Virginia State Police are still investigating the three-vehicle crash that closed I-66 East in the Merrifield area for hours on Thursday (Sept. 9).
The crash killed three people who have now been identified as 28-year-old Lacquora Smith from Alfred, Maine, and her 4-year-old and 6-year-old daughters, state police reported in an update this morning (Monday).
According to police, Smith was driving a 2012 Honda Crosstour east on I-66 when the vehicle lost control near the 64-mile marker at I-495, striking a 2015 Toyota RAV SUV and veering off into a guardrail along the right side of the interstate.
After hitting the guardrail, the Honda swerved back into the eastbound lanes of I-66, struck the Toyota a second time, and continued toward the left side of the interstate.
“The Honda continued off the left side of the interstate and struck the guardrail, after which it spun back into the eastbound lanes of I-66,” the VSP said. “An eastbound tractor-trailer swerved to the right to avoid the spinning Honda, but the two vehicles collided.”
Police responded to the scene around 3:06 a.m.
There were five people in Smith’s Honda at the time of the crash. The two surviving passengers — a 7-year-old girl and a 2-year-old juvenile — were transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital to receive treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.
VSP spokesperson Corinne Geller confirmed that three of the juveniles in the car were Smith’s children, while the fourth was a family member. It was not immediately clear whether the two surviving children have been released from Inova Hospital as of this afternoon.
As previously reported, the adult male driver of the tractor-trailer involved in the crash was not injured, and the Toyota driver, also an adult man, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
A GoFundMe organized by Catherine Donnell, who identifies herself as Smith’s aunt, has been set up to help the family cover funeral costs and other expenses. The woman says Smith was driving home to New Hampshire after visiting her in Tennessee when the crash occurred.
The fundraiser has drawn more than $16,700 as of 3:15 p.m.
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) Three people died in a multi-vehicle crash that closed off eastbound I-66 in Merrifield throughout this morning (Thursday).
All lanes on I-66 have now reopened, the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at 12:16 p.m.
According to the Virginia State Police, a tractor-trailer and two passenger vehicles collided on I-66 just before the I-495 interchange around 3:06 a.m. Police have confirmed three fatalities: an adult female driver and two children.
Police have determined that a Honda SUV traveling east on I-66 lost control near the 64-mile marker at the Capital Beltway, the VSP said in a report:
The Honda struck a Toyota SUV and then continued off the right side of the interstate. When the Honda struck the guardrail, it then re-entered the eastbound lanes of I-66 and struck the Toyota SUV a second time. The Honda continued off the left side of the interstate and struck the guardrail, after which it spun back into the eastbound lanes of I-66. An eastbound tractor-trailer swerved to the right to avoid the spinning Honda, but the two vehicles collided.
The three people who died at the scene were all in the Honda SUV.
“State police is still in the process of confirming their identities and notifying next of kin,” the VSP said.
Two other juveniles are getting treatment at Fairfax Inova Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The adult male driver of the Toyota SUV was also transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of injuries that police say were not life-threatening.
The tractor-trailer driver, identified as an adult man, was not injured in the crash.
The crash investigation closed all eastbound I-66 lanes at 64.7 mile marker near the Capital Beltway, resulting in traffic backups that, at one point, stretched back to Fairfax County Parkway at Fair Lakes.
Drivers were detoured onto Nutley Street in Vienna, as VDOT warned motorists to expect delays. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing.
UPDATE: Tractor Trailer Crash w/ Injuries. I-66 EB before I-495 (Ex 64/Capital Beltway). Fairfax County, VA. All travel lanes are blocked. Traffic is being detoured on to VA-243 (Ex 62/Nutley St). Expect heavy delays on US-29 and US-50 in the vicinity.
