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Bicyclist Recovering from Serious Injuries After Hit and Run on W&OD Trail

Witnesses recall alleged drunk driver traveling at 50 miles per hour before exiting onto Maple Avenue and being stopped by Vienna police.

The bicyclist struck by an alleged drunk driver Saturday on the W&OD Trail in Vienna is recovering at a local hospital Sunday from several serious injuries.

The victim, a 65-year-old man from the Vienna area, was riding on the trail toward Vienna around 8:30 p.m. Saturday when a 2005 Toyota — allegedly driven by Mehak Chopra, 28, of McLean — struck him from behind.

The man was thrown from his bicycle and landed on the shoulder of the trail, Fairfax County Police Department spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. He has several serious injuries, but non are life-threatening.

  • Read: Car Hits Bicyclist on W&OD Trail in Vienna

The car had allegedly been traveling on the trail for a few miles before it hit the cyclist. Police now believe the car entered the trail somewhere near the Vienna/Reston area, Caldwell said. It traveled some five miles at a high rate of speed, hitting the cyclist and continuing onto Maple Avenue, where it turned left and attempted to continue driving toward Tysons.

Vienna police — who had received several calls from witnesses reporting they had jumped out of the car's path  — stopped the vehicle on Maple Avenue. The car was damaged, Caldwell said.

Chopra was arrested by Vienna police for driving while intoxicated and taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. There, Fairfax County police charged her with felony hit and run.

Several witnesses wrote to Patch about their experience, which left them rattled, worried about the cyclist and thankful they didn't become victims as well.

Veronica Spina was walking her dog near Church Street when she saw the car "coming very fast."

"At first I thought it was a police car. Then when I saw how fast it was coming and swurving [sic] down the path, I had to jump into the bushes (full of poison ivy) with my little cockapoo to avoid getting hit. It missed me by less than a foot. I feel very lucky to be alive today," she wrote.

Witnesses recalled seeing the car anywhere from Creek Crossing to Mill Street, some of them by themselves but others with several children in tow.

Jeffrey Mosher was on the trail with his two kids and their friend a bit west of Creeks Crossing and walking east toward Vienna.

"The car came up behind us ... doing about 40mph and we jumped into the bushes. The car slipped off the trail onto the gravel and almost went out of control. My daughter was still scared over a half hour later. A very scary sight indeed!" he wrote.

Veronique Klimonda said she and her boyfriend were at the Town Green when the car came down the bike trail and turned left onto Maple Avenue.

"We heard a loud noise and then saw a car barreling down the trail at a high speed. The driver, a young woman, hit an object at the intersection before suddenly turning left and almost causing a crash on Maple. We think she blew a tire just before turning."

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

Libby Mosher June 02, 2013 at 04:46 PM
I looked behind me and saw too giant lights shooting towards me. I told my dad and he said to jump, we jumped into the bushes just in time. My brother and his friend were ahead, but we couldn't see them so we screamed "Look out!" Later, we found my brother was on the trail just under were the car lost control and almost crashed. If they crashed they would have been right on top of my brother. We talked to everyone who passed us and they said it kept going, fast and with little control. We were certain the driver was drunk and were really hoping no one got hurt. So sad and scary.
Stella McEnearny June 02, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Drinking - in any amount - and driving are NEVER, EVER safe.
Keith A. June 02, 2013 at 06:24 PM
How freakin' drunk do you need to be to mistake the W&OD for a car lane?! "This road sure does seem windy.... and narrow... and poorly lit... and steep... but it has excellent access to benches and water fountains!" Idiot... I hope she gets the max.
Mabee June 02, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Where does Creek Crossing Road meet the W&OD? Do you mean Clarks Crossing Road?
Hin D. Dully June 02, 2013 at 07:06 PM
What a dumb B..... She is clearly out of her gourd. Running down a senior citizen Freaking Mehak Chopra, 28 of Mclean VA what were you thinking fool?
Laurie Dodd June 02, 2013 at 07:38 PM
So glad people called the police, who were able to apprehend this driver!
hgf2013 June 02, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Some of the smaller side trails have posts installed to limit ability to bring a vehicle and to slow down intersecting trails. May be time to install a pull-out post or two at some of the wider entrances to the W&OD; something to prevent larger vehicles from getting on trail but moveable for the Verizon/state vehicles/etc that have authorized access. Sadly cars get on the W&OD far too frequently, at least three times in the past two months just in the Vienna area (one reported by Patch, two witnessed by me).
Jeffrey Mosher June 03, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Yes, was supposed to be Clarks Crossing - my error.
wer6 June 03, 2013 at 03:43 AM
There is no doubt about it, she needs to spend time in jail and get her act together. This is inexcusable...
JAK June 03, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Too bad the large mowing tractor wasn't out there at the time in question. This represents yet another reason not to be on that trail late in the evening, and I've done it at least once before, but I started to get an awkward feeling that time of day. One thing I'm amazed at, especially if she was drunk, is how in the world did she traverse the hills and creeks that you have to cross in order to make it to Vienna!? It's amazing that no other vehicles were clobbered in the crosswalks too. Per the dog close encounter, If she had hit my dog while out walking I would've killed her myself. Btw, this isn't the first crazy experience with cars in weird areas I've known of. Last summer one neighbor drove a car up through my other neighbor's yard, between their tree and front door, and then sped across a field and crashed through a pipeline marker, bushes, and a fence post, before continuing on and driving off. Luckily I figured out who it was despite being a few hundred yards away and looking through the woods, and I busted them with evidence which I provided to my neighbors whose property was damaged.
Tom W June 03, 2013 at 12:36 PM
@JAK I don't think I'll be changing my behavior to avoid the possibility of drunk driving on the W&OD. If I decided not to do something every time I encountered reckless or careless drivers I would probably be staying inside all day.
Alyce Heather Kirk June 03, 2013 at 01:03 PM
I lost my father when I was 21-run over in the street by a drunk driver-I have no tolerance whatsoever for this woman and people like her.
John Smith June 03, 2013 at 02:29 PM
We need a bit of investigative journalism to answer a question that certainly will occur to at least some people: is Mehak Chopra related to Aneesh Chopra, Democratic candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor? Not that this would necessarily influence voters' thinking, but in the interest of being well informed we'd like to know the facts about this one way or the other. Thanks.
andrewi31 June 03, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Investigative journalism for what? Aneesh Chopra has two little girls, not some 28 year old. How about just leaving them alone?
11 June 03, 2013 at 04:25 PM
So, she passed the red cabose, got off the trail to cross Church Street, and then got back on the trail, passing the town green, and made a left on Maple Avenue? Wow
Erica R. Hendry June 03, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Another update posted: http://vienna.patch.com/articles/woman-accused-in-w-od-hit-and-run-held-without-bond
mdicicco June 04, 2013 at 01:39 AM
I agree - this has happened too often lately to not be addressed. A post could easily be removed by Town of VA, utilities, etc. when they need access for vehicles for repairs, etc.
John Smith June 04, 2013 at 12:33 PM
andrewu31, you're absolutely right; my question/comment truly was not appropriate. Hereby plead guilty to being an obnoxious, nosey gadfly. Sorry.

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