Carlos Joel Alonso charged with negligent homicide in Arlington crash

A 24-year-old Maryland resident has been charged with negligent homicide in connection with a crash that occurred two months ago in Arlington.

Early in the morning of Oct. 11, according to the U.S. Park Police, Carlos Joel Alonso was heading outbound on Arlington Memorial Bridge in heavy rain when his car overturned and crashed at Memorial Circle.

According to the criminal complaint, Alonso failed to make the necessary rightward turn into the circle and as a result the red Mercedes Benz sedan he was driving hit the curb twice, vaulting into the air and landing upside down on the grass inside the circle. The passenger in the car, 36-year-old Katharine Jane Brannon Rahim, was killed.

Alonso left the scene of the crash, police said, and was found several hours later at Columbia Island Marina. According to court documents, his clothes were wet, there was blood on his face and hands, and he smelled of alcohol.

He told the police that he thought he had been in a car accident with his girlfriend, Katharine, after leaving a club in Dupont Circle. But he said that he did not remember what had happened or who was driving. Five hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was .069, according to police.

Park Police said they determined by reviewing surveillance footage that Alonso was driving 55 to 61 miles an hour when he crashed, about twice the posted speed limit on the bridge. The circumstances indicate that Alonso was wearing a seatbelt but Rahim was not, police said in the complaint.

At the time of the crash, Arlington police had said Rahim was the car’s sole occupant, and that it was unclear how the deadly accident had occurred.

Alonso turned himself in Tuesday, Park Police said, after their investigation resulted in a warrant for his arrest. He has been released in advance of a preliminary hearing, scheduled for Dec. 13.

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Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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