Courtesy Photo

One teenage driver is dead following a car crash in Burke, VA. The teen was driving a 2023 Kia Forte with her brother and two others when an adult male driving a 2014 Cadillac CTS4 collided with their car. The driver of the Forte, who was pronounced deceased at the scene, was 17 years old and had recently graduated from Robinson Secondary School. The other passengers were rushed from the scene and remained in critical condition at this report. The driver of the other car was taken to the hospital as well, but with non-life-threatening injuries. The Fairfax County police reported that “detectives believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash” and that “Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the crash and determine appropriate charges.” The names of the teenagers have not been released, but video of the Kia erupting in flames shows bystanders trying to pull the teenagers from the burning vehicle. 

The teen driver’s uncle, Henry Zarco, brought a stuffed teddy bear, flowers, and a balloon to the 5700 block of Burke Centre Parkway on Wednesday following the Tuesday night crash. Zarco recalled the girl as a person of faith who had been attending a prayer service on Tuesday night and was taking her passengers to the Burke shopping center to get something to eat before going home. “She always had a smile on her face, and that’s the image that I have in my head right now,” said Zarco of the girl. “She gave her all; she gave her life to God and served him. And it’s just, it’s the hardest thing ever, you know? I just don’t understand why,” he lamented. He stated that his nephew was still hospitalized and was “fighting for his life.”

The incident sparked criticism from the community, stating the intersection of the accident has always been dangerous and that officials should have done more to make it safer. Molly Petersen, who has an incoming senior at Robinson Secondary School, said, “They don’t do enough on this road to slow people down. There’s nothing on this stretch to slow people down.” The area apparently has a history of accidents. “You’re on a slight angle, so you can’t really see if somebody’s driving too fast,” said Petersen. “My heart goes out to the parents.” As of this writing, the driver who appears to be responsible for the crash has not been charged. A GoFundMe has been set up for the girl’s family. Her family commemorated her life, saying she “had recently graduated from Robinson Secondary School, where she had made a lasting impact on her peers. [She] had ambitious plans for her future and was excited to attend George Mason University’s School of Engineering in the fall semester. [She] was not only a gifted musician and aspiring engineer but also a beloved daughter, friend, sister, wonderful human being, and devoted follower of Jesus Christ.”

Donations to the family can be made here.

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