Three teenagers allegedly fleeing police near the Prince George's-D.C. border were injured yesterday along with six others when their car crashed into three vehicles and flipped several times, a fire department spokesman said.
The teenagers were hospitalized in serious condition, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Prince George's County fire spokesman Mark E. Brady said. Their four-door sedan was smashed so badly that Brady could not determine its make or model.
Six passengers of the other cars were taken to hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to serious.
The teenagers, whose names were not released, crashed at Eastern and Rhode Island avenues about 2:45 p.m., Brady said. They were fleeing officers from the Bladensburg Police Department, an independent force within Prince George's, after the officers tried to pull them over, he said.
"They were observed by Bladensburg city police officers for possible traffic violations and possibly brandishing a handgun," Brady said. The officers "initiated a stop to pull the car over."
He said he did not know whether officers had chased the teenagers or simply put on their patrol car lights. Bladensburg Police Chief John E. Moss would not comment.
The incident began when the teenagers' car took off north "at an extremely high rate of speed" on Eastern Avenue, Brady said, and crashed into a car at the Rhode Island intersection and two others stopped at a red light.
The two most seriously damaged cars, including the teenagers' sedan, ended up on the sidewalk next to Eastern Avenue in the District. D.C. police are handling the accident reconstruction investigation, said Quintin Peterson, a spokesman for the department.
If charges are filed against the teenagers, that would be handled by Bladensburg police, Peterson said.
A spate of fatal car crashes involving young drivers hit the Washington region in the fall, killing at least 19 teenagers and sparking cries in Maryland for changes to the state's driving laws. Lawmakers responded with a number of bills, prime among them a measure prohibiting teenage drivers from carrying teenage passengers, except family members, during the first five months of the 18-month provisional license.
The General Assembly also passed a measure barring teenage provisional-license holders from using a cell phone while driving except in an emergency.