A fatal accident on Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield Wednesday, April 23, and a motorcycle fatality earlier in April bring to light traffic dangers in the Springfield area.
Fairfax County Police captain Dorian Portee at the West Springfield station noticed a trend. Although the motorcycle accident was attributed to excessive speed, the car fatality is still under investigation.
"It seems like they've shifted from Fairfax County Parkway," he said. "We'll find out how to approach it."
The Fairfax County Police Crash Reconstruction Unit is investigating the fatal crash that occurred at the intersection of Old Keene Mill Road and Huntsman Boulevard on Wednesday, April 23, at 11 a.m. According to police, Charles Francisco Jr., 79, of Kingsgate Road in the Springfield area was driving a 1997 Nissan Altima west on Old Keene Mill Road. He attempted to make a left turn onto Huntsman Boulevard and was struck by a 1994 Ford Taurus driven by Jacquelyn W. Quickstory, 17, of Rugby Road in Manassas, which was traveling east on Old Keene Mill Road. The impact caused the Nissan Altima to rotate in a clockwise direction and strike a 1994 Dodge pickup that was sitting at the traffic light on Huntsman Boulevard. Julia Francisco, 72, who was a passenger in the Nissan Altima, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck, Timothy N. Kwak, of Kentford Drive in the Springfield area, was not injured. Quickstory and Charles Francisco were taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The police reported that everyone involved in the crash was wearing a seat belt.
According to Portee, the light at Huntsman was functioning properly. The intersection has a turn arrow on the light and also a solid green light. Turning drivers would have to use their judgment to determine if the way was clear. An officer patrolling that area the day of the crash was on the scene.
"Our officer arrived before it was phoned in. Driver error, you can't address," Portee said.
According to Fairfax County Police spokesperson Jody Donaldson, the investigation was inconclusive.
"There were no charges placed," he said.
RESIDENTS OF ORANGE HUNT, the neighborhood bisected by Huntsman, have seen accidents there in the past. Vivian Bringas lives a few doors down from the intersection. She's noticed the view gets blocked when a car is in the left lane, waiting at the light, and another car is turning right from Huntsman after stopping on red.
"Sometimes we can't see them coming," Bringas said. "Sometimes they're going fast."
Mary Ann Benedetta also looks at speeding as a factor.
"Speeding right here on Huntsman. Speeding is the biggest factor. I don't know how you can stop speeding," she said.
At Supervisor Elaine McConnell's (R-Springfield) office, Steve Edwards is in charge of transportation issues. With the budget crunches and the increase in traffic around Springfield, more police presence on the roads isn't realistic, he said.
"It seems like a total disregard of traffic regulations," Edwards said. "It seems to be people just in a hurry to get where they're going. We'll never be able to hire enough officers to enforce the rules of the road to that extent."
A possible resolution, according to Portee, is programming the light at Huntsman Boulevard so a turn can be made only when an arrow is present.