They were coming from Andrews, S.C., where a funeral had been held for Thomas Willis’s brother Jacob, said Willie Willis, another brother.
Jacob died Oct. 31, and his funeral was held Nov. 5. He was the survivor of twins. They had been named for figures in the Old Testament. Jacob’s twin had been named Esau, Willie Willis said.
On Saturday, the three D.C. residents left Andrews at 7:30 a.m. to return to Washington.
Thomas Willis told his brother that he would phone him from the District when he got back.
According to the Virginia State Police, the crash occurred about 1 p.m. about 25 miles south of Richmond.
With Isiah Willis at the wheel, the family’s car ran off the left side of the highway, state police said. The driver overcorrected, police said, and ran off the right side of the highway, striking a tree.
No one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt, the police said.
Thomas Willis had lived in an apartment in Northeast. The other two lived in Southwest.
Lavera Robertson, who was reached Tuesday night the apartment she shared with Thomas Willis, said the pair had been a couple for 17 years.
“He was a nice man,’’ she said. “Very quiet.”
Once a construction worker, she said, he had enjoyed pitching horseshoes and watching televised football and baseball. They got along, she said, even though she was a Redskins fan and he rooted for the Dallas Cowboys.
She said she had heard from Willis about 7:30 a.m. Saturday. In his call from South Carolina, he told her to expect him about 4 p.m.
As the hours went by, she said, she kept waiting. Finally, she said, there was a knock at her door.
It was the police, she said, with news about the accident.