As Charles Albert Miller II, 46, of Reston picks up the pieces of his life after his latest DWI charge, Bobby Kapoor is literally picking up the pieces of his gas station, which Miller crashed into last March.
Last week at the Fairfax Country General District Court, Miller waived his right for a preliminary hearing on felony charge of driving while intoxicated and a misdemeanor charge of hit and run, sending the case to the grand jury.
During the early morning hours of March 20, Miller drove his Ford Expedition into Kapoor’s Lake Anne Chevron Service Station on North Shore Drive, first hitting a large flower pot, then knocking over a fuel pump and finally crashing through the large glass window of the three-bay service station, before coming to a stop, according to police. Both the building and the car were “totaled” due to a fire, which erupted after the crash, said the police report.
Miller, who now faces his fourth DWI charge in 10 years according to the police report, fled the scene, but was found about a quarter mile from the station, said police. He was charged with felony DWI and hit and run.
Firefighters called to the scene put the fire out in about 15 minutes, but not before an estimated $200,000 in damage to the station had been done, according to authorities.
AS KAPOOR waits for final approvals from his insurance agency, he’s been forced to delay any repairs on the station, which remains charred black and in ruins. He is hopeful the station will reopen in about four months.
But each passing day hurts business. “One day of closing puts us 30 days behind,” said Kapoor. “It’s horrible,” he said, remaining thankful that nobody got hurt during the accident.
The closing, Kapoor said, has been equally hard on the station’s employees. Vikram Mann, a technician at the station, said the last few months have been “really tough.”
After reeling from the effects of seeing his livelihood go up in flames, Kapoor said he is amazed that Miller even had a license to drive.
“Four DWI’s in 10 years, and now we’re suffering for it,” said Kapoor.
“You build this place up, and when it’s gone — I can’t explain it.”
THESE DAYS, Kapoor works out of a temporary trailer set up adjacent to his fenced-off station and watches uncomfortably as would-be customers drive by. On a regular basis, though, local patrons interrupt Kapoor and ask for an update.
Last Thursday, May 25, a Ford Explorer driven by Gerri Pritchett of Reston pulled into the driveway of the service station, which is blocked off by a series of large, orange cones.
She wanted to know when the station would reopen, but Kapoor couldn’t give her a definitive answer.
Pritchett loves her local fill-up station, where she said service is “great and friendly.”
“It’s so accessible,” said Pritchett, who lives on Lake Anne. “Now, I have to go out of my way to get gas.” Pritchett also has her cars regularly serviced at the station. “I miss it,” she said.
Kapoor has tried to keep regular customers happy by sending repairs to a sister service station, he said. “We did all this in four years,” said Kapoor, referring to his time building up the business. “I know I can make it again.”