9 die in area road accidents

At least nine people died in accidents on area roadways Friday and Saturday, including four people whose cars caught fire during wrecks and a 3-month old who was inside an SUV that ran off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Prince George’s County and slammed into a tree.

“A horrific crash scene” is how a rescue spokesman described the BW Parkway wreck.

Several people inside the SUV were ejected, others remained trapped in the wreckage and three people were dead as of Saturday morning, according to the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.

The accidents, which took the life of a pedestrian, began shortly after 4 a.m. Friday in Southeast Washington. The driver of a 2004 Mercedes-Benz lost control of the car in the 1300 block of Southern Avenue, officials said. It struck a utility pole and caught on fire.

Rescue workers found two people trapped inside with no signs of life, District police said. The decedents’ names were being withheld as authorities were still trying to confirm their identities, police said.

Early Friday afternoon, just south of Lexington Park in St. Mary’s County, Devin Sweeting was operating his 2006 Yamaha R1 motorcycle on Route 5 when the bike left the road, struck a cement culvert and turned onto its right side, according to Maryland State Police. The motorcycle skidded along the culvert for about 170 feet while Sweeting was still in the seat, state police said. The bike then hit a utility pole.

A state police rescue helicopter flew Sweeting to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m. State police cited “driver error along with possible speed” as factors in the crash.

About six hours later, just after midnight in Prince George’s County, a female pedestrian was killed after being struck by a Chevrolet Impala in the area of Route 210 and Kerby Hill Road, according to Prince George’s Police. The Impala driver remained on the scene, police said.

At the same time as that fatality – about 25 miles due north in Montgomery County — rescue workers were called to the scene of a burning car along Holly Grove Road in the Cloverly area of Silver Spring. They found a 2002 Subaru engulfed in flames with two occupants still inside, according to Montgomery police.

Crash investigators believe the silver Subaru, while traveling north on Holly Grove, left the right side of the road, began to rotate counter-clockwise, slammed into a tree on the passenger side and caught fire.

“Investigators have spoken with family members of the registered owner of the vehicle but have limited information on the identity of the passenger,” police said in a statement Saturday.

Two hours after the Subaru wreck, a SUV was headed southbound on the BW Parkway when if left the road and slammed into a large tree. Two occupants – an adult and teen-age girl – were pronounced dead on the scene, according to Prince George’s rescue workers.

Five others, including four children, were taken to area hospitals in critical condition, officials said. The three-month-old was pronounced dead at a hospital, officials said.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.

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