For one Fairfax County police officer, his wits and training kept him alive. He escaped what could have been a life-threatening injury or death when a teenager lost control of a car, spun around, crossed over a grassy median, and struck not only the vehicle he had stopped, but his cruiser, and him.
It happened at 11:38 a.m. Monday on the Fairfax County Parkway before Braddock Road, where the speed limit is 50 mph.
See the crash in the video police released below.
According to the police, the 13-year officer had approached the stopped car on its passenger side for his own safety, and that proved to be “very consequential,” said Fairfax County Deputy Chief Bob Blakley during a news conference. The dashcam video from the officer’s car shows him looking up as the black 2018 BMW M3 crosses the median from the northbound lanes into the southbound lanes where the officer was standing.
The teen driver of the high-performance BMW M3 crashes into the stopped car. The officer is seen between the stopped car and his cruiser as the BMW also strikes him and the cruiser. He quickly manages to climb over the guardrail and calls on his radio for help before heading to check on the driver who was struck.
“I’m sure a lot of it is intuition to move. And he moved. He moved in the right place and at the right time for that split second moment,” said Chief Kevin Davis about the officer. Davis said the video will be used in future training at the police academy.
The officer and the stopped driver sustained minor injuries, as did the teen driver and the two passengers in the BMW M3.
“Our crash reconstruction detectives have begun the process of analyzing the data that’s available in the black box, if you will, on that vehicle, and it was traveling well over 120 miles per hour when it lost control. The vehicle lost control because cars can’t go that fast on the highway,” Blakley said.
“What you see in the video is really an unprompted loss of control of a vehicle. And that’s the critical speed of that vehicle where it just can no longer maintain adhesion to the road,” Blakley said.
Describing what happened, Blakley said, “It’s just outright reckless driving.”
The 17-year-old behind the wheel has been charged with reckless driving.
The department is encouraging parents to show the video to young drivers to encourage safe driving habits.
“Be really careful about the types of cars you may purchase or help purchase for your teenagers to drive. The car involved in that collision yesterday was a whole lot of car, a whole lot of car for an inexperienced driver,” Davis said.
This year, compared to 2022, the police department has a 62 percent increase in citations to teen drivers for speeding; a 98 percent increase in citations for violating signs or signals; and a 181 percent increase in citations for failure to pay full attention, Blakley said.
“In Fairfax County today, year to date, we have eight fatal crash victims over seven crashes. Three of those fatal crash victims were caused because of the driving behaviors of a teen driver this year. These are statistics we need to pay attention to,” he said.
Feature image courtesy Fairfax County Police Department/YouTube
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