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Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 03/22/2011

Fairfax County bus caused fatal Rt. 1 crash: Police

A Fairfax County Fastran bus started a chain reaction crash that killed a Fort Belvoir man on Route 1 Monday afternoon, when the bus failed to stop for traffic that had slowed for a red light, Fairfax police said Tuesday.

The victim in the five-vehicle pileup was identified as William S. Pitts, 48, of the 9500 block of Belvoir Road on the Army base just south of Route 1. Eight other people from four other vehicles were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and were released, police said.


A Fastran bus. (Courtesy Fairfax County - Courtesy Fairfax County)
Pitts was driving a 1995 Toyota Celica north on Route 1 shortly after 4 p.m. Monday. As he slowed down for traffic on the congested highway near the intersection with the Fairfax County Parkway, he was struck from behind by a 2008 Ford Fastran bus driven by a 32-year-old man, Fairfax police said. The bus driver allegedly did not see the traffic signal or the slowing vehicles, Officer Shelley Broderick said.

The crash caused a chain reaction. The Celica was forced into a 2004 Dodge pickup truck, which then hit a 2001 Dodge Caravan van, which then hit a 2004 Chrysler four-door sedan, police said.

The Fastran provides transportation for those in need of medical or mental health services, senior citizens and others with specialized needs. The bus is not as big as a standard passenger bus, and resembles the slightly smaller buses used to shuttle passengers to parking lots and rental car businesses at airports.

Broderick said the Fastran bus had passengers on it Monday afternoon, but she did not know how many or if any of those were taken to the hospital. Pitts was the only person in the Celica, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police do not believe alcohol was involved in the crash. Broderick said charges are anticipated against the bus driver, whose name was not released because he had not been charged Tuesday morning.

The crash was not far from another fatal wreck on Route 1 last week, a head-on collision that killed Paul J. Krause of Fairfax Station. In that crash, between the Fairfax County Parkway and Telegraph Road intersections, an allegedly drunk driver veered into Krause’s Ford Fusion, forcing Krause into oncoming traffic, where he was struck head-on by a Mercedes-Benz and killed.

The driver in that crash, Carlos Sanchez-Ramos, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, drunk driving and a host of other charges.

By  |  11:05 AM ET, 03/22/2011

Categories:  Tom Jackman, Traffic Accidents, Fairfax

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