Alexandria, VA

Police announced yesterday that local resident Justin Benedict (55) had died as a result of injuries from a vehicle crash in Old Town on Friday.

“The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a vehicle crash that occurred on Friday, November 20, 2020, at S. Washington Street and Wilkes Street,” Alexandria police said in a press release. “At approximately 4 p.m., police responded to a crash involving a vehicle and a pedestrian.”

Police said the driver remained on the scene and Benedict was brought to a local hospital where he died.

“Members of the Crash Reconstruction Team are investigating the crash,” police said. “Witnesses to this crash or anyone with video footage are asked to contact Officer Nancy Gordon at 571.289.6794.”

Photo via Google Maps

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What an intense week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on the massive power outages that affected tens of thousands of residents on Friday, October 23. Without providing specifics, Dominion Energy told City Council this week that outages in Alexandria and Arlington were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation. City Councilors responded that there have been at least eight outages since May.

Monday started with news that an Alexandria Police officer was shot in Old Town and that the 27-year-old suspect was found shot to death near a construction site.

Police were called to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Old Town North after reports that shots were fired in the lobby of the hotel. Police chased two suspects on foot and a shootout ensued. The officer was shot in the lower body and was later released, and the other suspect later turned himself in to police.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 74 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,200 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count. This week the Alexandria Health Department reported that majority of recent coronavirus cases in Alexandria might be the result of contacts at home, indoor gatherings and eating out.

Restaurant-wise, we reported the soft opening of a new chicken joint in North Old Town.

Additionally, the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park will be taken down next month at Waterfront Park, and the installation will temporarily be moved outside of Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).

We also reported that more than 50% of Alexandria voters have already cast their ballots.

Additionally, more than 240 people participated in our weekly poll. With Halloween on Saturday, this week we asked about trick-or-treating plans, and 38% of respondents are not celebrating Halloween this year, 31% are not trick-or-treating but have other plans, 17% plan to trick-or-treat with modifications, and 14% plan to trick-or-treat as usual.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  2. BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
  3. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  4. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  5. Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
  6. BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
  7. Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
  8. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  9. Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
  10. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  11. Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End

Happy Halloween!

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A 43-year-old Alexandria man was killed in a car crash early Monday morning in the 2500 block of N. Van Dorn Street.

DWarren Brown died at the scene of the crash. Police responded to the single vehicle accident at around 1:44 a.m. and said that an initial investigation indicates that Brown lost control and drove off the road.

Brown was driving northbound on N. Van Dorn Street, and he crashed after driving on a long straightaway that runs parallel to Interstate 395. The speed limit in the curvy area where Brown crashed is 25 miles per hour.

The APD Crash Reconstruction Team is investigating the incident, and anyone with information is asked call investigator Jordan Young at 703-746-1816.

Map via Google Maps

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It’s the end of a busy week in Alexandria.

Once again, crime and public safety stories were the most read on ALXnow.

On Friday, we found that the 19-year-old man arrested for the September 30 West End murder of John Harding Pope was released on bail just eight days before the murder. Pope’s death is the second murder of the year. In the first murder, Ibrahim Bouaichi was out on bail when he allegedly killed his former girlfriend.

On Thursday, the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office confirmed that two suspected ISIS terrorists are now in the city jail. Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh also made their initial appearances at the Eastern District of Virginia federal courthouse in Alexandria.

On the pandemic front, there are now 73 COVID-19 deaths in the city, and the Virginia Department of Health projects there will be 20,000 more cases statewide by Thanksgiving. The city also announced that residents impacted by the pandemic might also be eligible to receive $100-$400 in grocery gift cards.

On the school front, T.C. Williams High School’s student newspaper Theogony broke the story that Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, Jr. now sends one of his children to a private high school in the city.

Meanwhile, Alexandria was named the fifth best small city in U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler and made Forbes’ Weekend Getaway list.

Nearly 200 readers also participated in our weekly poll on passing out Halloween candy, and 60% said they would not hand out candy, 29% said they are doing modified trick-or-treating and 11% said they will hand out candy like usual.

If you need a good laugh, this Sunday at 8 p.m. there will be more COVID-friendly stand-up comedy in Old Town.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Suspect Arrested for West End Murder
  2. BREAKING: Former Alexandria Nurse Jesse Bjerke Sentenced 65 Years For Raping Lifeguards at Gunpoint
  3. Report: ACPS Superintendent Sends Child to Bishop Ireton High School
  4. VIDEO: West End Murder Victim Identified
  5. Police: Illegal Drugs Sold in West End Via Snapchat During Pandemic
  6. Man Dies After Crash on N. Washington Street in Old Town
  7. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  8. Delaware Woman Charged for Three Hit-And-Runs in Old Town and Driving Under the Influence
  9. Man Shot on Quantrell Avenue in City’s Second Murder of 2020
  10. Students, Parents Ask School Board to Not Renew Agreement Allowing Police at Alexandria City Public Schools
  11. Homeowner Shot in Targeted Del Ray Home Invasion

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria was dominated by violent crime events this week.

