Fairfax Co. police chief injured in crash with alleged drunken driver

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler returned to work Tuesday after an alleged drunken driver struck his vehicle at full speed Monday night.

Roessler was stopped at a traffic light on southbound Lee Highway at Stone Road in Centreville, Virginia, when Nissan SUV rear-ended his unmarked police cruiser around 8:40 p.m. Roessler immediately reported to crash to dispatchers using the police radio in the cruiser.

Roessler sustained minor injuries in the crash: he experienced headaches, back pain and leg pain, and was transported to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital for evaluation and treatment. He was released Monday night.

A view of the damage the chief’s cruiser sustained in the crash. (Courtesy Fairfax County police)

“Thank God for seat belts and headrests being in the proper position, which we all need to take stock of. The seat belt saved me,” Roessler said Tuesday. The crash happened after Roessler left a police awards event, Police spokeswoman Julie Parker said.

Police arrested the driver of the SUV — Christie Edgar, a 40-year-old Centrevillle resident — at the scene. She was charged with driving while intoxicated and released around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Roessler said his experience serves as a reminder that “If you’re going to drink, you need to think.”

“It’s just horrible, there are tens of thousands of people injured and killed a year in this nation by drunk drivers and impaired drivers, and I’m a victim of that,” Roessler said.

If you see someone who is impaired, take away their keys and make sure they don’t get behind the wheel, Roessler urged.

“Don’t let these statistics climb. There are great people out there who are killed and injured. They are our family members; they are our neighbors. This is too much.”

A passenger in Edgar’s vehicle was released at the scene.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or who has information about this incident is asked to contact Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.

WTOP’s Kristi King and Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.

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Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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