In the early morning of April 1, a Clifton woman and a Fairfax man were traveling west on I-66 when a vehicle with no headlights on — and traveling the wrong way on the road — struck them head on.
The crash killed the woman, Rawand Manuel Hirezi, 23, who was the front-seat passenger. And now a Fairfax County grand jury has indicted the driver of the other vehicle, Christina Maria Peele, 29, of Front Royal, for involuntary manslaughter.
THE TRAGEDY occurred around 2:10 a.m., on westbound I-66, just 3/10 of a mile east of I-495. Police said Hirezi died at the scene. She was riding in a 2006 Honda Civic driven by Hootan Moeirzadeh, 27, of the Buckley's Reserve community, and both were wearing seatbelts.
At the same time, Peele was driving a dark green, 1994 Ford Explorer, with her brother William, 26, in the right-front passenger seat. But, say police, she was reportedly driving east on I-66 in the westbound lanes and smashed her vehicle directly into the Honda.
The Peele siblings and Moeirzadeh were all treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released. Hirezi was later buried in Fairfax Memorial Park.
Christina Peele wasn't charged at the time, but the Virginia State Police continued to investigate. And they determined that the fatal crash apparently wasn't Peele's only collision that morning.
"We have information that suggests that the dark green Ford Explorer may have collided with a red vehicle a couple miles before it struck the Honda," said Trooper Frederick A. Richens, who responded to the scene. Earlier, say police, Peele's SUV had spun out in the westbound lanes of I-66 and come to a stop in the center median strip.
According to police, "At least three vehicles, including a taxi, pulled over to offer assistance to Peele. However, moments after being approached, Peele pulled back into traffic and began traveling the wrong way in the westbound lanes. Within minutes, she struck the Honda Civic."
The State Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed one or both of these crashes to contact them. Call either their Fairfax Division Headquarters at 1-888-750-3487 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Believing that Peele may have had illegal drugs in her system at the time of the fatal crash, on April 14 Richens wrote an affidavit for a warrant to obtain "all medical records generated for Christina Peele by Inova Fairfax Hospital personnel pertaining to her emergency treatment on April 1."
AT THE HOSPITAL, wrote Richens, "Christina Peele appeared disoriented and was not aware of the circumstances surrounding the accident. [She] claimed she had no idea she had been driving eastbound in the westbound travel lanes."
He also noted that, she allegedly declined when he asked her to voluntarily provide a sample of her blood for testing to determine the presence of drugs. He further stated that she reportedly refused to sign a release so he could obtain her April 1 treatment records from the hospital.
In addition, Richens wrote that "Christina Peele has a long history of drug abuse, which includes the use of cocaine and PCP, [and she's] currently on probation in Virginia for possession of a controlled substance."
The trooper successfully obtained the search warrant he wanted. On April 17, he obtained some of Peele's medical records from the hospital, and on May 2, he received the rest. And this Monday, May 22, the grand jury indicted her on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.