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Police say driver in fatal crash that injured Charlie Davies had alcohol

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 18, 2009; D02

Blog excerpt from voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene

The driver of a car involved in a fatal crash that critically injured Charlie Davies, a forward on the U.S. national soccer team, told police that she had consumed alcohol before the October accident, according to court papers made public Thursday.

Davies, 23, suffered two fractures in his right leg and badly injured his bladder in a one-car accident on the George Washington Parkway about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 13. Another passenger, Ashley J. Roberta, 22, of Phoenix, Md., died in the crash.

The driver, who has not been identified by police, suffered minor injuries.

A U.S. Park Police detective wrote in the court papers that the driver told police that she drank alcohol before the crash and officers smelled alcohol on her breath. The driver, Davies and Roberta were last seen about an hour before the accident at a D.C. establishment that serves alcohol, the detective added.

Davies, who starred at Boston College and is under contract with the French club Sochaux, was in Washington with the U.S. team for a World Cup qualifier at RFK Stadium. After undergoing multiple operations, he began rehabilitation last month with U.S. team trainers in Delaware and told ESPN that he is hopeful of playing in the 2010 World Cup.

The court documents were filed in the District's federal court seeking permission from a judge to allow investigators to analyze an airbag sensor and GPS unit that were in the car, a 2004 Infiniti FX35.

Park police had hoped that the devices would contain data, including the Infiniti's speed and route, that might explain what happened, according to the detective, Scott Powers.

In court papers also made public Thursday, Powers wrote that investigators were not able to recover data from the airbag sensor and that the GPS unit was being analyzed.

Police said the Infiniti, registered to the driver's mother, struck a guard rail in the southbound lanes of George Washington Parkway near Boundary Channel. The car was cut in half in the crash, police said. Roberta was found near the car, police said, and Davies was pulled from the wreckage.

In the court papers, detectives said the driver told officers that she was making an adjustment to her GPS unit when Roberta yelled, "Watch out!"

The driver swerved to the right and struck the guard rail, police said.

Police found no evidence of braking before the crash and a 113-foot tire rut in a grassy area leading to the guard rail, Powers wrote. The detective added that investigators believe the car was going faster than the 40 mph speed limit.

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