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Good Samaritan dies helping friend in storm

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A man who went out in the wind and rain early Tuesday to help a friend was killed in a freakish accident that authorities said could not be attributed to the storm that pounded the Washington region.

Aaron Jerome Smith, 35, a Prince George’s County resident, was crushed while trying to change a tire in the Capitol Heights area, county police said.

Smith was under a vehicle, trying to free its spare tire, when the vehicle slipped from a jack, said Mark E. Brady, spokesman for the county fire and rescue service. Police said investigators “do not believe the death is storm-related.”

Smith left his home on Torque Street to help a friend with the tire, police said. They said that the vehicle was up on a jack and that Smith was unable to release the spare in the normal manner. It “would not come down,” police said.

The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. near Nova Avenue and Rail Street, police said.

Police said that Smith’s friend tried to rescue him but that Smith died at the scene.

Usually, Brady said, the spare tire can be lowered from within the vehicle. But in Tuesday’s incident, the spare apparently “was hung up,” and Smith “slid underneath to free it.”

Smith’s relatives could not be reached Tuesday night.

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