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Attorney gives defense version of Fairfax hit-and-run case

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Gloria McMillan was driving her 12-year-old son and boyfriend in the Mount Vernon area last week when a sedan ran a stop sign and nearly hit her sport-utility vehicle, sparking a deadly encounter between the two drivers, McMillan’s attorney said Thursday.

McMillan, 32, swerved to avoid the car and almost crashed her Chevrolet Trailblazer, said Charles J. Swedish, the attorney. In the moments that followed, 21-year-old Shelinda Arrington got out of the car and began yelling and hitting McMillan through a half-open driver’s side window, Swedish said. He said McMillan jammed on the accelerator and struck Arrington as she was leaving the scene.

The account, given in an interview Thursday, is the first time the defense has provided its version of the events leading to Arrington’s death last Friday. McMillan has been charged with felony hit-and-run in connection with the incident in the 7100 block of Harrison Lane.

McMillan “was just trying to get away,” Swedish said.

Fairfax County police and prosecutors declined to comment on Swedish’s account, and they have not said what they think caused the altercation. Authorities have said McMillan got out of her car and confronted Arrington first, before Arrington made her way to the window of McMillan’s SUV. They said McMillan unintentionally ran over Arrington.

Swedish did not address whether McMillan left her vehicle.

Swedish spoke after McMillan was denied bail in a Fairfax County court Thursday. At the hearing, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan said that McMillan told detectives that she saw blood coming from Arrington’s nose after Arrington was struck but that she left the scene.

“She admits to driving by [Arrington’s] body after the accident,” Lingan said.

McMillan then dropped her son off “by the side of the road” and kept going, Lingan said. He said she took “significant action” to hide her involvement in the death in the days that followed, but he did not elaborate how.

McMillan’s Trailblazer was located on Half Street in Southwest Washington on Monday afternoon, and McMillan turned herself in that night, police have said.

In the interview, Swedish said McMillan left the scene because she thought that she was in danger. Swedish said McMillan did not drop her son off by the side of the road but left him and her boyfriend near her home, which was a short distance from the scene of the incident.

During the bond hearing, Swedish said McMillan suffers from kidney disease and is on dialysis. He said she is the sole caretaker of her son, who has severe physical and mental disabilities.

Lingan said McMillan should be denied bail because she had been convicted of felonies and had violated probation on a number of occasions. The judge agreed, saying McMillan “doesn’t do what she’s supposed to do.”

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for June 20.

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