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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Police officer on leave after crash

A Fairfax County Police officer with the Mason station has been placed on restricted duty following a crash in Seven Corners, the Fairfax County Police Department reports.

The officer, who has been with the department for two years, was responding to a call for a disorderly man in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18.


He was driving a marked, 2011 Ford Crown Victoria westbound on Leesburg Pike, approaching the intersection of Patrick Henry Drive. A 2000 Toyota Sienna van, driven by a 53-year-old man, was eastbound on Leesburg Pike and tried to make a left turn onto Patrick Henry in front of the cruiser.

The vehicles collided in the intersection. Using his radio, the officer notified police dispatch of the crash and then immediately ran to the Toyota to try and help the driver. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department arrived and took the driver of the Toyota to the hospital where he remains.

Detectives from the FCPD Crash Reconstruction Unit determined the officer was traveling above the posted speed limit without his emergency equipment activated. Detectives are working to determine to what extent the officer’s speed may have contributed to this crash.

The cruiser was equipped with an in-car video system, but it was so badly damaged, the video cannot be retrieved.

The officer is on restricted duty pending the outcome of two parallel investigations; one administrative and one criminal.

After crash reconstruction detectives complete their investigation, they will present the facts to the commonwealth’s attorney, who will make the appropriate decision on charges.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or have information about this incident should contact the Crash Reconstruction Unit, 703-280-0534, or Crime Solvers, 866-411-TIPS(8477).

10 comments:

  1. Saw the aftermath of that crash (I guess a few hours later)... the cruiser was indeed quite banged up.

    Didn't see the van. Hope the driver of the van is OK.

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  2. Dashcam of the crash:

    https://youtu.be/2gSTQwV-nRE#t=15s

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    Replies
    1. Damn... Thanks for posting that.

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    2. Someone did a frame by frame analysis using the known length of the police cruiser and the camera frame rate, calculated the cruiser to be going at 70+ mph just before impact. With no lights and sirens the driver of the van probably did not even see it coming.

      I find it hard to believe that FCPD could not recover the video from the cruiser or Event Data Recorder, modern cars record information just for times like this.

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    3. The cruiser was speeding, but the van should have yielded. Both at fault.

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    4. And wow, didn't see the cruiser coming? That's when you take the keys away from grandma. Is that light red or green? Is that a person crossing the road? Is that a car coming right towards mine? Not an acceptable excuse. I spot speeding cars ALL THE TIME. They aren't invisible. This was NOT an intersection to not cautiously yield at.

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    5. I completely understand how the van driver didn't see the cruiser coming. Watch the video: it's at the time when eastbound Leesburg has a green and green arrow, and westbound has a red--vehicles are stopped in two of the three westbound lanes. Two vehicles turn left just ahead of the van, which appears to follow on the protected left signal.

      Even if the van driver's view wasn't screened by the two lanes of westbound traffic sitting at the light, he would have had no reason to be looking far enough down Leesburg to see a vehicle approaching at that rate of speed--especially considering the green arrow. It would have been far more appropriate for him to be watching for pedestrians who might cross against the light.

      Sorry--if the lights/siren weren't activated, the cruiser driver is 100% at fault. Don't add insult to injury (literally) of the van driver by suggesting "tak[ing] the keys away from grandma." (BTW, we know from above that the driver is question is a 53 year old man.) Yes, Anon, you see speeding cars all the time; we all do. But this is the whole point of traffic laws--so that we all have similar expectations about where a vehicle should be, and when. It appears the van was where it should have been, and the cruiser was not. Glad to know FCPD moved promptly to put the officer on restricted duty.

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    6. Andrew, the left turn green at that intersection is at the beginning of the cycle, not the end, for the Leesburg pike traffic. The scenario is that the light for Leesburg Pike was turning red for both directions. From my sense of the timing and my too-familiar knowledge of that intersection, the van was already in the intersection when the light turned red and began "clearing the intersection" when the cruiser hit him.

      More generally (not replying to any individual person here) - people can debate about whether "clearing the intersection" is legally the same thing as running a red light. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But the fact is everyone does it. Yes, you SHOULD look to make sure no one is going to blindside you and run the red, and I would say that he should have seen the cruiser even without his lights, but I'm sure as hell not going to point blame at a guy whose still in a hospital bed. Nor am I going to necessarily going to light a fire under the individual officer who definitely made some mistakes here but in the end was trying to respond to a call.

      If anything, I'm more interested in this story from an institutional perspective to see if the police department doesn't try to sweep this under the rug -- It disturbs me that they say that his dashcam was destroyed. I also want to see the department use this incident as a training point to remind officers to use their lights/etc whenever it is appropriate to do so (as it was in this case) and to avoid excessive speeding. But in the end, this was an accident. Let's find the lessons to be learned and apply them. I'm not feeling a need to get outraged over this at this point.

      Hope the guy who was injured is getting the help and support he needs.

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    7. Jeffrey, if I've misread the timing in the cycle, I stand corrected. If so, I would note that if the van driver was indeed clearing the intersection, then the cruiser clearly ran the red. W/o lights or siren, above the speed limit. So between those two vehicles, only one clearly did *not* have the right of way. So I'll stand by my earlier point--those that who are belittling the poor guy who ended up in the hospital--and without a car!--should stop doing so.

      And I agree, I'm concerned that FCPD doesn't whitewash this. It's convenient that their camera equipment was destroyed; it's less convenient for them that someone else had a dashcam running at the same time.

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    8. I’ve seen a handful of FCPD cruisers crushed like tin cans over the years in accidents; it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they are being truthful that the dashcam was indeed destroyed beyond all usage.


      Cops that speed excessively, run red lights, and generally drive as though they are far above the law make me shake with anger. Glad the FCPD leadership acted with swiftness on this.

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