Families of several victims of the worst traffic accident in the city's history filed a $17 million lawsuit yesterday against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the man whose car plowed into a Southeast bus stop, killing seven people last August.

The suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, claims that the bus stop should not have been built there. WMATA officials, the lawsuit claims, should have foreseen the possibility of an accident because of the bus stop's location between the street and a long brick wall adjoining the Navy Yard.

Seven persons were killed Aug. 25 when a car went out of control in the 200 block of M Street SE, ran over a median strip, jumped a curb and plowed into a crowd near the bus stop.

The driver of the car, 41-year-old Robert L. Williams, is being held in lieu of $10,000 bond on a charge of involuntary manslaughter while armed. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Williams also is charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. His case is pending before a Superior Court grand jury and additional charges are possible.

The suit claims that Williams "negligently" and "carelessly" operated the vehicle.

Metro officials declined to comment on the suit. "When anything is under litigation, we don't comment," said spokeswoman Beverly Silverberg.

One of the families who filed the suit is that of Theodore Chrisp, a 24-year-old porter at an Alexandria nursing home who was killed along with his wife and three daughters, the youngest of whom was 2 weeks old.