Teen killed in Gaithersburg when car careens onto sidewalk after crash with another vehicle


Teressa Rosalind French, 16, was killed in a crash in Montgomery County on Jan. 24. (Courtesy of Kalle Swinford)

A sophomore basketball player at Covenant Life School in Gaithersburg was killed Friday after a car that had been involved in a crash careened onto the sidewalk, then hit her and another young girl, police said.

Teressa Rosalind French, 16, was only about a block from her school on Muncaster Mill Road when a Chrysler Sebring and a Honda Accord collided, sending the Sebring onto the sidewalk, police said.

The car hit French and a 13-year-old, then crashed into a tree, police said.

French, of Washington, was killed, police said, and the 13-year-old, whom they identified as Emily Grace Lowe, of Gaithersburg, was critically injured. Three others — the drivers of both cars and one passenger — were taken to the hospital with injuries not thought to be life threatening, police said.

Police are still investigating the crash but said they believe both the Sebring and the Accord were headed north on Muncaster Mill Road. They collided in an area where two lanes merge to one, police said. Investigators also believe speed was a factor.

Police said French had just left Covenant Life School, where she and Lowe were students, when the crash occurred just before 2:30 p.m. Kalle Swinford, 16, a junior at the school, said French, her best friend, was a beloved member of the basketball team, so exuberant that she even smiled when she once scored a basket for the other team.

“She was always happy, always smiling,” Swinford said. “Biggest encourager on the team. . . . She would pick everybody up.”

Swinford said that a day before the crash, she and French had danced together to an Usher song in the school bathroom — a joyful moment Swinford said she now clings to.

“She was happy before she died,” Swinford said. “It feels so unreal, like a bad dream.”

Police said no one has been charged in connection with the crash, though investigators will consult with prosecutors when their investigation is complete.

All of those in the Accord and Sebring, police said, attend Magruder High School. They identified the Sebring’s driver as Hugo Fernando Da Silv Rompante, 17, of Gaithersburg, and its passengers as Johnny Allen Boykin Jr., 19, of Gaithersburg, and Keanu Ashton Lee, 17, of Gaithersburg.

The driver of the Accord, police said, was Oscar Javier Fuentes, 17, of Gaithersburg.

Family members of both drivers could not be reached Saturday.

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Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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