Charges Pending In Burke Traffic Fatality

Charges Pending In Burke Traffic Fatality

Speed on Burke Centre Parkway worries Bill and Lynn Howard, whose parents live on Cove Landing Road, the same neighborhood as Jose Leon-Mejito, who was killed in an accident on Sunday, Nov 9.

According to police, Leon-Mejito, 42, was pulling out of Cove Landing, making a left on Burke Centre Parkway when Joshua Cagney, 30, of Yates Ford Road in the Fairfax Station area, ran a red light and hit Leon-Mejito's car.

The posted speed limit at the accident scene is 40 mph.

"There's a stop light out there. People just fly. It's too fast. Nobody's doing 40 out there," said Bill Howard.

The Howards were coming to visit their parents on Sunday evening when they saw the emergency lights from the fatal accident. The road was blocked off.

"We were coming to visit them last night, and we couldn't get here," Lynn Howard said.

According to police, Cagney was driving a BMW westbound on Burke Centre Parkway at approximately 6:20 p.m., ran a red light and crashed into the side of the other vehicle. Cagney as well as Juana Serena, 40; Gonzalo Aguilar, 38; Alfonso Cabrera, 42; Leon-Mejito; and his wife, Juana Cabrera, were taken to Inova Fairfax. Leon-Mejito later died of his injuries. Police said speed was a factor, and charges are pending. Juana Serena was the driver of the Toyota RAV4 that was hit.

Another fatal accident a few weeks ago in the same stretch of Burke Centre Parkway alarmed residents, as well. Kristen O'Brien, a student at Robinson, is aware of the speed on that road. She lives in a neighborhood off the parkway and sees police with radar waiting for speeders on her street sometimes.

"I don't make that left turn," O'Brien said. "I go up to Oak Leather and turn around."

"I've seen cars drag racing. There's not many that go 40," said Wendy O'Brien, Kristen's mother.

John Young, who shops in Burke Centre, lives on Fairfax Station Road and has a spot in front of his house that sends some cars airborne. Young rides a motorcycle and is attentive of the speed limit.

"They hop the hill in front of my house," he said. "When I'm on my bike, I can see them coming in the air."

The Howards don't live in this area, but Bill Howard does see something on the Fairfax County roads that is a sign of the times, he thinks. The impromptu roadside memorials that are put up at the site of traffic fatalities is alarming to him.

"Every block you go to there is a memorial. Something needs to be done," he said.

According to Fairfax County Police public information officer Jacqi Smith, 35 speeding tickets have been issued on Burke Centre Parkway in the stretch from the Ox Road intersection to Burke Lake Road in the last three months. That encompasses the accident site. Smith noted that the number of speeding tickets might be greater because other tickets such as reckless driving would include speeding as part of the offense.