolate, plus marble, confetti, red velvet, pecan praline, white chocolate raspberry, carrot cake and more.” [Alexandria Living]

Councilman Canek Aguirre kicks off reelection campaign — “We have to invest in our school buildings. We have to invest in our city buildings. And that’s definitely something that we have to continue to do because it’s just going to get more expensive.” [Alex Times]

Mayor endorses Sean Casey for Sheriff — “Watching Sean Casey kick-off his campaign to be our next Sheriff. @DanaLawhorne is leaving very large shoes to fill, but I am confident Sean will be a great Sheriff for our City.” [Twitter]

Motorcyclist hospitalized after Saturday morning crash — “The Alexandria Police Dept is investigating a traffic crash between a vehicle and a motorcycle at Seminary Rd and Fillmore Ave that occurred around 8:45am. Motorcyclist was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Streets should reopen soon.” [Twitter]

ACPS makes new rules on outdoor eating and play before March 16 reopening — “With Alexandria City Public Schools set to bring back all students who have opted for hybrid in-person learning on March 16, district staff provided an update on the division’s hybrid learning plans at the March 4 School Board meeting.” [Alex Times]

Today’s weather — “Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High around 50F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph… Mainly cloudy with a mixture of rain and snow showers developing late. Low near 35F. Winds light and variable. Chance of precip 40%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Pet Bather — “Minimum of six months bathing experience in a professional grooming salon-we will not consider applicants without experience” [Indeed]

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