Arlington police seek witnesses to man’s death

July 16, 2012

Video released by Arlington County police shows people on a sidewalk walking past a man who had just been fatally struck by a car.

In addition to the people walking past the man, who was lying on a narrow sidewalk on Columbia Pike, the video also shows several people boarding a bus, turning their heads to possibly glance at him.

Those depicted, county police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said, apparently didn’t “know if [the victim] was alive or dead.”

The video, taken by a Metrobus surveillance camera, shows part of the aftermath of an incident in which the man was struck July 1 while crossing Columbia Pike at Four Mile Run Drive. The incident occurred two days after the June 29 storm, which left the traffic signal dark at that intersection.

Sternbeck said one witness who passed the man contacted police and remained at the scene. But, the spokesman added, “numerous people” at the bus stop “failed to stay or contact police.”

Sternbeck said the video was obtained from Metro and released in an effort to find additional people who were in the area at the time of the incident and might be able to provide information about what happened.

He said the man was struck about 9:25 p.m. as he crossed Columbia Pike from south to north. He was hit by a car headed west, and the driver remained at the scene, Sternbeck said.

“We know what happened, essentially,” he said. However, he added, “little bits and pieces” that witnesses might provide would “go a long way toward closing” the matter. Although the traffic signal was not operating, Sternbeck said he thinks a streetlight was functioning.

No criminal sanctions are being sought against those who appeared to ignore the man, Sternbeck said, as they were under no legal obligation to help. He said police want the possible witnesses to come forward out of respect for the victim and to add to information about the incident.

The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sternbeck said he has been identified, but his name was not available Monday night.

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