no charges | 

Driver who crashed into Irish Four Courts Bar injuring 15 will not face criminal charges

Arlington County Police Department believe the driver likely experienced a medical emergency prior to the crash

The scene of the incident last August

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A driver who crashed into an Irish bar in Arlington during the summer that left 15 people injured will not face criminal charges, it has emerged.

Nine people were hospitalised and six others were treated at the scene of the incident on August 12 when a car smashed into the Ireland’s Four Courts Bar and Restaurant and burst into flames.

But in an update posted online on Wednesday, Arlington County Police Department said that while the investigation remains active, they believe the driver likely experienced a medical emergency prior to the crash.

They added that all patients have been released from the hospital.

The decision to not pursue criminal charges came after consultation with the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney.

The driver was working for a ride-hailing service at the time of the crash and travelling with a passenger.

The restaurant remains closed.

The aftermath of the dramatic crash was captured on video that showed patrons fleeing the bar after the car ploughed into the building and went on fire.

Footage showed smoke pouring from the structure as a large group of people ran from away from the blaze. Firefighters then arrive and rush inside shortly before flames can be seen shooting out of the front of the building.

Two people can be seen carrying a woman away from the burning premises before placing her on the ground under a tree near the end of the block where a firefighter arrives to help.

Initially, police said four people had been taken to the hospital from the scene in critical condition. In all, 15 people were injured, including nine who were brought to local hospitals.

It had previously reported that the quick actions of customers and first responders to treat the injured and move them away from the growing inferno had likely saved lives.

Investigators believe an Uber driver was behind the wheel of the vehicle.

However, Arlington County Police Department said detectives did not believe the crash was an intentional act and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor.

“The Arlington County Police Department continues to investigate the cause of Friday’s crash,” the police department said at the time.

“Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives do not believe the crash was an intentional act and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor. The driver of the vehicle is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”

Dave Cahill, one of the restaurant’s managing partners, told FOX 5 that he is still trying to process what happened.

"The people that were injured yesterday are regular customers, and they've been with us to celebrate so many happy occasions. Our mind right now is with them and their families," Cahill said.

Police and firefighters arrived on the scene as employees and customers were still trying to flee the pub.

Photos and a TikTok video show police officers running into Four Courts as smoke billowed out. In frantic police radio transmissions, first arriving officers requested “a lot of ambulances” and reported “a lot of people” still inside the restaurant as fire spread.

“It’s an image I’ll never forget,” said Cahill.

Quick-thinking customers risked their own safety to save injured customers, the driver, and at least one passenger of the car, who was also hurt.

Photos taken as fire started to engulf the car and the pub show several people carrying one man — who can be seen in a photo taken seconds earlier slumped over in front of the car — to safety outside.

“Undoubtedly, the decisive actions of the arriving officers to run directly into the building and remove patrons saved lives,” said Police Chief Andy Penn. “During a developing emergency incident where seconds count, the men and women of the Arlington County Police Department exemplified their professionalism and unwavering commitment to providing the highest level of police services and I couldn’t be prouder of their response.”

He added: “The coordinated and collaborative response with the Arlington County Fire Department and our mutual aid partners demonstrates the operational readiness of first responders to act quickly during critical incidents to save lives.

"In tragic events such as these, we see the very best of our community. In addition to first responders, I commend the many witnesses and bystanders who sprang into action to assist those in need.”

The community rallied around the restaurant and started a GoFundMe page to help pay for repairs.

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