3 pedestrians struck in separate incidents; 2 dead

By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 7, 2010

Three pedestrians were killed or critically injured by vehicles in three separate incidents within an hour of one another across the D.C. region Saturday morning, police said. In two of the cases, police said, the drivers did not stop.

The three incidents, which appear to be unrelated, highlight an issue that has in recent years been a concern for area officials: pedestrian safety. In 2008, D.C. officials devised a multi-million-dollar strategy to encourage pedestrian safety. Other jurisdictions have taken similar steps and launched education campaigns encouraging pedestrians and drivers to be careful.

The first incident occurred just before 5:40 a.m. in the 7500 block of Greenbelt Road in Greenbelt, police said. A car traveling east struck an adult male, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver stopped and was interviewed by accident investigators, police said.

Police identified the victim as Donald L. Graff, 65. Neighbors described him as an eccentric man who was known to frequent a nearby shopping center. Graff's family could not be located Saturday.

About 30 minutes later, another pedestrian was struck and critically injured in Fairfax County, police said. A 22-year-old Falls Church man was attempting to cross Arlington Boulevard between Patrick Henry Drive and East Manchester Street about 6:10 a.m. when he was struck by a vehicle headed east, police said.

The man, who authorities believe was in a crosswalk when he was struck, was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The driver kept going, and police are looking for a vehicle believed to have front-end damage, including a broken headlight or a cracked windshield, authorities said. Police did not identify the victim.

The third incident occurred in the District. Just before 6:20 a.m., authorities said, D.C. police were called to 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW for a woman reported lying in the roadway. She had apparently been struck by a vehicle, and she was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died shortly after, police said.

A surveillance camera showed the vehicle that hit the woman was a white tractor trailer with a conventional cab attached to a flatbed containing a scissor lift and a rectangular crate. It was traveling north on 14th Street NW when it struck the pedestrian, police said. Investigators believe the driver might be unaware that he struck someone, police said.

Police have yet to identify the woman, who was not carrying identification. Officer Hugh Carew, a D.C. police spokesman, said it is possible she was a jogger or walker.

Officers are looking for anyone who might know her or have seen the crash.

Police described the woman as an Asian or white female with dark hair, in her mid-30s to early 40s. She was wearing a multi-colored top, black Spandex pants, Asics running shoes and several yellow metal bracelets, and she was carrying a Sony Walkman CD player, authorities said.

Anyone with information about the crash in D.C. is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. Anyone with information about the crash in Fairfax County is asked to call 703-691-2131.

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