The two newspaper boys were a few blocks apart, working their morning delivery routes in Chevy Chase, when they heard the sound of a car hitting a tree near Connecticut Avenue and Newlands Street, a few blocks north of Chevy Chase Circle.

When Cpl. William Gray of the Chevy Chase Village Police Department arrived on the scene of the accident, he found that the 35-year-old woman who had driven the car lay dying on the front seat with several gunshot wounds in her abdomen.

Shortly thereafter, the two boys, who both worked paper routes for The Washington Post near the scene, came by and told police they had seen a stranger in the area. One of the two said he had seen the man running from the scene of the crash towards Western Avenue.

The other said he had seen him a little to the north, on Brookville Road, and had talked to him for a few minutes.

Based on the two 14-year-olds' descriptions of the man, Montgomery County and D.C. police started to search the area. At 6:25, 40 minutes after the accident, they found a man fitting the description walking along Western Avenue.

The man, John Swain, 21, was immediately arrested by D.C. police and charged as a fugitive from justice.

"It was kind of scary -- they took us out to look at him and we identified him but they didn't tell us till later what he'd done. They just said it was a serious crime," said one of the two youths.

That youth, whose name is being withheld for his protection, said that slightly before the crash he had heard "five or six loud sounds like a car backfiring."

The driver of the car, Delores Logan of Oxon Hill, was taken to Suburban Hospital by the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. She was dead on arrival.

Later in the day, Montgomery County police issued a warrant charging Swain, who lived at the same apartment complex as Logan at 1500 Southview Dr., with murder.

While the teen-agers were being questioned by Montgomery County police, Swain, who worked as an attendant at Burton's Chevron Station on Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, was awaiting arraignment at D.C. Superior Court downtown.

The victim, Logan, had worked as a clerk at the Safeway store across the street from Burton's Chevron, according to another Safeway employe. The pair were apparently on the way to work when the shooting occurred.

Residents near the Chevy Chase Club, which is across the street from the site of the crash, were jolted awake by the sound of a car hitting the tree and heard or saw someone running from the scene.

One 15-year-old who lives in the area said she heard loud voices and the sound of feet running along Connecticutt Avenue.

Another woman who lives at Newlands Street not far from the crash site said, "I was sound asleep, I heard the thump of the car when it crashed. sThen I heard a female voice making some kind of complaint."

The two newspaper carriers were forced to leave their routes unfinished as they were taken in for questioning by police. Later, when their area circulation manager called police to find out what had happened, he was told the boys were being questioned.

"They told me that one of the boys was so much in control of himself he'd make a star witness," said Robert Scheele.

Logan apparently was shot before the crash, according to Cpl. Phillip Caswell, a police spokesman. "From everything at the scene" Caswell said, "it would appear she ran off the road and hit the tree after she was shot."