The victim in the June 3 carjacking/kidnapping at Benjamin Banneker Park has written to correct inaccuracies in our earlier story. Here is her account of the crime. At her request, we are continuing to withhold her name from publication.
“I was parked on the corner of Van Buren and 18th Street facing east on the Arlington side. (It took place in Arlington County.) I had not been in the west side of the woods but had made a quick loop by the east side playground and over the bridge up by the soccer field, turning around and walking the path straight back out (west) to Van Buren Street (in Falls Church City) and to my car by turning right onto 18th.
“An African-American man I had seen earlier wearing gray athletic pants and sweatshirt (perhaps cut off at the elbows) rushed at me from across Van Buren on the west side of the street — I think he had been hiding behind a tree. Luckily I was on my cell phone with [my husband] when the man charged at me and punched me fist-first in the face while holding my shirt. He was angry, really enraged and he punched me two more times in the face as I screamed and fought. He said ‘Get in the car,’ but had difficulty with the ignition switch. My cell phone was on the floor and my husband heard me scream. [My husband] jumped in his car and called the Falls Church Police, but by the time he arrived I was gone.
“The entire process from [my husband's] phone call until the run to La Cote d’Or Bistro took only five minutes total! 2:29 p.m. until 2:34 p.m. — that is all.
“It was an unreal experience to say the least. Blood was running down my face onto my shorts and I knew I had to get out but he was so strong — holding my wrist and I was screaming ‘Help me, help me!.’
“I saw no one . . . he then hit the gas and I was able to leap over the front seat into the back. He said ‘Don’t you jump out!’ and we flew from zero to 60 as he turned left up the first street off of 18th (Underwood I think) and ran the stop sign on Westmoreland (goes to the Metro and Sycamore Street if you turn right or to La Cote d’Or if you go left.) Instead he went all the way up the hill by the Metro electric towers and blessedly hit a T. He turned left and said, ‘Put up the [convertible] top.’
“This was my move because the top only goes up when the car is in park. He slowed when the circle hit Westmoreland and saw all the construction — I jumped out as the car slowed to about 15 miles per hour. I ran to the site and NO construction workers would help – so I ran back to the middle of the street where I saw a car with a man calling 911 (he was a retired Arlington County detective!).
“I ran into La Cote d’Or to see Lynn, Raymond and their daughter Vanessa (the owners) – we have known them for decades– and they called 911, [my husband's] cell and put ice bags on my face. It was a mess and I was scared to death!
“The police were amazing and the care I received was excellent.
“Our beautiful and safe neighborhood — the park I had gone to for over 25 years — so very sad. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I made it out and I don’t want anyone to go through such a frightful experience again.
“It is my hope that we can take back our park. Do not walk alone — you cannot believe how fast this guy charged me; it all happened instantly. I was shocked to find my daily walk turned into a nightmare because one man punched me repeatedly in the face and took my car and kidnapped me!
“I am healing well — swollen face, no broken jaw, neck injury, bruises all over my body from the struggle – and I thank God for the strength to get out. Those first few minutes are crucial to escape.
“Again, thank you for listening — and please feel free to contact me with any questions. Yes, we need a meeting — and we need to take back our park — safety in numbers. We are sad to say, it may not be the last time this happens.”
George Mason High School’s girls and boys soccer teams will both face Radford High in the finals of the Virginia State Soccer Tournament on Sunday. Mason’s opponents will be the local favorite, as the games are played on the fields of Radford University.
The girls begin at 10am, and the boys follow at noon.
Both Mason teams will have the challenge of shutting down Bobcat players who have over 100 goals in their careers, Senior Mary Wiley for the Lady Bobcats and her classmate Lukas Findley for the boys. In addition, the Mason boys team will have an opportunity to spoil the record aspirations of their opponents, who are attempting to become the first team to win three straight championships in Virginia High School League history.
