Woman in Collision With Officer Dies

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 15, 2008

A Fairfax County teacher's assistant whose car was struck by a Fairfax police officer's cruiser has died, police said yesterday.

Ashley McIntosh, 33, worked as an assistant in a kindergarten class at Clermont Elementary School in the Alexandria area of Fairfax. Police said she was driving her 2003 Toyota Corolla on Boswell Avenue in the Hybla Valley area about 5 p.m. Tuesday, during the region's ice storm, and made a left turn into the northbound lanes of Route 1.

A Fairfax police cruiser driven by a 22-year-old officer was also heading north on Route 1 with its emergency lights on, Officer Don Gotthardt said. The officer was responding to a call involving a shoplifter and a fight, Gotthardt said.

The officer's car hit McIntosh's Corolla in front of the front passenger door, Gotthardt said. McIntosh was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she died shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The officer was also taken to the hospital, treated and released. Gotthardt said the officer, who has been on the force for a year, was placed on injury leave. Her name was not released.

Officers were investigating whether the icy conditions played a role in the crash. They were also trying to determine the speed of the officer's car and whether she had her siren on, Gotthardt said.

Fairfax Police Chief David M. Rohrer issued a statement, expressing "our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to Ms. McIntosh's family and friends on behalf of the Fairfax County Police Department and myself." Rohrer said the department would conduct "a comprehensive, balanced and fair investigation of the crash" and share its findings with the commonwealth's attorney.

The crash was the first police-involved fatality in Fairfax since January 2006, when a collision on Columbia Pike killed gas station owner Jatinder Baboota.

McIntosh had begun working at Clermont Elementary this school year. "She loved the children, and the children loved her," principal Janet Molan said.

McIntosh lived with her father in the house she grew up in, on Oakbrooke Avenue in the Fort Hunt section of Fairfax. She was engaged to be married this spring, childhood friend Tiffany Shackelford said.

"She had found a niche," Shackelford said, in that she had found both a job and a man she loved. "Ashley had an amazing heart. When she was young, she jumped off decks, stomped through creeks and tripped on many tree limbs, but she always smiled and trooped on."

Longtime neighbor Sharon Barnes said she saw McIntosh last week. "She was so happy," Barnes said. "She was quiet, but friendly and so generous. She's the type of young person you'd be proud to have as a daughter."

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