No official cause yet, but, driver of one of first two vehicles to collide taken into custody on suspicion of DUI
DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. (August 2, 2011)—Maryland State Police are continuing their investigation into the cause of a six vehicle crash that killed two people and injured two others on the Capital Beltway in Prince Georges County this morning.
The first deceased victim is identified as Rodolfo U. V. Amaya, 31, of Oxon Hill. Amaya was driving a 1994 Honda Civic. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The second deceased victim is identified as Candace M. Hewitt, 41, of Davidsonville, Md. She was driving a 2006 BMW 330. Ms. Hewitt was pronounced dead at the scene.
The first injured driver is identified as Charline Starks, 50, of Waldorf, Md. She was driving a 1997 Toyota Camry. Ms. Starks was transported to Prince Georges Hospital for treatment.
The second injured driver is identified as Jose I. Buevara, 30, of Laurel, Md. He was driving a 2002 Toyota Rav4. Mr. Buevara was transported to Prince Georges Hospital for treatment.
Another driver involved was driving a 2006 Ford Freestyle SUV. He was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was released without charges and is not being identified at this time due to pending charges. He was not injured.
The sixth driver is identified as Linda S. Pike, 56, of Crofton, Md. Ms. Pike was driving a 2010 Honda Accord. Her vehicle was struck by debris from the vehicle crashes around her. She was not injured.
At about 6:30 a.m. today, Maryland State Police at the Forestville Barrack responded to a multiple vehicle crash on both the inner and outer loops of I-495, less than one-quarter mile south of Ritchie Marlboro Road. Upon contact with fire and rescue services, troopers learned two drivers were deceased and two were injured. Troopers called for the advanced accident reconstructionists from the Maryland State Police CRASH Team to respond to conduct the investigation.
The preliminary investigation indicates that the 2006 Ford Freestyle and the 1994 Honda Civic collided, while both were northbound on the outer loop. The Ford Freestyle went into a spin and came to rest in the ditch on the slow shoulder of the outer loop.
After colliding with the Ford Freestyle, the Honda Civic collided with the Toyota Camry, which was also northbound on the outer loop. Both the Honda and Toyota Camry then ran off the left shoulder of the roadway and crossed the median toward the inner loop. Both vehicles struck a guardrail in the median The Camry came to rest in the fast lane of the inner loop.
After striking the guardrail, the Honda Civic went airborne and landed on the roof of the BMW driven by Ms. Hewitt, who was traveling southbound on the inner loop. The Honda Civic rolled off the BMW and onto the roof of the Toyota Rav4, which was also traveling on the inner loop. The Honda Civic rolled off the Toyota Rav4 and came to rest in the middle of the inner loop. The Toyota Rav4 and the BMW both came to rest on the slow shoulder of the inner loop.
Due to the size of the crash scene and the severity of the injuries, troopers had to close the inner loop and portions of the outer loop of the Capital Beltway. State Highway Administration personnel responded immediately and set up detours around the scene. As the scene cleared, lanes were opened periodically on the inner loop and it was completely reopened shortly before noon.
State Police investigators continue to interview victims of the crash and witnesses who saw what occurred. Troopers have not definitively identified the specific cause of the initial collision that set in motion the subsequent chain of events. Nothing has been ruled out at this time. Alcohol involvement is a possibility and is being considered.
Investigators have consulted with the Prince Georges County States Attorneys Office throughout the day. Upon completion, the crash investigation will be forwarded to that office for review and consultation prior to any charges being filed.
The investigation is continuing.