Four residents of Alexandria, two of whom apparently worked for the State Department, were killed in southern New Jersey early Saturday morning when their car left the road and hit a tree.
They were returning from a brief pleasure trip to Atlantic City, N.J., according to Dr. Claus Speth, assistant state medical examiner for New Jersey.
At 5:45 a.m. Saturday, he said, the four were going west about an hour from Atlantic City when the car they were riding in "just gradually drifted across the road," crossed a lane of oncoming traffic and slammed into an enormous tree. The occupants were killed instantly.
Speth said there were no skid or brake marks, leading to speculation that the driver, Bassam Abadir, 33, either fell asleep at the wheel or was ill and passed out. The accident occurred in Gloucester County .
The dead, all from Egypt, were identified as Abadir, who worked for the Foreign Service Institute, an in-house teaching arm of the State Department; his brother Eihad A. Abadir, a student who recently arrived in the United States; Sana Samy, 46, also an employe of FSI; and Samy's daughter Maha Samy, 26.
Maha Samy's permanent residence was Cincinnati, but she apparently had been staying with her mother for some time, according to authorities.
The State Department could not confirm over the weekend that Abadir and Samy were state employes, although spokesman Joe Reap said he had been notified of the deaths by New Jersey authorities.
According to what relatives told Speth, the four left for Atlantic City late Friday night, spending only a few hours there before heading back to Alexandria.
Arrangements were being made to ship all four bodies back to Egypt, where the victims' parents live.
In a separate incident, a Baltimore man was killed and a second from Baltimore County was critically injured early yesterday when their car ran off Interstate 95 near Laurel, rolled down an embankment and overturned, according to Maryland State Police in Howard County.
Matthew Walter Ruth, 20, of 2906 North Wind Rd., in Baltimore, who was a passenger in the car, was thrown from the vehicle, police said.
He was pronounced dead at the shock trauma unit in Baltimore, according to police.
The driver, Scott Edward Hightower, 20, of 13908 Foxland Rd., in Phoenix, Md., was in critical condition yesterday at the shock trauma unit, police said. Police said they had not determined the cause of the crash.