D.C. police on Friday charged a man with driving under the influence of alcohol after witnesses said a speeding car jumped a curb and struck several people outside a downtown Washington nightclub where a New Year’s Eve celebration was underway.
Two witnesses said the vehicle plowed into an outdoor seating area for Barcode in the 1700 block of L Street NW, near the Farragut North Metro station, hitting at least four people, a small tree and a light pole. The crash occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Friday.
Malik Marvin Lloyd, 25, of Northeast Washington, was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. Police confirmed that he is the same Lloyd who was arrested in January 2015 and charged with possession of a firearm. He was free pending a court hearing Jan. 19.
“The car came flying around the corner totally out of control and missed our car by inches and plowed into the front of the bar,” said Keith R. Evans, 59, who was with his fiance, who was driving an Uber hire car. They were stopped at a light at 17th and L streets NW when the crash occurred.
“Three people flew up in the air, and the sound of the entire incident is still ringing in my ears,” Evans said. “Tables, chairs, and people were scattered all over the front of the bar, and the only thing that stopped the car was he hit a pole which slowed his momentum and brought the car to a halt.”
D.C. police and fire officials gave conflicting casualty counts. Police said four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. A fire department spokesman said seven people were hurt and taken to an area hospital, including one transported in critical condition.
Evans and his fiance, Cheryl Young, 57, stopped to help victims. They said the person who appeared to be most seriously hurt was a bar bouncer. Evans said a doctor who was in the club at the time also helped treat the injured.
D.C. police said Friday morning that the incident remained under investigation.
It appears that the car ran over a small tree, dislodging it from a sidewalk stand, and then hit the pole. The owner of Barcode could not be reached Friday. It was not immediately clear whether the victims were bar patrons, pedestrians passing by or a combination of both.
Workers were at the bar Friday morning cleaning up debris and putting seats back up on the patio. Work crews were repairing a light pole and light, and the sidewalk planter that had been struck was wrapped in yellow caution tape. Tree branches, party hats and vehicle debris, including a hubcap, lined the gutter.
Evans and Young said the driver was heading north on 17th Street NW and was trying to turn right onto L Street. They said he was going fast and skidded or slid, missing the road and crossing a service road and mounting the sidewalk. Tire marks visible Friday led from the road directly into the bar’s outdoor seating area.
Young said the bouncer was lying on the sidewalk and was conscious, while most others were able to walk away with help of friends or bystanders. “Everybody was just stunned and shocked,” she said. “The car tore up the entire front of the bar,” Evans said. “Very dramatic, and shocking to see.”