Saturday’s Semifinal Games
In Saturday’s semifinal games, the Lady Mustangs defeated Wilson Memorial 3-0 this morning on goals by Violet Miller, Leah Roth, and Mayssa Chehata. The Mason defense stifled Wilson repeatedly, allowing no shots on goal in the first half.
The GMHS boys team defeated Stonewall Jackson 1-0 this afternoon. Andrew Arias scored the game’s only goal on a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
Mustang Senior midfielder Jon Brooks provided the following detail of the boys game by email:
“Stonewall controlled the majority of the first half but we dominated the second half after we scored off
a . The penalty was called when Nick Smirniotopoulos brought the ball into
the box and was blatently fouled. Andrew Arias took the PK and scored on the
bottom left corner while the goalie dove to the right. After that goal the
Mustangs possessed the ball on Stonewall’s defending third.”
Photos of both games, as well as Mason tennis action at Radford, are provided courtesy of Steven Stroup at http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.stroup/RadfordJubileeStateChampionships2009?authkey=Gv1sRgCInam4Plj7aVlQE&feat=email#
Twice a year the City accepts gunky junk so nasty you don’t ever want to see it in a landfill. Twice a year I forget to go.
Four quarts of used motor oil sitting in the basement at least seven years. Mercury-laden button batteries accumulating in a tin can. The worn-out battery to my daughter’s portable DVD player (also broken). All these are no-no’s for the garbage can, much less the recycling bin.
This year someone went door-to-door with flyers advertising the Saturday event, and it also got last-minute publicity in the Falls Church Times. Finally, we actually went. It’s a short window: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Miss it and you wait six months (or drive to the Fairfax County facility on Ox Road).
Greeting drivers-up at the Gordon Road parking lot was Kathy Allan, City recycling guru. Her eagle eye watched for City stickers on windshields and, absent a sticker, she asked where folks lived. Turns out the City is paying $55 per car visiting the hazmat event. With roughly 200 cars showing up on Saturday, that’s $11,000. Some 25 of those ($1,375 worth) were Fairfax County residents, but Allan let them in anyway. Fairfax County’s Ox Road facility accepts City hazardous waste year-round, she explained, so it’s only fair to take their junk twice a year. “We’re getting the much better deal,” she said.
OK, I don’t mind letting in a few County residents, but I was still reeling from the $55-per-car revelation. $55 to recycle four lousy quarts of oil and half a dozen button batteries? But it turns out to be cheaper to pay per car, Allan said, than per item.
The contractor, Clean Harbors, was doing a big business, particularly in old paint. The rules state only oil-base paint is accepted, but I saw a lot of water-base (latex) paint cans (which are not classified as hazardous waste). Again, Allan was playing Mrs. Nice Guy.
And, coming back to the price, as the saying goes, pay now or pay later. Seeing the white-clad workers sorting the fluorescent tubes, insecticides, oils, and mercury batteries was definitely good karma, as I realized all this gunk would never sully a landfill.
By Jane Johansen
With all smiles, four of this year’s recipients of the George Mason High School Athletic Booster Association scholarship awards enjoy their last high school sports banquet. The GMHS Boosters annually award six $1,000 scholarships to graduating, college-bound senior student-athletes (for three male and three female athletes). The recipients were announced at the GMHS Spring Sports Banquet on Monday, June 1 at Moore Cadillac Stadium.
From left to right are: Anthony Andrianarison, recipient of the Jack Gambill Scholarship, awarded to athletes who participated in sports for four years and demonstrated leadership qualities; Abby Stroup and Tim Koning, who each received Arnold Siegfried Memorial Scholarships, awarded to athletes who have attained a GPA of at least 3.25, displayed athletic ability, and demonstrated leadership; and David Ray, who received the Al Krueger Scholarship, awarded to athletes in an individual performance sport who have exhibited outstanding athletic achievement. Each award recipient also must be a graduating senior, be of good character, and display leadership, sportsmanship, spirit and enthusiasm. Not shown are Kimberly Kenny, recipient of the Jack Gambill Scholarship, and Michelle Repper, recipient of the Al Krueger Scholarship.