— MATOC Alerts (@MATOC) September 9, 2021
Update: All traffic is being diverted off at Nutley. Traffic stopped in the queue between Nutley and the crash is being flushed through the left lane. Pls avoid 66. https://t.co/EXzxel9ajw
— VDOT Northern VA 😷 (@VaDOTNOVA) September 9, 2021
I-66 West Lane Closures Start Tonight — I-66 West in the Vienna area will be reduced to a single travel lane around 10 p.m. today (Friday) and tomorrow with one lane remaining closed during the day on Saturday. The closures are needed to shift the westbound travel lanes between Gallows Road and Nutley Street to new pavement as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]
Two Injured in McLean House Fire During Storm — Two people went to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries after a house in the 6600 block of Osborn Street caught fire around 9:10 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 10). The fire, which displaced five occupants and resulted in approximately $25,000 in damages, was caused by an unattended candle placed too close to curtains during a thunderstorm-induced power outage. [FCFRD]
Craft Beer Restaurant Planned for Tysons Galleria — “Yard House, the casual, craft beer-focused restaurant with a growing Greater Washington presence, will open a new location inside the redeveloped former Macy’s store at the Tysons Galleria. Building permits filed this week with Fairfax County describe the project as eventually spanning 14,236 square feet and entailing an outdoor patio at the redone Galleria space.” [Washington Business Journal]
Falls Church Adds Affordable Housing — Falls Church City bought properties at 310 and 312 Shirley Street for $925,000 each on Wednesday (Aug. 11). The 2,560 square-foot buildings consist of four one-bedroom apartments that will be preserved as market-rate affordable units, joining the 16 such units that the City already owns at 208 Gibson Street and 302 Shirley Street. [City of Falls Church]
Construction Begins on New Tysons ER — “HCA Virginia, the health system behind Reston Hospital Center, has started construction on a Tysons emergency room and aims to open it in early 2022…Located at 8240 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Emergency will be an ER open 24 hours daily with full-service emergency care.” [Patch]
Just 40% of Metro Workers Vaccinated Against COVID-19 — “Metro’s top executive warned employees Monday that the transit system might start mandatory coronavirus tests if the agency’s vaccination rate doesn’t climb to at least 70 percent. Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a memo to employees that about 40 percent of Metro’s workforce has indicated being vaccinated in an employee database.” [The Washington Post]
I-66 Widening Work Still on Schedule — Work on the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project remains on schedule for the extended toll lanes to open in December 2022, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. Nearly 2,000 workers are currently involved in the project with bridges and ramps at the I-66/I-495 interchange among the most noticeable construction. [Inside NoVA]
Tysons Library Book Sales Return — For the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library friends’ group will host a book sale. To avoid overcrowding, attendees on the first day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 18 will be required to register for a two-hour time slot in advance, but entry will not be restricted for the rest of the sale from Aug. 19-22. [Fairfax County Public Library]
New I-66 Ramp to West Falls Church Metro Opens — A new ramp designed to provide direct access from Interstate 66 to the West Falls Church Metro station is expected to open around midday today (Thursday). Work on the ramp, which connects two existing I-66 East/Route 7 ramps, began in May 2020 and is part of the I-66 Inside the Beltway widening project. [VDOT]
Partial Closure of Tysons Boulevard Begins — Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (Wednesday) to mark the launch of a program to give pedestrians and bicyclists access to a half-mile of Tysons Boulevard. This is the second year that the county has experimented with a partial closure of the road near Tysons Galleria. [Dalia Palchik/Twitter]
McLean Family Starts Persian Ice Cream Delivery — The owners of Amoo’s Restaurant in McLean has spun off one of their most lauded dishes into a delivery service. Kinrose Creamery launched last week, producing ice cream that can be picked up at Amoo’s and delivery sites in Vienna, Sterling, and Manassas. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Wolf Trap Hotel Project Returns to Vienna Board — The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review will discuss the latest revisions to plans for a four-story, mixed-use development at 444 Maple Avenue W. when it meets tonight. After being slowed down by the pandemic and public opposition to proposed development on Maple, the developer told Tysons Reporter in June that they hope to start construction this fall. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Behind the Architecture of Capital One Hall — “HGA worked with the client, presenting alternatives [to marble] such as Italian travertine, silvery Alabaman limestone, or Brazilian swirling granite to avoid joining the high number of noteworthy marble failures in the past sixty years. For Barry Mark, vice president of design and construction at Capital One, none of these had the distinctive beauty and character for the vision he had of the project.” [The Architect’s Newspaper]
A motorcyclist died on Sunday (July 4) after crashing off of Interstate 66 near the Nutley Street exit, Virginia State Police reported yesterday (Wednesday).
According to police, Eddie B. Short, 55, of Manassas was traveling west on I-66 on a 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster when the motorcycle went off the interstate and hit a crash attenuator. The crash occurred at 12:33 p.m. on the Fourth of July.
Short, who was wearing a helmet, was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital, where he died from the resulting injuries that same day.
VSP Public Relations Director Corinne Geller confirmed to Tysons Reporter that the crash occurred near Exit 62 for Nutley Street. The cause of the crash has not been determined as the incident remains under investigation.
State police say Short was one of 10 people who died in traffic crashes on Virginia highways over this past Independence Day weekend, which was counted from 12:01 a.m. on July 2 to midnight on July 5.
