Dangerous roads are an unfortunate reality of our modern transportation infrastructure. Some roads are poorly lit. Others become treacherous in heavy rain or snow. Still others are heavily-trafficked by deer and other wild animals. But some roads are simply dangerous as a matter of fact, whether due to the topography of the surrounding terrain, the quality of the construction, or some other hazard. A recent car accident on Fairfax County, Virginia’s Lee Chapel Road has outraged the surrounding community, who are all too familiar with this sort of tragedy.
On the night of January 10th, 2023, emergency dispatchers received a report of a car crash on Lee Chapel Road. Three teenage girls were driving home from an SAT prep course when, shortly after cresting one of the road’s many hills, the driver lost control of their vehicle. The car crashed into the surrounding woods and came to rest on its roof. Fire and rescue personnel at the scene located the vehicle, and pronounced two of the three occupants dead at the scene. The third was hospitalized with serious injuries. All three were just sixteen years old.
This was only the latest in a sordid history of serious and fatal crashes on Lee Chapel Road. In 2015 another teenage girl was killed in a similar crash in the area. Over one-hundred and twenty-five accidents have been reported along this road in just the last six years. Thirty accidents were reported in 2017 alone. Despite its rural surroundings, Lee Chapel is heavily trafficked as a route to vital intersections. This makes its current state of disrepair all the more alarming.
The understandable reaction of shock and horror at this senseless tragedy has given way to a vigorous wave of community activism. A Change dot org petition demanding repairs and road safety aids has gained considerable traction. At time of writing it sits at over thirteen thousand signatures. This public outcry has gotten the attention of the Fairfax County board of supervisors. The board unanimously approved a proposal to make the road safer at a recent meeting. Similar proposals were considered after the 2015 crash and again in 2017. Both fell by the wayside due to budgetary concerns. The current proposal calls for:
Though with the Virginia Department of Transportation evaluating the situation and considering other options, the situation is still very much in flux.
In the course of investigating the crash, police detectives used data from the vehicle’s airbag control module to determine that the girls’ car, a 2019 Lexus IS 350, was traveling at upwards of one-hundred miles an hour at roughly the time of the crash. It has also been determined that the vehicle travelled over one-hundred feet while airborne. Also, one of the passengers was not wearing a seatbelt. While this obviously does nothing to blunt the impact of this tragedy or lessen the need for improvements to Lee Chapel Road, it does provide a sobering reminder to all motorists. Cars are not toys. The speed and mass involved in a car accident can quickly turn a moment of imprudence or a lapse in judgment deadly. Malloy Law Offices would like to remind you to:
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, Malloy Law is here for you. Our legal team is an experienced and diverse group that prides itself on empathy for the injured. So we know the physical, emotional, and mental toll that a car crash can inflict on victims and their families. We see it every day, which is a big part of why we’re proud to employ DC, Maryland, and Virginia’s car crash specialists. It is our sincere hope that the survivor of the crash experiences a complete recovery and that the families of the departed can find peace in time. We’d also like to applaud the efforts of the two teenage authors of the online petition and urge Fairfax County to take any and all necessary steps to prevent future tragedy.