Van driver charged in Virginia crash that injured seven

The van driver who allegedly drove at about 100 miles per hour in an attempt to dodge police before crashing and hurting all seven people in the vehicle was charged Thursday with stealing the van, driving under the influence, and eluding police.

Virginia State Police said in a statement Thursday that Sonia E. Lopez, 22, stole the Toyota Sienna from a home in Herndon, then drove down I-95 with six passengers ranging in age from 15 to 23.

Police at Fort Belvoir said they saw the van moving erratically on the base at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday. They tried to stop the vehicle, but Lopez fled, authorities said. They said she raced south on I-95, then tried to take the exit for Dale Boulevard in Woodbridge at high speed. The car hit a guard rail and turned over. Four passengers were thrown out of the vehicle.

All seven people who had been in the van were flown to nearby hospitals, including one 15-year-old girl suffering from life-threatening injuries. The girl remained hospitalized Thursday, as did Lopez.

Corinne Geller, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman, wrote that additional charges are pending in the crash, which caused Exit 156B to close for nearly five hours.

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
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