The Arlington County snowplow driver who was filmed driving the wrong way down Military Road early Monday later ran a stop sign and collided with a vehicle that then ran into two parked cars, officials said Tuesday.
The 51-year-old male driver, whom police and county officials declined to identify, was cited by Arlington County police at 9:18 a.m. Monday for disregarding a stop sign at South Monroe Street at 18th Street South. The snowplow struck a vehicle in the intersection, which then hit a parked car, which was pushed into a second parked car.
No one was injured in the collision, said Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, but all the vehicles suffered property damage. He said there was no indication that the plow driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The collision occurred two hours after a local resident came over a hill on Military Road in the Donaldson Run area and found himself facing the same snowplow approaching him in his lane. The resident, Jason Berry, slid off the road, across the median and into the opposite lane. The snowplow didn’t stop.
Berry, a filmmaker, had a homemade camera mount on his dashboard, so he attached his iPhone, turned on the video and began following the plow. He filmed another car approaching the snowplow, but this time, the plow driver pulled to the side and stopped, and the car was able to pass, albeit in the unplowed lane.
Berry followed the snowplow to 31st Street, then went home and called the police to report the plow driver. He also called a friend in Arlington government, sent him his video, then uploaded the video to YouTube, where it went viral, with more than 80,000 viewings in the last day and a half. He also tried to call the county Department of Environmental Services, which oversees snow clearing efforts, but the county had closed for the day because of the snowstorm.
By the time the snowplow driver’s supervisors learned of the video, the collision had occurred. Dave Hundelt, the driver’s boss, said Tuesday that the driver was heading back to the county transportation yard for more salt when the second incident occurred. The driver was immediately pulled from duty.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the County Board on Tuesday that she regarded the alleged wrong-way driving as “dangerous” and “a near-miss situation.” She said that an investigation is underway and that proper disciplinary action will be taken.
“I think all of us saw that video and went ‘oh my God,’ ” said board Chairman Jay Fisette (D). “It’s inconceivable to me that there’s a justification for driving a snowplow down the wrong side of the road. We are just fortunate nothing terrible came of that particular driving incident. And he wasn’t going slow, either.”