A 15-year-old football player at DuVal High School was killed last night in a two-car crash in Lanham, the latest young victim in a series of fatal collisions across the region in recent weeks, authorities said. Two teammates who were headed home in the same car from football practice were injured.

Prince George's County police did not immediately release the name of the dead youth, but DuVal coach DaLawn Parrish identified him as David Butler, a sophomore who started at linebacker, punted and was the backup quarterback for the Tigers. Butler was the team's leading tackler, Parrish said.

"He was a special player to me," Parrish said early today. "He was a kid who never gave me any problems. He had tremendous upside."

Police said the youth suffered head injuries while riding in the back seat of a 1995 Saturn driven by a teammate from Landover who is 16. The driver, whom Parrish identified as Joseph Washington, and the third occupant of the car, a 17-year-old from Lanham, were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening, said Cpl. Joe Merkel, a police spokesman.

The teenagers had just turned south from Crandall Road onto Woodfield Chapel Road when a Mercedes-Benz sedan struck the rear of the Saturn, Merkel said. The Saturn spun and crashed into a tree. The Mercedes stopped about a half-mile away because it was disabled, Merkel said.

The man driving the Mercedes, who was not identified, was questioned at the scene, Merkel said. No charges had been filed.

The 15-year-old was flown to Washington Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead several hours later, Merkel said.

At least 11 people 22 years old and younger have been killed in traffic accidents across the region in recent weeks.

Parrish said he spent much of the night at the hospital with David's family and on his cell phone with players. "We've been calling each other," he said. "We have a family atmosphere, and everybody sticks together."