Four of the reported fatal crashes involved motorcycles, and one involved an all-terrain vehicle.
Preliminary data shows that 399 people have been killed in traffic crashes in 2021 as of July 7, four more deaths than had been recorded at this point last year, according to a VSP news release.
Overall, state troopers responded to 669 traffic crashes and 1,550 incidents involving stranded or disabled motorists during the holiday weekend. They also arrested 61 drunk drivers and issued 4,025 citations for speeding, 1,434 for reckless driving, and 510 for not wearing a seatbelt.
“We are at the height of the summer travel season, which is why we need every Virginian committed to being a safe, responsible driver,” VSP Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle said. “Please put as much attention into driving, buckling up and complying with speed limits as you do with planning your summer getaway. You and Virginia’s safety depend on it.”
Photo via Google Maps
Updated at 4:40 p.m. — Metrorail service has been restored between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations after the transit system encountered power issues at its Dunn Loring station.
“Residual delays continue in both directions,” Metro says.
Updated at 1:40 p.m. — The I-66 eastbound and westbound left lanes in the Vienna/Oakton area have now reopened, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.
Earlier: More than a thousand people in the Pimmit area of Tysons are currently without power after a thunderstorm rattled the D.C. region last night (Thursday).
According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, the most substantial power outage in the Tysons area involves 1,215 customers in the Pimmit neighborhood west of Leesburg Pike, specifically along George C. Marshall Drive.
Those affected include the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, which will not open at 10 a.m. today as scheduled.
— Fairfax Library (@fairfaxlibrary) July 2, 2021
Dominion is attributing the outage to the storm and says crews have been dispatched. The estimated time of restoration is between 6 and 11 p.m.
As of 9 a.m. today (Friday), there were 6,699 customers in Northern Virginia without power, primarily in Fairfax and Arlington counties. Overall, the storm produced 33,000 power outages in the area, according to Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox.
“Due to much damage from last night’s storm, it’ll take most of day for our @DominionEnergy crews to repair all the damage & get everyone’s power back,” Fox said in a tweet. “Thank you for your patience!”
6,699 customers in Northern Virginia @ 9am.
Many ETRs are in— due to much damage from last night’s storm, it’ll take most of day for our @DominionEnergy crews to repair all the damage & get everyone’s power back.
Thank you for your patience! pic.twitter.com/tt1JkqsB4i
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) July 2, 2021
Metro announced just after 5 a.m. that the power issues had affected its Dunn Loring-Merrifield station, requiring a suspension of train service between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations. Shuttle buses are being provided to serve that section of the Orange Line.
UPDATED: Orange Line Delay: Train service suspended btwn Vienna & W Falls Church due to a power problem at Dunn Loring. Shuttle buses established.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) July 2, 2021
As of 9:30 a.m., service has not been restored yet.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Transportation says the Interstate 66 east and westbound left lanes have been closed at the new split near the 61-mile marker in Vienna so that crews can clear standing water left by last night’s rain.
The I-66 westbound ramp to Nutley Street was also temporarily but reopened around 7:35 a.m.
Update: 66WB ramp to Nutley has reopened. https://t.co/S6X4nkoIzS
— VDOT Northern VA 😷 (@VaDOTNOVA) July 2, 2021
Interstate 66 project crews are rerouting more traffic along the corridor this year with future milestones — and easier commuting — in sight.
Virginia Department of Transportation and construction officials shared updates on the progress of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project at virtual community meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 29 and 30). Express lanes in the multibillion-dollar project are slated to open in December 2022.
The added express lanes will involve tolls for solo drivers and be free for vehicles with three or more people. Other changes coming with the project include adding express ramp connections at interchanges and improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including a newly created I-66 Trail along the corridor.
“Every day, things are changing,” VDOT megaprojects director Susan Shaw said during the presentation on Wednesday, which focused on the area from Jermantown Road in Fairfax to I-495 in Dunn Loring. “There’s a lot of work that’s going on out there, about $60 million worth of work per month…That’s a lot of changes, and it means changes for drivers.”
She reminded community members that it is now illegal for drivers to utilize a handheld device while operating their vehicle, thanks to a new law passed in 2020 that became effective Jan. 1.
“We just ask that you really be alert when you’re driving the corridor, that you pay attention to all the signage,” she said.
Project officials reported the following timelines for improvements to I-66 interchanges:
Gallows Road Bridge
- Mid-July: A traffic shift will occur
- August: The new northbound bridge opens with traffic shifting there. The old bridge will begin to be demolished overnight, and construction of the new southbound bridge will start.
