A teenage driver is accused of driving under the influence after a crash in Falls Church early Monday left six other teenagers with life-threatening injuries, police in Fairfax County, Virginia, said.
The car crashed about 5 a.m. in the 2600 block of Pioneer Lane, in a residential neighborhood not far from Interstate 66 and the Capital Beltway, Fairfax County police said.
The driver likely lost control coming up a hill and hit a tree. The vehicle spun around several times before landing in a front yard. Only one vehicle was involved, police said.
One neighbor told News4 that he heard the crash, ran outside and saw young people who had been thrown from the vehicle lying in different spots on the street.
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Five teens were thrown out of the car, and another had to be rescued from the wreckage, police said. Many of the young people in the car, all between 14 and 17, were not wearing seat belts, police said.
First responders rushed to save the teens’ lives.
“Multiple passengers have been ejected,” someone is heard saying on dispatch audio.
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Officers worked to find people flung from the vehicle in the dark.
Fairfax County police launched a helicopter to scan the area to make sure they didn't miss anyone.
The six young people who were seriously injured were rushed to Inova Fairfax Hospital, police said.
Video shows a badly damaged car stopped on a grassy area and debris scattered across the two-lane road.
People who live in the area were stunned by what they saw.
“Looked like the car was spinning after that – or it could’ve been airborne for all I know,” Rocky Fabrizio said.
Lt. James Curry said the driver was wearing a seat belt and exited the car on his own. He was arrested on a DUI charge. The driver was not immediately charged and was released to his parents. Charges could be filed later.
“Sadly, without seat belts being worn for the occupants, that’s what likely led to some significant, serious injuries,” Curry said. “It’s a sad reminder that we need to wear seat belts.”
Alcohol and speed were "absolutely" factors in the crash, Curry said.
“In the holiday season, we always focus on, you know, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving where we know individuals are out consuming alcohol and the assumption is that it’s adults that are out drinking and it’s easy to forget juveniles do partake in alcohol,” Curry said.
He suggests talking to your loved ones to help make sure they stay safe.
A crash reconstruction team was dispatched to piece together every aspect of the crash and used drones at one point to get a better view of what happened. Police asked people to avoid the area.
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This is a developing story. Stay with News4 for more updates.