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Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 12/29/2011

Police identify drivers in fatal Rockville Pike accident

Last updated 12:50 p.m.:

The accident that closed a section of Rockville Pike in Bethesda for nearly eight hours Wednesday night occurred after a southbound Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck crossed the median of Rockville Pike and collided with the front end of a northbound Metrobus, killing the truck driver, Montgomery County police said Thursday.

What caused the truck driver, who was alone in the truck, to cross the road remains under investigation, police said. Police identified the truck driver as Nkonou Ayaovi Edorh, 49, of the 14200 block of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

The bus driver was one of two seriously injured in the accident that saw a total of eight people aboard the bus taken to hospitals. The bus driver is Lennitta L Bryant, 41, of the 3300 block of Weeping Willow Court in Silver Spring, police said. Metro said she is a 13-year veteran driver who was operating a bus headed to Lake Forest Mall. She remained hospitalized Friday.

 The accident occurred at 4:16 p.m., police said, on Rockville Pike near Alta Vista Road but closed a section until nearly midnight between Cedar Lane and Pooks Hill Road while crash detectives investigated.

 Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the accident to contact them. Callers may remain anonymous. The Collision Reconstruction Unit can be reached at 301-840-2435.

8:45 a.m. Update:

One person was killed and a Metrobus driver was seriously injured Wednesday in an accident on Rockville Pike in Bethesda that closed the thoroughfare for hours during the evening commute.

The accident about 4:30 p.m. left a Toyota Tacoma pickup and a loaded bus in the northbound lanes near Cedar Lane. The person killed in the incident, a man, had been driving the pickup, Montgomery County police said in a statement. He was not immediately identified.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the pickup, which had been in the southbound lanes, crossed the median and entered the northbound lanes and collided with the bus, said Capt. Paul Starks, a police spokesman.

Police were trying to determine why the truck crossed the median, Starks said.

After the collision, the Metrobus ran off the road and struck a tree before coming to a stop.

Rescue workers had to extricate the bus driver, said Capt. Oscar Garcia of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. The bus driver, a woman who is a 13-year veteran, was driving on the J9 route to Lake Forest Mall, said Dan Stessel, Metro’s chief spokesman. Her name was not released.

Several people were taken to hospitals from the scene, officials said.

Incorrect initial reports of five vehicles being involved in the accident had included vehicles that had stopped on the road to offer help after the accident, Garcia said.

Shortly after 11 p.m., southbound lanes of Rockville Pike reopened between Elsmere Avenue and Cedar Lane. Police reopened the northbound lanes of Rockville Pike shortly before midnight.

Staff writers Caitlin Gibson and Clarence Williams contributed to this report.

8 p.m. Update:

One person was killed and a Metrobus driver was seriously injured Wednesday in an accident on Rockville Pike in Bethesda that closed the thoroughfare for hours during the evening commute.

The accident at about 4:30 p.m. left a Toyota truck and the loaded bus in the northbound lanes near Cedar Lane, but how the collision occurred was not immediately known. The person killed in the incident was not a bus passenger, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Montgomery County police confirmed one death early Wednesday evening but had no other information pending an investigation.

Eight people were taken to hospitals from the scene, said Montgomery County fire and Rescue spokesman Capt. Oscar Garcia. The bus driver was one of two seriously injured victims, Garcia said. She is a 13-year veteran driver and was driving on the J9 route to Lake Forest Mall, Stessel said.

The bus came to a stop partially off the road and resting against trees and a utility pole, requiring rescue crews to extricate the driver, Garcia said.

Initial reports that five vehicles were involved were incorrect and included vehicles that had stopped on the road to offer help after the accident, said Garcia.

6 p.m. Update: Drivers should avoid the area if possible. Normally heavy commuter traffic flowing north on Rockville Pike, along with drivers leaving the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, means that traffic may be snarled on adjacent roadways for hours.

5:55 p.m. Update: One person has died in an accident on Rockville Pike in Bethesda that has closed the street in both directions in a several-block area near Cedar Lane and Pooks Hill Road.

The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m., according to spokesmen for Montgomery County fire and rescue, county police and Metro.

Eleven people were evaluated and eight were transported to area hospitals, two people with serious injuries, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, fire and rescue spokesman. A Medevac helicopter was summoned to transport the driver of the Metrobus, he said.

The bus involved is Metrobus 6206 operating on the J9 route to Lake Forest Mall, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

5:50 p.m. Update:Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel said that the bus operator is a woman who is a 13-year veteran driver.

5:46 p.m. Update: According to Garcia, 11 people were evaluated and eight were transported to area hospitals, two people with serious injuries. A Medevac helicopter was summoned to transport the driver of the Metrobus, he said.

The accident involved only the truck and the bus, Garcia said. Other vehicles on the scene belonged to drivers who had stopped to render assistance, he said.

5:35 p.m. Update: Rockville Pike will be closed for several hours while the investigation continues, according to authorities at the scene.

5:32 p.m. Update: Camera footage from the scene shows that the Metrobus has run off the road and is partially buried in brush. It has been struck on the driver’s side in the front, according to footage.

Stessel said that Metro Transit Police are on the scene.

5:30 p.m. Update: Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel said the fatality is neither a passenger or the driver of the bus.

5:25 p.m. Update: One person has died in the accident, according to Officer Janelle Smith, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman.

5:15 p.m. Update: Garcia said that two vehicles took the “brunt” of the crash: the Metrobus and a pickup truck. He said at least 10 people will be transported to the hospital, including three with life-threatening injuries.

5:05 p.m. Update: Rockville Pike is closed in both directions in a several-block area near Cedar Lane and Elsmere Avenue after an accident at about 4:30 p.m. that includes five vehicles and a Metrobus, according to spokesmen for Montgomery County fire and rescue, county police and Metro.

About a dozen passengers and drivers from five vehicles and the bus are known to be injured including some with life-threatening injuries, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, fire and rescue spokesman. Some of those are trapped in their vehicles, he said.

The bus involved is Metrobus 6206 operating on the J9 route to Lake Forest Mall, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel, who had no more immediate information.

4:55 p.m. Update: According to Capt. Oscar Garcia of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, Rockville Pike is closed in both direction for ”several blocks” in the area of Cedar Lane and Elsmere Avenue. The accident involved five vehicles and the bus, with about a dozen patients, he said. According to Garcia, some people are trapped in their vehicles.

There are no known dead, he said, but there are “some life-threatening” injuries, he said.

Check back for details.

Original post: Rockville Pike is closed in both directions at Cedar Lane due to a multi-vehicle accident, according to Maryland state traffic reports.

A Metro bus was involved in the accident, according to the transit authority’s chief spokesman Dan Stessel. Stessel said it was Metrobus No. 6206 operating on the J9 route to Lake Forest Mall. Metro officials were still gathering information on the incident.

— Michael D. Bolden

Check back for details.

By  |  12:56 PM ET, 12/29/2011

 
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