FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Virginia State Police is investigating a fatal crash involving a man they said was driving under the influence of alcohol in Fairfax County.
According to Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for VSP, the crash occurred Saturday at 9:27 p.m. on Interstate 495 near Exit 174/Eisenhower Avenue Connector.
Geller said a disabled Honda CRV due to a flat tire was stopped on the westbound shoulder when it was hit by a Buick Verano. The force of the crash caused the Honda CRV to catch fire. Geller said the driver of the CRV had set up flares behind the vehicle and hazards were flashing when the car was struck.
The driver of the Honda has been identified as Katherine A. Reyes, 20. Geller said she was seated inside her vehicle when it was hit by the driver of the Buick. Reyes died at the scene.
Reyes, who was born in Virginia, had relocated with her mom to Alabama, but according to her aunt she moved back to the area in August after "missing her family too much."
"I was on my way to give her help and as we arrived there at the scene her car was in flames," Reyes' brother Walter Reyes said. "I remember telling her help is on the way."
The driver of the Buick -- Devon L. Lesesne, 31, of Washington, D.C. -- suffered minor injuries in the crash, Geller said. State police arrested Lesene for DUI manslaughter, refusal to take a breath test, and for driving on the shoulder.
Lesesne was recently elected chairperson for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8D. He replaced Alyse Newhouse in January, and was congratulated in a Feb. 23 Facebook post by the D.C.Young Democrats, for whom he serves as vice president.
"You killed a 20-year-old, my niece, a cousin, a sister, a friend, a daughter and everybody's best friend," Reyes' aunt, Cris Iraheta, said. "The fact is you made the wrong decision, and my niece did not deserve to die the way she died."
Lesesne also served as a liaison for the Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services.
"I'm devastated," Commissioner Olivia Henderson said.
Henderson, who serves with Lesesne in Ward 8D, described him as a standup guy, but said she's disappointed in the allegations, and sends her prayers to the victim's family.
"I'm very shocked for him to even put himself in a situation like that because, you know, it just doesn't seem like the character of Devon Lesesne," Henderson said.
Reyes' family also questioned if VSP could have done something more. A trooper responded when her vehicle had a flat tire and left soon after setting up the flares.
"The trooper tried to assist the driver with her flat tire, but her spare was also flat," VSP wrote in an email to WUSA9. "The driver assured the trooper that she had family responding to the scene to assist and they would be there momentarily. The trooper made sure the Honda was as far away from the travel lane (on the shoulder) as possible, set out the flares to increase visibility for passing traffic, and made certain the hazards were flashing."
Lesesne was being held at the Fairfax Adult Detention Center, and initially on Tuesday morning he was granted a $2,500 bond. However, the Office of Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney's Office appealed the General District Court's decision to grant bond to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court on Thursday revoked bond for Lesesne.
Lesesne is due back in court on April 19.
WUSA9 reached out to Mayor Muriel Bowser's office, D.C. Young Democrats and the office of ANC for comment but have not heard back yet.
The Reyes family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses. To learn more, click on this link. Loved ones also set up a memorial near the crash site and an Instagram account called justiceforkatherinreyes_.