Two teenagers were killed in separate accidents, about three miles and six hours apart, on a narrow stretch of road in Montgomery County, police said yesterday.
Solomon King, 16, of North Potomac died after being struck by a car as he walked with two friends at the 14200 block of Travilah Road in Potomac about 6:45 p.m. Friday, police said. His mother said the Thomas S. Wootton High School junior was headed from a friend's house to a nearby Burger King. Police said the car, described as a Honda Accord with tinted windows, did not stop at the scene and continued west on Travilah Road.
About 1:15 a.m. yesterday, Sarkis George Nazarian Jr., 16, of Potomac was killed when the sport-utility vehicle that he was driving ran off the pavement in the 12500 block of Travilah Road and hit a tree, police said. Police said Sarkis, a junior at Winston Churchill High School, was driving from a party in North Potomac, where they were told by witnesses that he had been drinking.
Police said the party was hosted by a 16-year-old whose parents were out of town. After the accident, police shut down the party and issued citations for underage drinking to 14 teenagers younger than 18.
The deaths are the latest in a string of fatal accidents in the region involving teenagers. In one weekend in September, five teenagers were killed and four others injured in three accidents in Montgomery County.
"How many lives have to go like this?" said Sarkis Nazarian Sr., his voice cracking with grief, surrounded by dozens of friends and relatives in his home yesterday afternoon.
In October, Montgomery police launched a teen driver education program and a public education campaign against teenage drinking.
Toxicology reports were not available on Nazarian, police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said. Police also are investigating how alcohol was obtained for the party, held in the 11900 block of Cragwood Way.
Baur said that Nazarian was driving too fast in the rain and that the road conditions were particularly treacherous. The crash occurred along a narrow, curvy, two-lane road.
Two 16-year-old passengers, Nicholas Hegedus and Scott Alexander, both of Rockville, were treated by paramedics at the scene for minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.
Jeff Nazarian, 28, Sarkis's brother, said he was "very sad" that alcohol may have contributed to the accident.
When Sarkis missed his usual midnight curfew, his father at first didn't worry, because his son had gone out later than usual, about 10:30 p.m., driving the red Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV that he shared with his mother. Sarkis Nazarian Sr. said his son had left later because he had been helping out at the family's store, the Wow Cow ice cream parlor in Bethesda.
"He was a loving, giving person," Nazarian said.
Family members said Sarkis, whose parents emigrated from Syria years ago, had hopes of becoming a dentist and had been talking about opening an ice cream shop near a university to pay for his studies. He was the youngest of five sons and had a 12-year-old sister.
In a nearby neighborhood yesterday, Mieko King was preparing for a memorial vigil for her only child, Solomon. Friends and family gathered at the home last night, putting candles in the yard.
"I hope this is a nightmare," said King, 48, who recalled with tears hugging her son for the last time Friday morning, before he left for school. "I want to wake up from the bad dream. I want to have him back."
Police said the vehicle that struck King may be damaged on the right front or passenger's side. One of the two teenagers walking with King was grazed by the car but did not require treatment.
Classmates at Wootton High School described King as a friendly student who was always joking.
Several of them went to the scene of the accident in the course of the day, leaving behind flowers and a white wooden cross.
"It's hard to know we're going to school on Monday, and we're never going to see him again," said Niki Hetchkop, 15, sobbing. "We heard this stuff happening at other schools, but we never thought it could happen to us."