News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meet Your Neighbors: Pro-Avian Menace Avoids Conviction, $68 Fine heroes are born; others have greatness thrust upon them. Reston resident Jozsef Vamosi -- presumably pictured at left -- will become an instant legend, we predict, for "beating the rap" and "sticking it to the man" by dodging a jaywalking ticket after being charged by Fairfax County Police for blocking traffic to usher a gaggle of geese off the Fairfax County Parkway in June.

Fortunately, as we ease back into our regular workaday production of snark after a much-deserved hiatus, we have the Washington Post to do our dirty work for us. Here's their breathtaking account of what happened that fateful day:

"Make Way for Ducklings"?

Not if the Fairfax County police are around.

The popular children's book, about a family of ducks escorted across a busy street by a Boston police officer, apparently is not on the reading list in Fairfax. When Jozsef Vamosi, 60, tried to help a family of Canada geese cross the Fairfax County Parkway, he was given a ticket by a Fairfax officer -- for jaywalking.

The episode unfolded in Reston on June 18, a Thursday, about 9:30 a.m., Vamosi said. Vamosi was driving north on the parkway approaching the Dulles Toll Road when he spotted several smaller geese edging toward the pavement, a full gaggle behind them.

"They were walking like gentlemen," Vamosi said, upright and confident. "Like the Beatles on 'Abbey Road.' "

Vamosi said he pulled his car to the left lane, got out and stood in the right lane. "I showed them my hand," Vamosi said, "and said, 'Move, move, move!' " Vamosi said he grew up in the countryside of Hungary and felt he knew how to approach the animals without spooking them.

The three larger and eight smaller geese waddled to the parkway's wide median, mission halfway accomplished. Vamosi then stepped into the southbound lanes, held up his hands to signal approaching cars, and the cars stopped, he said. Again he urged the feathered pedestrians to make haste. They did, ducked under a guardrail and continued on their way, Vamosi said.

"Everything came out fantastic," Vamosi said. Then an officer sped to the scene.

"He jumped out the car, yelling at me," Vamosi said of the officer, identified in court records as Kevin J. Rusin. Vamosi said that he asked the officer if he was there to help and that Rusin responded by questioning Vamosi's sanity. The officer said Vamosi's priorities were misplaced on a busy highway, Vamosi said. Vamosi added that he had previously helped a Fairfax officer chase some geese off Interstate 395 and was not ticketed.

He said Rusin instructed him to sit in his car and eventually gave him the jaywalking summons. Vamosi said he told the officer that he would fight the ticket. "And if I had the chance, I'd do it again," he said. "That's the way I'm raised."
Wow! He clearly won over the reporter at the Post, who pointed out the following Fun Fact:
In Massachusetts, "Make Way for Ducklings" is the state's official children's book, and statues of the ducklings stand in Boston's Public Garden.
And in gleefully pointing out the denouement to this timeless tale of a man beating the system, the Post used the following headline: "Va. Geese Guardian Given Six Months to Fly Straight." Get it?
Jozsef Vamosi, 60, was not formally convicted or acquitted after a brief trial before Fairfax General District Court Judge Thomas E. Gallahue. The judge did order Vamosi to pay court costs, normally about $68. But when Vamosi went to the clerk's window, he was told he owed nothing. The costs might also be dismissed when Vamosi returns to court in January.
If not, $68 is a small price to pay for the number of column inches the Post usually reserves for presidential resignations and/or moon landings.


  1. Thank you soooooo much from all of the animals here in New Hampshire and across the world. The "world" would be a better place if more people stuck up and stuck by those "animals" who cannot help or speak for themselves. Thank you Thank you Thank you Jozsef Vamosi and Judge Thomas E. Gallahue for doing the right thing, you will have a special place in our hearts and in heaven. God Speed to the both of you.

  2. Hi Nancy:

    Can we send some of the deer herds rampaging through Reston up your way to New Hampshire? Bambi, Thumper, and their three million offspring here in northern Virginia might enjoy a change of scenery!

  3. Maybe the goose whisperer can get them to MIGRATE and GO HOME...and then, I agree with Anon 11:02, let him work on the deer next!

  4. That took guts. I would be afraid to get in the way of Restonian soccer moms on their way to Starbucks.

  5. I watched geese cause a multi-car wreck on Sunrise Valley. The lead car saw them and slowed, the rest of the pack didn't see or slow. Mr. Vamosi probably saved a few lives beyond those of the geese.

    I didn't have the cojones to step in front of 50 MPH traffic and wave my arms. Apparentl, neither did the FCPD officer who ticketed Mr. Vamosi instead of thanking him for his heroism.

  6. I've been getting held up by a few gaggles as of late. If you honk your horn at them, they actually start to hurry out of your way. Then they give you a feathery middle finger.

  7. Peasant From Less Sought After S. RestonAugust 5, 2009 at 8:13 PM

    There's a great video on YouTube showing a police officer in Washington state stopping traffic on an eight-lane highway to let a group of ducks cross safely. It occurred south of Tacoma. What's especially interesting is that the driver of an SUV behind the stopped police car helped the officer by moving his car next to the police car to help block another lane of traffic. Good thing the ducks weren't trying to cross the Dulles Toll Road at 8:00 a.m. Quack!

    The video can be found at:


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