3 dead in apparent drunk-driving crash in Pr. George’s

Three people were killed early Sunday in a car crash in Prince George’s County that police suspect was caused by a drunk driver.

The collision occurred about 3:15 a.m. on Indian Head Highway in Oxon Hill when a suspected drunk driver in a Yukon sport-utility vehicle struck a Mazda from behind, causing the Mazda to leave the road and slam into a tree, said Cpl. Mike Rodriguez, a county police spokesman.

Rodriguez said a preliminary investigation found that the 2002 Yukon, which was headed north on Indian Head, was traveling faster than the 2006 Mazda and “failed to reduce its speed” before ramming the car from behind just before Wilson Bridge Drive.

The Mazda’s driver, Eugene Johnson, 53, of the 7900 block of Priya Court in Manassas, was killed, as were two passengers in the car, Gwendolyn Demby, 52, of the 9200 block of Matthew Drive in Manassas and an adult female whose name was withheld by police pending notification of her next of kin, Rodriguez said.

A third passenger in the Mazda, an unidentified adult male, was hospitalized. The extent of his injuries was not clear.

The Yukon driver, an adult male, “remained on the scene as his vehicle became disabled as a result from the crash,” police said in a statement. Neither the driver nor his passenger was injured, but both “were found to be under the influence of alcohol,” according to a news release.

Police initially said the driver was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, but Rodriguez said later that “charges against the driver are pending,” explaining why police have not yet publicly identified him. The Yukon passenger was released.

“It appears that alcohol and speed were the contributing factors in the collision,” the release said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Paul Duggan covers the Metro system and transportation issues for The Washington Post.

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