A deputy U.S. Marshal from Dumfries and a concrete business owner from Woodbridge died when the car they were in hit a tree on Backlick Road in Fairfax County at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Fairfax County police said Monday.
Daniel Paek, 40, of 2997 Burch Creek Court, and Ralph J. Yingling, 47, were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
According to police, the pair was speeding east on Backlick near the Fairfax County Parkway, when Paek lost control. He overcompensated in order to avoid moving into the westbound lanes. The 1992 BMW spun 180 degrees counter-clockwise and hit a tree on the passenger side after sliding across the opposite lanes, police said.
Fairfax County police spokeswoman Jacqi Smith said speed was a factor. Both men were wearing seat belts.
Paek was assigned to the U.S. Marshals’ office in Washington, D.C., Superior Court. He was engaged to be married, and had dropped his two teenage daughters off at his ex-wife’s house in Pennsylvania only a day before the accident. Paek’s fiance Lan Nguyen, 29, said Paek was a man who loved law enforcement and his daughters, Elizabeth, 14, and Natalie, 13.
He came to the United State from South Korea at 13, later becoming the youngest police officer in Alexandria city history at age 21, she said. From there he transferred to the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, and then to the department of Immigration and Naturalization Service, where he worked as a special agent.
Paek, who loved country music, once captured a man wanted for triple-homicide and robbery, Nguyen said. He won many awards for his skills as a shooter. He was a Tae Kwon Do instructor, and graduated summa cum laude from Park University in Parkville, Mo.
Yingling lived in Woodbridge for 45 years. He worked as a Shenandoah Pride Dairy delivery driver for 20 years. Yingling’s family could not be reached Monday afternoon.
Yingling and Paek met years before through a mutual friend, Nguyen said.