Drunk driver injures biker on trail

The Washington Post

An intoxicated Virginia woman drove at high speed for about 8 km down a popular northern Virginia recreational trail Saturday night, sending trail users scrambling for safety before the car struck and seriously injured a bicyclist, police said.

Mehak Chopra, 28, was arrested in Vienna, Virginia. She was charged with driving while intoxicated and with felony hit-and-run.

Police said a 65-year-old Vienna man who was riding a bike on the trail was struck from behind just west of the town’s limits and was thrown to the shoulder of the trail.

The Washington & Old Dominion Trail covers 70 km from Arlington to Purcellville, and close-in stretches can be packed with joggers and cyclists, particularly on weekends.

Police said they think Chopra drove her car onto the trail in the Reston area, heading east at 80 kph. The stretch of trail between Reston and Vienna is about 3 meters wide and paved with asphalt.

Officer Gary Lose, a spokesman for Vienna police, said he did not know of another instance of a driver traveling an extended distance on the trail, though occasionally some enter it by accident.