The Washington Post

Two teens hurt in crash on Beltway express lanes

Two teenagers were injured in a crash Saturday on the Capital Beltway’s new 495 Express Lanes — one of two collisions on the newly opened roadway.

Neither teens’ injuries were expected to be life threatening, said Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. In the other crash, she said, no one was hurt.

The crash involving the teens occurred just before 7 a.m.near Braddock Road, where the general lanes of 495 now split off into the express lanes, Geller said. She said a 19-year-old woman headed north swerved right at the split, then overcorrected to the left — sending her vehicle across the general lanes and over the white divider posts that separate them from the express lanes. The vehicle, she said, eventually crashed into a jersey wall.

Geller said the 19-year-old driver and an 18-year-old woman in the car were both taken to the hospital with injuries not thought to be life threatening. The driver, Jeneba Kofuma, of Alexandria, was charged with failure to obey highway signs, Geller said.

Aside from a few technical glitches, the two crashes were the only major incidents state police handled from the time the new high-occupancy toll lanes opened at 2 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Geller said. She said state police had put more troopers out on the lanes and would continue to monitor them closely through Monday.

“Obviously, one crash is one too many, but so far, we’ve been fairly pleased with the transitioning,” Geller said. “It’s gone fairly smoothly.”

The new lanes charge drivers a variable fee to use, exempting those on motorcycles or in vehicles with three or more occupants. They were intended to effectively guarantee a quick trip — for a price — by charging increasing tolls as traffic backs up.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.


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