- December: Work related to tying in a school driveway will occur over winter break
Nutley Street Interchange
- Permanent ramps and retaining walls are being constructed this summer
Vaden Drive Bridge
- Express lane ramps are being constructed and slated to be complete by early fall.
- A sidewalk on the west side of the bridge is scheduled to open in early fall. It runs from Saintsbury Drive to Country Creek Road.
Chain Bridge Road (Route 123)
- Southbound Route 123 traffic will shift to the new bridge in late fall.
- Permanent Route 123 ramps to I-66 will open later this year. Northbound Route 123 changes are slated for late July and the summer, and southbound ramp openings are on schedule for this fall.
- Roadwork on Route 123 north and south of the interchange will take place in early 2022.
- Pedestrian access, which didn’t exist before, will be available after the project is completed.
- Construction will take place in early July of sidewalk north and south of the bridge on the west side of the road.
- Lanes are being shifted to new bridges. Route 50 westbound traffic switched to the new overpass on Sunday (June 27), and eastbound traffic will take over the new structure on or about July 10.
The I-66 Trail, the new shared-use path being added along the interstate, could be opened in phases, but it depends on whether it’s safe to do so, Shaw said. She said they’re not committed to anything prior to the anticipated completion of the project in mid-2023.
“Our…top priority is to make sure that…the shared use path is safe and that it’s safe while we’re completing this project,” she said.
Meanwhile, noise walls are going up in various locations along I-66, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in some materials, including steel posts and panel production, said Nancy Smith, public relations director with FAM Construction, the design-builder for the project.
Construction Closes I-66 West Overnight — Starting last night (Wednesday), all lanes of I-66 West approaching I-495 in the Dunn Loring area will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night through Saturday (June 19). The closures are necessary for overhead bridge work on the interchange as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]
Rally in Support of Public Schools Tonight — The Fairfax County Democratic Committee is organizing a rally in support of Fairfax County Public Schools ahead of the school board’s meeting at Luther Jackson Middle School. The school board has faced criticism from some for making political statements and closing schools last year due to COVID-19, including a recall campaign led by a parents’ group that identifies as bipartisan but has received substantial funding from Republican donors. [Fairfax Democrats/Twitter]
Rick Springfield Fans Once Shut Down Tysons Corner — “June 17 is the 40th anniversary of the day Rick Springfield shut down Tysons Corner. Larry Houck was there. ‘Talk about having a front-row seat,’ said Houck, who worked at the Variety Records in Tysons Corner Center, where Springfield was scheduled to meet fans.” [The Washington Post]
McLean Startup Raises $60 Million — The McLean-based kidney care startup Somatus Inc. has secured $60.12 million in new funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $165 million over its five years of existence. The funds come from an equity offering that had its first sale on June 1 and will be used to support the company’s continued expansion as it now serves more than 150,000 patients in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]
Maryland Beltway Project in Jeopardy — The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board voted yesterday to remove Maryland’s Capital Beltway toll lanes plan from a list of long-term transportation projects, jeopardizing its ability to secure federally required environmental approval. The project will also replace and expand the American Legion Bridge and is considered a necessary supplement to Virginia’s 495 NEXT project in McLean. [The Washington Post]
Westbound I-66 to Close Overnight Starting Tomorrow — “Work at the Interstate 66 and Capital Beltway interchange will require a full I-66 closure in the westbound direction over several upcoming days. The Virginia Department of Transportation said westbound I-66 will be closed at I-495 nightly from Tuesday, June 15 to Saturday, June 19. Closure hours are 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly and until 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.” [Patch]
Vienna Reaffirms Commitment to Library Parking Project — “Vienna officials still can back out of an agreement with Fairfax County to build a new Patrick Henry Library with a parking structure, but now the town financially has something to lose. Vienna Town Council members on June 7 reconfirmed the town’s participation in the agreement and agreed to support the project’s design phase.” [Sun Gazette]
Falls Church Chamber of Commerce Supports Amendment — “The board of directors of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce formally signed off on a letter to the Fairfax County Planning Commission in advance of its meeting next Tuesday. The letter, sent over the signature of Falls Church Executive Director Sally Cole, expressed the Chamber’s strong support for an amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan to permit mixed use development at WMATA’s West Falls Church Metro station site.” [Falls Church News-Press]
McLean Home of Retired Football Quarterback for Sale — “In April, the veteran quarterback Alex Smith announced his retirement from the NFL. Now Smith is leaving the Washington, DC, metro behind. He’s listed his gorgeous mansion in McLean, VA, for $6.7 million.” [Sun Sentinel]