Hyattsville pedestrian dies after car hits ice, crashes into him


A pedestrian was killed after a vehicle struck him and crashed into a business Monday morning in Hyattsville. (Patrick Svitek/The Washington Post)
January 13

A pedestrian was killed in Hyattsville Monday morning when a car went out of control and struck him before jumping a curb and crashing into a store, Prince George’s County police said.

They said the driver lost control after the vehicle hit a patch of ice. A police spokeswoman said no information was available about the source of the ice, but the water utility serving the county said it was aware of two pipe leaks in the area of the crash.

Police identified the pedestrian as Jose Martin Huaman of the 4900 block of 42nd Place in Hyattsville.

The fatal collision occurred about 7:30 a.m. in the 4800 block of Rhode Island Avenue, police said. Huaman was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Police said the vehicle was traveling north on Rhode Island when it struck the ice. The car then hit the median, crossed into the southbound lanes, struck Huaman and crashed into the store.

In a statement issued Monday night, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the water utility that serves Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, said it had confirmed pipe leaks on Jan. 7 and Jan. 9 in the block where the crash was reported.

The WSSC said the first of the two leaks was reported in a 12-inch pipe at 4824 Rhode Island Ave. and the second in an 8-inch pipe at 4801 Rhode Island Ave.

As part of routine maintenance, the WSSC said, the decision was made Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., about the time of the crash, to repair the smaller of the leaking pipes. A crew was sent out 10 minutes later, the utility said.

It was also decided to defer repairs of the larger main, the utility said.

In its statement, the WSSC said the extreme cold weather last week caused a large number of breaks and leaks in water mains. As of Monday morning, the WSSC said, nearly 60 needed repair.

Priority in making repairs depends on a variety of factors, including effects on customers and the effects on the roadway, the statement said.

When needed, the agency said it spreads salt or takes other actions to minimize the effect of breaks on roads in extreme cold.

Although temperatures in the Washington area reached the 50s Monday afternoon, they were near freezing in the morning.

Police did not release the name of the driver. They said they were continuing to investigate the fatal crash and that no charges had been filed.

Mark E. Brady, a spokesman for the county fire department, said the motorist was briefly trapped in her vehicle and suffered minor injuries.

The vehicle crashed through the plate glass window of the store, Brady said.

Police asked anyone with information about the crash to call their collision reconstruction section at (301) 731-4422.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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