Dulles van linked to odd crashes
The driver of a speeding SuperShuttle van left a trail of damaged vehicles as he fled at least six hit-and-run crashes along Interstate 66 and the Dulles Access Road on Monday morning, according to police in several jurisdictions.
Virginia State Police, Arlington County police and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police are trying to determine what led to the series of crashes along the route from Arlington to Dulles International Airport at about 9:30 a.m. The driver was arrested outside the airport's main terminal after authorities found the damaged blue van parked near the SuperShuttle offices.
Police identified the van's driver as Muhammad Teshale, 25, of the 4800 block of Kenmore Ave. in Alexandria. He was charged with one count of hit-and-run in Fairfax County. Additional charges are pending.
Law enforcement officials close to the investigation said the driver told police after his arrest that he "did it to be famous." The man allegedly drove the shuttle between 90 and 95 mph at times during his drive, which has a speed limit of 55 mph and passes through areas under construction.
The incident appears have begun when three hit-and-run crashes along Interstate 66 in Arlington were reported to the state police at 9:24 a.m., all linked to a blue SuperShuttle vehicle.
Corinne Geller, a state police spokeswoman, said the shuttle was heading westbound when it twice sideswiped the passenger side of a Dodge Charger. The shuttle then rear-ended a Chrysler Pacifica, which sent the Pacifica off the right side of the highway and into a ditch. The shuttle then rear-ended a taxi, sending it off the right side of the highway and into the guardrail.
The driver of the Pacifica -- a 33-year-old Centreville woman -- and her one-year-old daughter were transported to Arlington Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. None of the drivers or passengers in the other two vehicles were injured.
Four minutes later, state police learned of a fourth crash in the westbound lanes of I-66 at the Dulles Connector Road at about 9:28 a.m., when the SuperShuttle van rear-ended a 2006 Mercedes C240. Police said the van continued driving and got on the Dulles Access Road. The driver of the Mercedes, a 47-year-old woman of Alexandria, was not injured in the crash.
Geller said the crashes did not seriously affect traffic because the vehicles were all off the side of the road.
The trail continued, police said, when reports of hit-and-run incidents along the Dulles Access Road came in to the airports authority shortly thereafter. Courtney Mickalonis, an airports authority spokeswoman, said two separate drivers called in to report their vehicles being struck as they headed westbound toward the airport.
Police said Teshale was found at the airport with the damaged shuttle vehicle, but authorities do not know for certain why the crashes occurred.
"He was going at a high rate of speed," Geller said. "But there is no indication of motive."
Authorities also said they are unsure if there were any passengers in the shuttle as it drove westbound; there were no passengers with the driver when the vehicle was located and there have not been any reports of people being on board with him.
Ken Testani, a spokesman for Arizona-based SuperShuttle, said local authorities have contacted the company but that the company does not have many details. SuperShuttle officials are looking into the incident.
| December 13, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories: Josh White, Traffic Accidents, Virginia
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