Detectives with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Major Crash Investigations Unit are investigating a traffic fatality that happened on the morning of Friday, April 19, in the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue NE. The driver of a stolen van traveled into an oncoming lane, hitting and killing 54-year-old cycling advocate David Salovesh.
Police had attempted to stop the driver earlier. At approximately 10:00 a.m., an automated license plate reader alerted police that there was a stolen white van in the area of Benning Road NE. MPD Fifth District officers saw the stolen van near the area of Benning Road and Florida Avene NE and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver refused to stop for the officers, instead fleeing.
A short time later, officers from the Fifth District learned the driver of the stolen van was involved in a traffic crash at the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue NE.
The preliminary investigation into the crash revealed that the driver of the stolen van was speeding while traveling westbound on Florida Avenue NE. When the driver got to the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue NE, he ran the red light and hit a blue Hyundai that was traveling South on 12th Street NE. The driver of the stolen van then continued driving westbound on Florida Avenue NE, crossing over the double yellow lines. It was then that he struck Salvesh, who was following the flow of traffic as he cycled eastbound on Florida Avenue NE.
The driver of the stolen vehicle then struck a tree. MPD officers arrived on the scene shortly after the traffic crash and placed the driver of the stolen van under arrest. He was transported to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of the blue Hyundai did not sustain any injuries.
Salovesh showed no signs consistent with life and was pronounced dead on the scene.
According to his Greater Greater Washington Profile, David Salovesh worked with technology processes and systems for non-profit organizations. A year-round bicycle commuter, Salovesh was a activist for cycling and road safety. He lived in Capitol Hill with his wife and daughter.
On Twitter, Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) called Salovesh a friend and said he was heartbroken.
Devastating afternoon. Today’s victim at 12th & Florida NE – Dave Salovesh / @darsal – was a friend to me & a friend to #bikeDC. A leader, an advocate, & someone that always pushed us to be better & do more. I am more than heartbroken today & his family is in my prayers tonight.
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) April 19, 2019
— Ongoing Matter (@20002ist) April 20, 2019
The driver of the stolen van, 25-year-old Robert Earl Little Jr., was arrested Friday on the scene and charged with Second Degree Murder and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.