A 22-year-old Wheaton man was charged yesterday with two counts of murder in a bizarre incident that ended when he allegedly rammed his car into another, sending it crashing through a guard rail on I-95 near the beltway, and killing its two occupants, Maryland state police said.
John Orange, of 2725 Atlanta Dr., was held without bond, police said, after he was arrested at the scene "completely naked" and suffering from back and head injuries.
Police said the suspect's car crashed through the guard rail and plunged down an embankment along with the victims' car after the alleged ramming incident occurred.
Orange's car allegedly rammed the victims' car repeatedly as the two cars drove southbound on I-95 at high speed accident occurred, police said.
The episode began about 1 a.m. yesterday, police said, when two couples riding in two cars pulled into a service station to ask for directions on I-95.
Both couples, according to police, had some sort of confrontation with the suspect, who was also at the service area, before leaving the station and continuing southbound on I-95.
A few minutes later the two couples allegedly saw the suspects' car approaching their cars from the rear, according to police.
The suspect then allegedly rammed his car into the rear of one of the other cars, police said, prompting both couples to pull to the side of the road.
Both couples immediately got back into their cars and sped off when they allegedly saw the suspect pull his car to the side of the road and then emerge completely naked, police said.
The suspect then allegedly pursued the second car ramming it several times before forcing that car and his own off the road at a turnoff near the Capital Beltway, police said. The first couple allegedly rammed by the suspect was not injured, police said, but the victims in the second incident were dead on arrival at Prince George's General Hospital.
The victims were a 46-year-old Stratford, Conn., man and 18-year-old Birmingham, Ala., woman. Police would not release their names until relatives are notified.
The driver of the other car was identified by police as 22-year-old Sandra G. Simon of Bessemer, Ala., and her passenger was 40-year-old Paul W. Roller, of Pennington Gap, Va.
Orange was taken to the country hospital yesterday, where he was in satisfactory condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Police, who said they are continuing their investigation, believe alcohol was "a contributing factor" in the incident.
Mary A. Orange, the mother of the suspect, said her son is a plumber.
She said her son had left home several hours before the incident occurred to go to a night club.
According to a spokesman from Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office, the suspect in this case was charged with murder rather than manslaughter by auto, a charge that carries a lesser penalty, because the facts in this case allegedly "showed there was a forethought rather than just reckless disregard for the safety of others."