Two die, three hurt, in Northeast D.C. crash after police chase

January 29, 2012

Two men were killed and three people were injured, including two D.C. police officers, when the driver of a minivan being pursued by one police car in Northeast lost control and sent the vehicle tumbling onto another police car.

Cmdr. James Crane said the incident began shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday, when police responding to 911 calls reporting gunfire were flagged down by an unidentified man in the 700 block of Otis Place NW. The man told officers that people in a burgundy Plymouth minivan with Virginia tags had just shot at him. He was not injured.

No sooner had the lookout been broadcast over the radio than officers in a second car on Upshur Street NW saw a van matching the description run a stop sign, Crane said. The police officers gave chase.

When they reached the 400 block of Taylor Street NE, the minivan crested a hill and the driver lost control, police said. The vehicle tumbled and struck a tree. All three occupants were ejected as it rolled, Crane said.

Simultaneously, a third police car was approaching the scene from the opposite direction. As that car came up the hill, officers saw the minivan lose control, and the cruiser pulled over to the side of the street to wait, Crane said.

The careening minivan landed on the hood of the third police car before sliding off and coming to a halt. It has not been determined how fast the van was traveling when it lost control.

Crane said two men who were in the minivan died. The name of one is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, and police have not yet identified the second.

A 17-year-old youth who was in the vehicle was taken to a hospital with critical injuries, Crane said. Police are withholding his name because he is a juvenile.

The two officers also were taken to a hospital for injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

Police think the minivan was involved in the shooting, Crane said, but police do not know of anyone who was shot. They are asking anyone with information about the original incident to call 202-727-9099.

Carol Morello is the diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, covering the State Department.
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