An Arlington man was killed late Wednesday when his car was struck head-on by a stolen car traveling on the wrong side of a divided highway moments after a D.C. police car had stopped chasing it, police said.
Donald F. O'Connor, 33, of the 2100 block of North Troy Street, was pronounced dead at National Hospital for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation after the 11:30 p.m. accident.
The driver of the stolen car, Michael Gray, 28, of the 2400 block of 15th Place SE in Washington, was listed in stable condition at the hospital yesterday evening. A companion of Gray's was not injured, police said.
The collision occurred on Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 110), which has four lanes separated by a grass median. O'Connor was driving in the northbound lanes when the car Gray was driving, a 1987 Ford Taurus, crashed into his vehicle.
After that collision, a third car, driven by Thomas Jeffries of Falls Church, struck O'Connor's car from the rear. Jeffries was not injured.
According to police, the car Gray was driving had been reported stolen in southern Prince George's County less than an hour before the accident.
An unmarked D.C. police unit in Georgetown spotted the car and radioed for a marked car, which then tried to stop the stolen car on Key Bridge, which connects Georgetown with Arlington.
When the car did not stop and continued into Virginia, District police pursued the car "two, three, or four blocks into Virginia," according to Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman.
At that point, the D.C. unit abandoned the chase and radioed the dispatcher to tell Virginia authorities that the stolen car was in their jurisdiction.
Spokesmen for both the Arlington and D.C. police departments said that the stolen car was not being pursued at the time of the collision.
No charges have been filed, police said.
O'Connor, who was married and had an 11-month-old daughter, was a co-owner of a software company based in Arlington. A neighbor, Judy Bland, called O'Connnor "a wonderful neighbor. After my husband died, he has been over, shoveling my walk and helping while I was grieving. He and his wife were always there for you," Bland said.
"I am so angry over this," she added.