The Town of Herndon has so far seen an unsusually disproportionate rash of violent crimes in 2013, but the town’s police chief says her department is handling it well despite a recent shortage in personnel, and a few busy weeks does not constitute a crime wave.
On Jan. 8, police attempted to stop an SUV for speeding and wound up in hot pursuit after the driver took off through Herndon at a high speed passing Herndon High School before running a red light at the intersection of Dranesville Road and Wiehle Avenue where it struck a vehicle in the intersection and then rolled several times before coming to rest. The SUV’s driver and passenger were both hospitalized.
“Because that was a pursuit that resulted in the fleeing person wrecking, we are obviously looking at that very hard and very thoroughly to make sure there were no internal policies violated,” said Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard.
Three days later, Santos D. Ramos, a 42-year-old Herndon man, was arrested for brandishing a machete on the 1100 block of Dublin Place, and Jan. 29, a 31-year-old woman reported to police she was attacked about 7 p.m. while walking along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
Police said the woman was on the trail near the overpass for Herndon Parkway — a stone’s throw from the Town of Herndon Police department — when she noticed a man following her. She continued walking to Sunset Hills Road into Reston, where the woman said she was then dragged off of the path into a wooded area by the man. Police said she struggled with her attacker, and he eventually fled north onto a gravel horse trail. The woman did not require medical attention, they reported.
“That occurred in the county, but we do know that she was followed there from the town of Herndon,” said DeBoard. “We are concerned about that attack because no one is yet in custody.”
The next day, a 22-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint inside a Herndon hotel in the 1000 block of Elden Street. Police said the woman, who was a guest at the hotel, met a man who produced a handgun and then demanded her money. The suspect was later apprehended by Herndon police and was identified as 27-year-old Kenan M. Ozcan of Arlington. Ozcan is currently being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detection Center.
At 3:30 a.m. Feb. 3, another woman was walking in the 1200 block of Alabama Drive when she was approached by two men. Police said one man pointed his hand at her as if he was holding a gun and demanded her purse, trying to pull it off her shoulder. Police said the woman instead kept hold of her purse and ran. Two Herndon officers were on foot patrol in the 1100 block of Elden Street, heard her yell and ran in the direction of the screams. The officers interceded and took one of the men into custody. He was identified as Ever Noel Maricia, 24, of Herndon. He is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detection Center without bond.
The second subject got away. He is described as a black male in his 20s, 5 feet 10 inches, weighing about 155 pounds. He was last seen wearing a brown shirt and a black cap.
“It has definitely been a busy last several weeks,” said DeBoard. “There has been a lot of activity, but that doesn’t constitute a crime wave. Fortunately, we have made arrests on almost everything we’ve had.”
DeBoard said the department recently lost a number of officers, and she is in the process of bringing the police department’s ranks back up to where they need to be.
“Our staffing became very tight last fall when we had several retirements and other events that left us understaffed,” she said. “But staffing is in the process of getting back up to a good level right now, and my hope is that in the spring we will have a two-person bike team dedicated to patrolling the W&OD Trail, and bike patrols in other parts of the town, as well.”