Centreville Teen Dies in Crash

Centreville Teen Dies in Crash

By Brian McNeill

A 16-year-old Centreville High School student was killed early Friday morning in a single-car crash as he and a friend sped down Union Mill Road in what police say was a stolen Lincoln LS car.

The victim's friend, also a 16-year-old Centreville resident, had been driving the car at roughly 4:30 a.m. when they slid off the road and slammed into a tree near the 6300 block of Union Mill in Centreville.

As police arrived at the scene, they found the car's passenger Christopher Min Sun Park already dead. The driver, whose identity is being withheld because of his age, sustained serious injuries and was flown by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital. He remained hospitalized Monday afternoon.

Two days after the fatal crash, police investigators obtained arrest warrants for the injured driver. He will be charged with grand larceny of an automobile, reckless driving and underage possession of alcohol.

"He'll be charged upon his release from the hospital," said Fairfax County Police Spokesman Lt. Richard Perez.

Police investigators believe Park and his friend were traveling southbound at a high rate of speed on Union Mill near South Springs Lane when they veered into oncoming traffic lanes and spun off the road.

Perez said investigators believe the two teenagers stole the Lincoln automobile from an acquaintance earlier that evening in the Little Rocky Run area.

Anyone with additional information about the incident is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477 or Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.

PARK GREW UP in a townhouse in a neighborhood on Lavender Mist Lane Centreville. He was heading into his junior year at Centreville High.

Park's mother, Soon Duk Park, said her son had gone to a friend's birthday party on Thursday evening.

As she wiped tears from her red-rimmed eyes with a white handkerchief, Soon Duk Park recalled her only child.

"He likes computers and football," she said, as their Chihuahua, Hannah, rested at her feet.

The family immigrated to the United States from Korea in 1990 when Christopher Park was three months old.

Though her son may have been troubled, Soon Duk Park said he was respectful and well-behaved. "He is always a good boy to me," she said.

CHRISTOPHER PARK, who died fewer than three miles from his home, was the 43rd traffic fatality so far in 2006, according to police reports.

His death is the latest in a long list of teen driving deaths in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region over the past two years.

From 1995 to 2005, 269 drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 died in car crashes in Virginia. During the same period, 108 died in Maryland and four died in D.C., according to AAA statistics.

Last year, 64 people died in car crashes in Fairfax County. Of those deaths, 15 were under the age of 21. Young people comprised 23 percent of the county's traffic fatalities — well over the national average of 14 percent.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the summer months are the deadliest for teenage motorists.

"Each year like clockwork, teen driving crashes begin increasing at the end of the school year in May and then continue to climb each month throughout the summer," said John B. Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of public and government affairs. "The teen death toll is highest in July and August."

Young people often go unsupervised during the summer vacation months, increasing the likelihood of crashes, Townsend said. To reduce risk, parents should explain safe driving techniques and impose curfews on their teenage children.