A patrol officer from the Sully District Police Station is lucky to be alive. According to Fairfax County police, after stopping a vehicle for speeding, he was nearly struck when a driver coming the opposite direction – at more than 100 miles an hour – lost control of his car, slamming into both the stopped vehicle and the officer’s cruiser.
The incident happened last Monday, May 1, around 11:38 a.m. The officer had just pulled over a 2012 BMW 750 Series on southbound Fairfax County Parkway prior to Braddock Road. Since it was safer for him to speak with the driver while not standing in a traffic lane, the officer walked around to the passenger side to do so.
That decision may well have saved his life. Indeed, said county Police Chief Kevin Davis, during a press conference the next day, “It’s just miraculous that we’re not talking under different circumstances. This horrible crash, by all accounts, should have resulted in much worse outcomes than it did – so thank God for that.”
Deputy Police Chief Bob Blakley then showed a video of the violent crash that was captured on the Dashcam inside the officer’s cruiser. He said the car that came from the northbound lanes was a 2018 BMW M3 driven by a 17-year-old with two teenage passengers. The video shows it coming sideways at a high rate of speed, forcing the officer to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.
“Our crash-reconstruction detectives have analyzed the data from the ‘black box’ in that vehicle, and it was traveling well over 120 miles per hour when it lost control,” said Blakley. “These teens nearly ended this police officer’s life – as well as [that of] the driver of the vehicle parked on the side of the road.”
He said the officer had been doing traffic enforcement there because “that stretch of the parkway between Popes Head and Braddock roads has had an increased number of crashes,” lately.
Davis then advised parents to think twice before giving their teenagers high-performance vehicles to drive. “The car involved in that collision was a whole lot of car for an inexperienced driver,” he explained. “There was a slight bend in the roadway, and there was no recovery because the car was going way too fast to be able to negotiate it. It was a rocket – and then it became a missile.”
Prior to impact, the officer – who police didn’t identify – had stopped a speeder driving 73 mph in a 50-mph zone. While he and that driver were talking, said Blakley, the other car crossed the median and crashed into both of their vehicles “at an extraordinary speed. At one point, the [offending] vehicle was nearly wrapped around the officer – it was a matter of inches.”
At the time of the press conference, Blakely said there was “no indication” that alcohol was a contributing factor to the collision. But, he added, “I don’t think any vehicle could handle that curve at that speed.” At 120 mph, he said, “The vehicle could no longer maintain adhesion to the road.
“It’s just outright reckless driving, and that’s where the inexperience piece comes in – drivers making huge mistakes, taking risks, not fully aware of the consequences. [The impact] crushed the guardrail, 3 to 5 feet, so the amount of force involved in that collision undoubtedly shook the officer. But he very professionally checked on people, controlled the scene and called for backup.”
Blakley then thanked the other drivers on the parkway who pulled over to offer help, as well as the people who called, the next day, to make sure the officer was all right. “I can’t thank them enough for their concern,” he said. “I also thank the men and women of our Police Department who are out there trying to make our roads safer.”
All three teens were wearing seatbelts, so they just sustained minor injuries. The driver of the stopped vehicle and the officer also suffered minor injuries. However, they were transported to the hospital for treatment and then released. The teenage driver was charged with reckless driving.
This year, said Blakley, “We’ve seen a 62-percent increase over 2022 in the number of citations issued to teen drivers for speeding. And there’s been a 181-percent increase in the citations for failure to pay full time and attention – which is often associated with a crash. In Fairfax County, year to date, we’ve had 8 fatal-crash victims in 7 crashes – three of them caused by teen drivers.”
“What a close call this was,” added Davis. “And it highlights the necessity for folks to take a minute and talk to their teen drivers to make sure they’re not driving so fast that they can’t control their vehicles. Right now, the officer is just glad to be alive. Hopefully, he’s relaxing at home with a lottery ticket in his pocket.”