Three persons were seriously injured early yesterday when their car crashed into a roadside tree in Chevy Chase Circle, the site of 59 accidents already this year, according to Chevy Chase Village police.
The accident occurred in the same spot where four men were killed in July, 1976, police said. The cause of yesterday's accident is under investigation according to Maj. Roy Burke of the Chevy Chase police department.
Two of the passengers are listed in critical condition at Suburban Hospital, while the third is listed in stable condition, a hospital spokesman said yesterday.
Police said that the three were saved from a fiery death by a passing motorist who pulled them from the burning vehicle at about 1:45 a.m.
"It was like a scene from a movie," said Silver Spring realtor Pat Casey who police credit with rescuing the three. "I was driving along and all of a sudden there was this car in front of me smashed to smithereens and on fire and nobody was around."
There have been a number of safety improvements made recently at the circle, according to Washington and Maryland traffic officials, including the addition of white traffic lane lines, flashing arrows on the District side of the circle and warning signs on the Maryland side. About one third of the circle lies within District boundries.
Despite those additions, however, Washington officials still call the circle the most dangerous in the city.
There are no plans, however, to remove any of the trees that border the circle, according to Slade Caltrider, of the Maryland State Highway Administration. He said there is heavy resident opposition to any attempts to cut down the trees.
In July, 1976, four Metro garage mechanics were killed when a vehicle in which they were riding slammed into the same tree struck yesterday. Two weeks later a 16-year-old was critically injured in a car collision with the same tree. Among the 59 accidents already reported in the circle this year, three have involved fatalities, police said.
The driver of the car that crashed yesterday, Stephen Capwell, of 5435 30th Pl. NW, is in critical but stable condition at Surburban Hospital with multiple injuries, a hospital spokesman said.
The two passengers in the car were Tom Anderson, of Hindsdale. Ill., and Ann Ward, of 4601 Connecticut Ave. NW. All three are 23 years old. Ward is listed in stable condition, and Anderson is listed in critical condition.