Police Search for Hit and Run Driver

Police Search for Hit and Run Driver

Fairfax woman, 76, dies in the crash.

Police are looking for a driver who fled the scene after their vehicle hit and killed a Fairfax woman Wednesday, April 5 around 1:15 p.m. that day, said reports from the Fairfax County Police Department. The body of a 76-year-old woman was found lying in the westbound lanes of Lee Highway just in front of the intersection with Mainstone Drive. A passerby reported the body to the police, said Officer Rich Henry, Fairfax County Police spokesperson.

The victim was Anastasia Spiliotopoulos, of the 3200 block of Cambridge Court in Fairfax. Spiliotopoulos, who worked at Soulie's Interiors in Merrifield, was wearing a brown sweater, a flowered tank top, black skirt and glasses. She had injuries consistent with a car crash, said the reports.

On Thursday, April 6, about 24 hours after Spiliotopoulos was killed, Fairfax County police officers stood at the intersection of Lee Highway and Mainstone Drive, slowing cars and handing out information-wanted fliers describing the incident.

"We're just trying to get the word out," said Henry.

According to Henry, the suspect car left nothing at the scene that would help police identify it, but they are examining a security tape from a business across the street.

"This is a highly traveled road," said Henry. "You would think that somebody saw something that would help us."

The fliers also listed a car to look for: a gold-colored Toyota Camry-style compact car was spotted a short distance west of the crash on Lee Highway just after the incident, the flier stated. Police are looking for the driver of this vehicle, who may have some information.

According to Henry, police believe that Spiliotopoulos was lying in the street when she was hit. People who knew her said she may have been feeling dizzy in the days preceding the accident, said Henry. However, he said, it was the crash that killed Spiliotopoulos.

Police reports stated that the suspect vehicle should have damage to the front grill or undercarriage. It would not likely be a lot of damage, said Henry.

LESS THAN A WEEK before the April 5 incident, Henry said, officers were handing out fliers to passersby on Gallows Road after a March 25 hit-and-run accident that caused the death of Dorothy Phillips of Alexandria. According to police reports, Phillips was attempting to cross Gallows Road at Thor Drive in Annandale when she was struck. The only thing police found at the scene of this incident was glass from a side mirror, said Henry.

According to Chris Wells, pedestrian program manager of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, most pedestrian accidents occur in areas that have high-speed roadways and high densities of people living and working. By these standards, he said, Lee Highway and Mainstone Drive is not typical.

"There are sight distance issues, and people do speed, but that stretch of Lee Highway is not that different from everywhere else," said Wells. According to a report released by the Pedestrian Task Force in January, the heaviest concentration of pedestrian crashes occur along Route 1 in Alexandria and in the Baileys Crossroads area of Falls Church.

Diana Smith-Jackson, who lives in Barkley/Armistead Park on Mainstone Drive, said she often sees dangerous driving behavior of cars on Lee Highway in her neighborhood watch duties.

"People just fly down here like they're on the Beltway," she said. The intersection at Mainstone and Lee Highway has a traffic light, but a red light does not stop all drivers, said Smith-Jackson. When school buses drop students off on Lee Highway, she said, people will drive around the buses without heeding the required stop behind any school bus that is letting children off.

Usually, said Smith-Jackson, the accidents that occur in that area of Lee Highway are fender-benders. She remembers a girl getting hit by a car some time ago, but this is the first fatality she can remember at that intersection.

Anyone who may have seen the incident or knows of a vehicle matching the car's description is asked to call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131 or Fairfax County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).