A five-car pileup on the George Washington Parkway early yesterday took the life of a 30-year-old Woodbridge man and closed the busy road for the morning rush hour.

Evan B. Shaw was killed when the car he was driving collided head-on with another vehicle just south of Alexandria near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, according to U.S. Park Police. A second driver involved in the resulting chain reaction, James Nichols of Woodbridge, was hospitalized with cuts and lacerations.

The accident occurred about 6:20 a.m. and blocked all lanes of the parkway until about 10 a.m., police said.

Traffic was diverted onto nearby routes, increasing congestion on already-clogged thoroughfares such as Rte. 1. But police in Alexandria and Fairfax County reported no major incidents or tie-ups related to the crash.

According to Maj. Richard Cusick of the Park Police, the incident began when a car traveling south on the parkway suddenly veered into the road's northbound lanes.

Cusick said that the car was driven by Gary Wilson of Alexandria, who told police that he swerved to avoid another car traveling south.

Cusick said that no southbound car other than Wilson's was involved in the accident and that Park Police have not found a car like the one Wilson described.

"Apparently, there may have been a vehicle that may have swerved into {Wilson's} path," Cusick said. "The car might have been there and just kept on going. We don't know."

When Wilson crossed into the northbound lanes, his vehicle slammed head-on into a car driven by Shaw. While Cusick said the speed of the cars has not been determined, he said the force of the impact was considerable, scattering debris on both sides of the four-lane road.

Shaw was declared dead at the scene, Cusick said. Wilson was not injured.

After Wilson and Shaw collided, Cusick said, three vehicles traveling north behind Shaw were unable to avoid the wreckage. Nichols, who drove one of those vehicles, was admitted to Mount Vernon Hospital and was listed in fair condition yesterday.

Three other people in the remaining two vehicles were treated for minor injuries but were not hospitalized.