A suspect in a hit-and-run accident that critically injured a George Washington University law student in the District early yesterday was arrested minutes later in Arlington County, and authorities said they found what appeared to be the victim's keys on the shattered, bloodied windshield of the suspect's car.
Ricardo Antonio Aspillaga, 31, of Arlington, was charged in Virginia with driving while intoxicated and was ordered held on $15,000 bond, police said. In the District, a police detective said the case was under investigation.
D.C. police said the accident occurred about 3:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of G Street NW, near several downtown nightclubs and restaurants. Police identified the victim, a pedestrian, as Seth Wadley, 24. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he was in guarded, critical condition in the intensive care unit last night, police said.
The victim's father, Alfred J. Wadley, said his son and two friends from his undergraduate days at Tufts University were walking toward their car and crossing the street when the a car ran a red light and struck him.
"He was thrown up against the windshield. After proceeding for a certain number of yards, the car slowed down and my son rolled off," Alfred Wadley said, repeating what he had been told by one of his son's friends.
Police said the suspect drove across a Potomac River bridge and entered Arlington after fleeing the scene of the accident. An off-duty county officer who had just finished her evening shift spotted him driving erratically on westbound Route 50 in a black Nissan Sentra with a broken windshield, police said.
The officer, identified as Cecilia Ashe, followed the Nissan and called for backup. When the suspect pulled into a parking lot in the 2900 block of Arlington Boulevard about 3:45 a.m., Ashe approached him before he could get out of the car, determined that he was intoxicated and placed him under arrest, Arlington police said.
Police linked the suspect to the hit-and-run incident after examining "fibers and other evidence visible on the windshield," including a set of keys believed to belong to Wadley, said Cpl. Justin McNaull, an Arlington police spokesman.
Alfred Wadley said that authorities woke him and his wife at 4 a.m. and that they immediately drove down from their home in Harrisburg, Pa. He said his son is one semester away from graduating from law school. Asked about his feelings as he awaited word on his son's condition, Alfred Wadley said simply: "I'm bitter."