A man ordered to lie in the street by would-be robbers was killed early Sunday when a woman apparently drove a car over him unintentionally, Prince George’s County police said.

The events unfolded about 1 a.m. in the 1200 block of Oates Street in the Fairmount Heights section of the county, when would-be robbers, wearing masks and armed with handguns, approached several people on the street. They were ordered to lie down as part of an apparent attempt to take their property.

Investigators think that at some point after ordering the men to the ground, the robbers approached a vehicle in which a woman was sitting in the driver’s seat, said Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a police spokesman. The woman, unnerved, apparently accelerated.

“I think she got startled and tried to get away,” Copeland said.

The woman then drove over a man who was lying in front of the vehicle, police said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not released.

As of Sunday evening, Copeland said, the death appeared to be “a freak accident.” He said he did not think that the woman knew the people who had been ordered to lie on the ground.

The would-be robbers fled, and no description was immediately available.

Oates Street is lined with single-family houses and is about 300 yards northeast of Addison and Sheriff roads. The area is less than a mile from Eastern Avenue, which is the border between Prince George’s and the District.