The second murder of 2020 occurred on Sept. 30, and ALXnow identified the victim as 57-year-old John Harding Pope. Mayor Justin Wilson and members of the City Council offered their condolences and said that justice will be served.

Our poll asking residents if they feel safe in Alexandria received more than 500 votes, and 60% feel somewhat safe, 29% feel very safe and 12% feel not safe at all.

Old Town regulars will also be sad to learn that Miegs Hodge, a 1982 graduate of T.C. Williams High School, died in a car crash on N. Washington Street on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Not on this week’s list is Friday’s breaking news story that Jesse Bjerke, a former nurse at Inova Alexandria Hospital, was sentenced to 65 years in prison for raping two lifeguards at gunpoint.

There was some positive news. A new gym will be opening in the West End later this month, a local chef won on the ‘Chopped’ reality show, and the city’s unemployment rate continues to trend downward.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria:

  1. Homeowner Shot in Targeted Del Ray Home Invasion
  2. UPDATED: Driver Seriously Injured in Old Town Crash
  3. Police Investigate Violent Early Morning Crimes in Alexandria
  4. West End Shootout Wounds Two and Hits Buildings and Cars
  5. Alexandria Wants to Make Affordable Housing Contributions Mandatory for Developers
  6. Man Dies After Crash on N. Washington Street in Old Town
  7. Avanti Holdings to Build New West End Home for ‘Alexandria Lighting Supply’ Store
  8. Man Shot on Quantrell Avenue in City’s Second Murder of 2020
  9. Poll: How Safe Do You Feel in Alexandria?
  10. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  11. Virginia Tech Pump Station Approval Paves Way for 4.5 Extra Acres at Potomac Yard Park

Have a safe weekend!

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A 56-year-old man died after a crash in Old Town North on Tuesday, according to Alexandria Police.

Meigs Hodge died after being transported to the hospital, police reported on social media. Police did not say which car he was driving.

Hodge, a 1982 T.C. Williams High School graduate, was a musician and owned a landscape company in Alexandria for more than a decade. According to his LinkedIn page, his career included managing payroll for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, managing payroll for Octagon and managing human resources for RedPeg Marketing before launching his landscaping business in 2009.

The crash shut down N. Washington Street for a number of hours on Tuesday afternoon.

The crash reconstruction team are investigating the incident, and are asking that anyone with video or information regarding the crash to contact APD Officer Nancy Gordon at 571-289-6794.

The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a vehicle crash that occurred on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, in the…

Posted by Police Department, City of Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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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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Alexandria had quite a week, and it’s time to look back as it comes to a close.

In addition to moving into the second phase of its economic recovery, there were a number of important events of interest, including the city council’s passage of an ordinance prohibiting firearms on city property, approved the creation of a police review boardcontinued expressions of support for the black community in the wake of the George Floyd Murder, and a renewed effort to rename T.C. Williams High School.

Here are the top 11 most-read articles this week in Alexandria.

  1. BREAKING: Barricade Situation, Suspect Firing on Police on Main Line Boulevard
  2. What Changes When Alexandria Moves Into Phase 2 of Reopening
  3. T.C. Williams High School Renaming Question Resurfaces in Alexandria
  4. Man Wounded in Late Night Old Town Shooting, No Arrests
  5. Photos: Vigils and Protests Against Police Brutality Held in Alexandria
  6. Protests and Vigils for Racial Justice Planned in Alexandria
  7. Old Town Property Once Owned by George Washington For Sale at $4.1 Million
  8. Mayor: Alexandria Could Move into Phase 2 of Reopening Next Week
  9. Morning Notes
  10. Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats Plans to Open Late This Summer in Old Town
  11. Just In: Alexandria Tow Truck Driver Killed on I-495

Feel free to discuss those or other topics in the comments. Have a safe weekend!

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The family of an Alexandria man killed Monday night on Interstate 495 have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with funeral expenses.

The fund to help the family of Derrick A. Marbury was launched three days ago and has so far raised more than $3,100 out of a $10,000 goal.

“Me and my siblings lost my father last night around 10pm,” Danaeyah Marbury wrote. “He left behind 4 daughters and 1 son. He was loved so much by everyone around him. He always had a smile on his face. Me and my family need help laying my father to rest. Anything helps thank you❤️ it was a hit and run.”

Marbury, a 49-year-old tow truck driver, was killed running out of the way of an accident as he responded to a disabled vehicle on southbound I-495 on Monday night. The incident occurred less than a mile north of Route 236 in Fairfax County and it remains under investigation, according to Virginia State Police.

“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 on Thursday. “This is all the information we have at this time.”

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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