Washington area traffic accidents claimed three lives yesterday and a fourth person drowned, authorities reported.

Fairfax County police said a 17-year-old youth, Edward Washington, of the 2600 block of Steeple Chase Dr., drowned about 3:30 p.m. when he apparently tired while swimming in Lake Thoreau in Reston. His body was recovered about 5 p.m.

One person was killed and three other injured about 12:30 p.m. in a head-on collision on Pohick Road south of Waterline Drive in Burke. A passenger in one car was killed. She was identified as Lorraine E. Cella, 28, of Arlington. The driver, Lawrence J. Peck, 26, of 7139 Game Lord Dr., Springfield, was in critical condition at Commonwealth Doctor's Hospital. Police said Peck's car apparently crossed the center line.

Kenneth Walsh, 33, the driver of the other car, and his wife, Margaret, were taken to Andrews Air Force Base hospital with multiple fractures.

Thomas A. Curtis, 38, 2203 Afton St., Hillcrest Heights, was killed about 2 p.m. when his car fell through a guard rail on the Baltimore Washington Parkway onto Rte. 295, U.S. Park Police reported.

Ulysses G. Berube, of 6105 Scotch Dr., Alexandria, died at Alexandria Hospital about 4:15 p.m. after his car struck a guard rail on Rte. 395 in Alexandria. Police said he slumped over the steering wheel just before the crash.