Fairfax Co. police: Pedestrian struck, killed by cruiser was crossing against red light

Fairfax County police continue to investigate exactly what happened in Falls Church early Sunday morning when one of their officers, responding to a call, struck and killed a pedestrian with his car.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was pronounced dead at the hospital. During a news conference Sunday afternoon, Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr., described the pedestrian as a Hispanic man between the age of 20 and 40.

Roessler said dashcam video shows the pedestrian was in a crosswalk at the time of the accident, but he was crossing against the red light. Roessler told WTOP the police officer did not have his emergency vehicle lighting turned on.

The officer driving the car has not been identified either. Described as a four-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department, he has been placed on administrative duties until the conclusion of the investigation. Roessler said he was not aware of any “past negative behavior by the officer.”

Roessler said the county’s crash reconstruction team is evaluating the functionality of the walk/don’t walk sign, the condition of the streetlights and the speed of the police car at the time of the crash.

The crash happened just after midnight in the eastbound lanes of Route 50 near Graham Road, a location Roessler said is one of a number of intersections in the county currently being evaluated for safety enhancements. The area sees lots of pedestrian activity, thanks to the large volume of shopping centers and nearby apartments. The road is four to six lanes wide, and also buttressed by access roads on either side.

There have been 14 pedestrian fatalities in Fairfax County this year.

“This is a tragedy, and it’s very sad,” Roessler said.

The investigators ask that anyone with information about the victim or the circumstances of the crash contact the crash unit at 703-280-0543.

Roessler said the county’s investigators are canvassing local businesses and residents in an effort to find other video of the intersection.

In what he called the county’s “march toward transparency,” Roessler said the dashcam video and the reconstruction team’s analysis will be made public at the conclusion of the investigation.

“This is just horrible for the department and community, an individual has died and it’s traumatic,” Roessler said. “I pray for the victim, the officer and the victim’s family. … It’s dangerous to navigate the streets. … It’s horrible.”

The intersection was closed due to the crash investigation, but all affected lanes of Route 50 had reopened by 5 a.m.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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