Mental Health Crisis Snarls Traffic in Mount Vernon, ends Peacefully

Mental Health Crisis Snarls Traffic in Mount Vernon, ends Peacefully

Police respond on Tuesday at lunchtime, continued through Wednesday; and ended early Thursday morning.

Police respond to emergency in Hybla Valley.

Police respond to emergency in Hybla Valley.

Traffic on the roads in the Hybla Valley area of Mount Vernon was at a complete standstill on Tuesday, March 28 into Wednesday, March 29 when a woman having a mental health crisis barricaded herself inside a car with a gun, according to Fairfax County Police. The situation continued through the night into Wednesday, and came to an end just after midnight early Thursday morning. 

“UPDATE: The woman was safely taken into custody. Richmond Highway will be opened soon. Thank you for your patience,” said the police at 12:08 a.m.

According to an incident alert on the Fairfax County Police Department social media, police set up a barricade at 12:14 p.m. on Tuesday for a woman experiencing a mental health crisis, police said. She barricaded herself inside a car. Richmond Highway was closed in both directions while officers attempted to peacefully resolve the situation, the post stated.

Students in the area were facing significant delays as school busses worked around the traffic.

“There is ongoing police activity on Route 1 near Arlington Drive that is causing significant traffic issues in the Mount Vernon area. This is impacting dismissal at schools across the area. Buses are being released, but many are encountering significant delays and others are being turned away as they near their final destination,” said an alert on Fairfax County Public School’s website. 

The situation continued through Tuesday night into Wednesday, said Sgt. Jacob Pierce of the Fairfax County Police Department. “She’s still barricaded, they’re still negotiating,” he said Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon) posted an update early Wednesday. “Richmond Hwy remains closed between Lockheed Blvd and Boswell Ave and the situation remains unchanged. Fairfax County Police Department crisis negotiators and special operations division members

continue to work to peacefully resolve this barricade. This closure will impact rush hour traffic. Please avoid the area.”

There were several people responding on social media, including a few that were stuck in the traffic on Richmond Highway. “Thanks for the updates, Dan. We can hear the helicopters here in Wessynton,” one said. “Come on this should have been resolved already,” posted another. 

A Twitter response added “I am thankful FCPD is trying to safely resolve the situation. I think if any of our loved ones had a mental breakdown we would appreciate the same treatment. I am normally critical of FCPD and how the mentally ill are treated but today I see progress.”

From the newsfeed shot from a helicopter above the scene, there were about 10 police cars, the police incident response van and an ambulance on the scene.

At 3:02 p.m. on Wednesday, the FCPD tweeted: “Members of our Crisis Negotiations Team continue to talk to the woman barricaded inside the car. We appreciate your continued patience as we work to peacefully resolve the situation. Richmond Hwy between Lockheed Blvd and Boswell Ave remain closed.”