News of crime and punishment across Fairfax County.
WEST FALLS CHURCH HOUSE FIRE BLAMED ON COOKING OIL: Units from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Arlington County Fire Department and City of Fairfax Fire Department responded Nov. 30 at 9:20 a.m. to a reported house fire in the 3200 block of Nealon Drive in the West Falls Church area.
Units arrived on the scene of a one-story, single-family home with fire showing from the roof. Crews quickly located the fire and extinguished it. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.
Two occupants were home at the time of the fire. A neighbor who saw smoke coming from the attic alerted both occupants to the fire. The occupants evacuated the home and called 911.
Smoke alarms were present, but did not work for lack of batteries, officials said.
Fire investigators determined that the fire was accidental, started in the kitchen and was caused by ignition of cooking oil from an unattended pan left on the stove top.
The fire displace five occupants, who declined assistance offered by the Red Cross. The fire caused about $162,500 worth of damage, officials said.
VIENNA POLICE ARREST MAN ON DRUG CHARGE, OUTSTANDING WARRANTS: A Vienna police officer on Nov. 27 at 1:55 a.m. observed a man pacing in the middle of the road in the 100 block of Maple Avenue, E., and stopped to check on his welfare.
Upon interacting with the man, police determined there were two active warrants for his arrest in Arlington County. The officer also found the man was in possession of a pipe that contained a controlled substance, police said.
Police arrested the 52-year-old man with no fixed address and took him to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where authorities charged him with possession of a controlled substance and served him with the Arlington County warrants charging him with failure to appear in court on a narcotics-possession charge and failure to obey a court order on a narcotics charge.
WOMAN SAYS BROTHER MAY HAVE BROKEN FRONT WINDOW OF VIENNA BUSINESS: A local resident told Vienna police that, on Nov. 23 between 1 and 3 p.m., her brother came to her business, Elite Tutoring, at 233 Maple Ave., E., and allegedly broke the front window.
Police still are investigating the case.
PEDESTRIAN PUNCHES, KICKS DRIVER’S VEHICLE NEAR SHOPPING CENTER IN VIENNA: A driver was attempting to pull onto Maple Avenue from the Vienna Plaza Shopping Center near Pleasant Street, S.W., on Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. when a man walking on the sidewalk became agitated that part of her vehicle was blocking the sidewalk, Vienna police said.
The man began screaming at the driver and kicking the passenger side of her vehicle. The man then approached her driver’s side door, kicked the car again and began punching the window, police said.
The driver, feeling threatened, quickly pulled onto the roadway, where her vehicle stalled at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Pleasant Street.
Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the man. The woman’s vehicle was towed from the scene. This case remains under investigation, police said.
VIENNA MAN REPORTS THEFT OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT FROM LOCKED VEHICLE: A resident living in the 1000 block of Westbriar Drive, N.E., told Vienna police that, on Nov. 27 between midnight and 7 a.m., he had left his work vehicle locked and legally parked on the roadway.
Someone smashed the left rear window and stole a camera and other camera equipment belonging to his employer, as well as some of his personal property, police said.
VIENNA LEAF TRAILER ROLLS DOWN STEEP INCLINE, STRIKES GARAGE: Town of Vienna employees were working in the 400 block of Center Street, N., on Nov. 30 at 2:59 p.m. and had parked a leaf-vacuum trailer on the roadway with a wheel stop in place to secure it.
Due to the steep incline, the trailer went over the wheel stop, proceeded down a hill and struck the garage of a residence, Vienna police said.
Firefighters responded to ensure the home’s structural integrity, police said.
VIENNA POLICE ARREST MAN AFTER ALLEGED THEFT FROM PHONE STORE: An employee at the AT&T store, 211 Maple Ave., W., told Vienna police on Dec. 2 at 8:03 p.m. that a man had stolen items from the store.
Officers spoke to the man, who stated he took the items after having a disagreement with the employee over an iPhone. The man returned the items to the store, and the employee banned him from the premises.
Police arrested the 47-year-old man with no fixed address and took him to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where authorities charged him with petty larceny and held him without bond.
DRIVER CITED AFTER INJURING MAN ON SCOOTER: An individual using an electric-powered mobility scooter was crossing Maple Avenue, W., in the designated crosswalk at James Madison Drive on Nov. 24 at 8:24 p.m. when a vehicle traveling westbound on Maple Avenue struck him, Vienna police said.
Rescue personnel transported the pedestrian to an area hospital for treatment of injuries described as non-life-threatening.
Police issued the driver a summons for failure to pay full time and attention.
VEHICLE DAMAGED AFTER DEER ENCOUNTER IN VIENNA: A motorist was traveling eastbound on Maple Avenue, E., on Nov. 27 at 5:55 p.m. when the vehicle struck a deer that ran across the roadway near Follin Lane, S.E.
The vehicle was disabled by the collision and the deer fled the scene, police said.
MERRIFIELD TARGET STORE BURGLARIZED: Someone forced entry into the Target store at 2905 District Ave. in Merrifield on Nov. 25 at 1:41 p.m. and took merchandise, Fairfax County police said.
STATE POLICE REPORT 4 TRAFFIC DEATHS OVER THANKSGIVING PERIOD: During the 2021 Thanksgiving statistical-counting period, preliminary data show there were four fatal traffic crashes statewide, Virginia State Police said Dec. 2.
This is the lowest number of traffic fatalities during Thanksgiving period in more than a decade, officials said.
“Although even one life lost is a tragedy, this Thanksgiving has given us something to truly be thankful for,” said Col. Gary Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent.
The fatal crashes occurred in Albemarle, Chesterfield, Fairfax and Spotsylvania counties. Of those crashes, one victim was a pedestrian and another was not wearing a seat belt.
In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, Virginia State Police participated in Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort). Operation CARE is an annual, state-sponsored, national program during which state police increase their visibility and traffic-enforcement efforts during the five-day Thanksgiving period.
Troopers during the 2021 Thanksgiving Holiday CARE initiative cited 5,127 speeders and 1,565 reckless drivers statewide. Virginia troopers arrested 65 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and cited 477 drivers for failing to buckle up themselves and/or juvenile passengers.
VIENNA MAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH FATAL HIT-AND-RUN CRASH: Authorities arrested a 24-year-old Vienna man Dec. 3 in connection with a fatal crash on Sept. 1 in Reston, Fairfax County police said.
Since the crash, detectives from the police department’s Crash Reconstruction Unit have conducted multiple search warrants and followed up on several leads provided from community members.
According to police, Carlos Alexander Torres Jr. was driving a family member’s 2006 Chevrolet sport-utility vehicle southbound on the Fairfax County Parkway on Sept. 1 just after 7:30 p.m. when he allegedly ran a red light at Walnut Branch Road and stuck a 2013 Volkswagen Passat.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department personnel took the Volkswagen’s driver, Andrew Willingham, 37, of Reston, to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Torres fled from the scene on foot, police said. Detectives on Sept. 16 obtained warrants for felony hit-and-run, involuntary manslaughter and driving with no operator’s license.
Since then, detectives from the department’s Fugitive Track and Apprehension Unit have tried to locate Torres. After executing numerous search warrants to determine his whereabouts, detectives recently received information of his exact location.
On the afternoon of Dec. 3, detectives working alongside the U.S. Marshals Task Force, tracked Torres to a work site in Montgomery County, Md., and took him into custody.
Authorities took Torres to the Montgomery County Adult Detention Center, where he is being held before being remanded back to Fairfax County. Detectives believe alcohol may have played as a factor in this crash.