The wee hours after St. Patrick's Day brought an unusually high number of traffic accidents to the Washington metropolitan area, police said yesterday, but they blamed rain and slippery streets rather than the spirits imbibed by holiday revelers.
Two persons were killed in separate accidents early yesterday, though police said neither was directly attributable to the weather or the celebrations.
An Occoquan man died early yesterday when the car he was driving crossed the center line on Telegraph Road near Alexandria and crashed head-on into another vehicle, Fairfax County police said.
Jeffrey A. Levesque, 33, of 301 Poplar Ave., was pronounced dead at the scene in the 7800 block of Telegraph Road. The driver of the second car, Robert L. Moore, 24, of 4926 Celtic Dr., Alexandria, and a passenger in his auto, Michael Curley, 21, of 5814 Pratt St., Alexandria, were treated for minor injuries and released from Mount Vernon Hospital, investigators said.
Maryland State Police identified the second fatality of the night as Patrick Joseph Sullivan, 17, of Davidsonville. They said he was killed in an accident about 1:55 a.m. when a car crossed the yellow line of Central Avenue near the Capital Centre and struck head-on the car in which Sullivan was a passenger.
Two others in the car with Sullivan were seriously injured, as was the driver of the other car, a 23-year-old Bowie woman.
Twenty-one automobile accidents were reported in the District between midnight and 6 a.m. yesterday, a considerable increase over the average of six accidents reported during those hours nightly over the last two weeks.
In the District accidents, "It was not that so many people were out drinking, it was the weather conditions," said Jim Battle, of the D.C. Metropolitan Police public information office. He said that the light drizzle that fell Thursday evening and early Friday left roads slick, and that some drivers did not take the road conditions into account.
There were only two arrests in connection with those 21 traffic accidents and Battle could not say whether they were for drunken driving. Ten persons were arrested for drunken driving in Washington Thursday night, not an unusual number for one night, police said.
"We had several calls from bartenders and barmaids requesting us to remove persons from their premises," said Arthur Reddick, a lead dispatcher at Yellow Cab. These always pose a problem, he said. "The problem is not being paid, it's getting the person out of the cab. They are generally able to pay before getting in the car, but if they are in the cab more than ten minutes, you cannot get them out. And you just cannot leave a person lying in the street."