Three people were killed Saturday night in a car crash in the Bethesda area of Montgomery County, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 7 p.m. in the 6500 block of River Road, near Pyle Road.

Alan Goodwin, the principal of Walt Whitman High School said the crash involved members of a “Whitman family.” Names and ages were not available.

Initial reports indicated that the three persons killed died before they could be extricated from the wreckage. One student was critically injured, Goodwin said in a Twitter message.

The crash site is a few hundred yards west of the high school.

A production of Noises Off, was being staged at the school Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The curtain was scheduled for 7 p.m., about the time of the crash.

The cause of the crash was not known immediately. An accident reconstruction unit was called to help investigate.

At least two vehicles were involved, according to preliminary accounts from the county police.

Photographs showed that at least one of the vehicles had been knocked off the road onto the shoulder area. It was not clear whether all the dead were in the same vehicle.

Capt. Paul Starks, the chief county police spokesman said the crash occurred in the outbound lanes, which carry traffic in a northwesterly direction.

The road splits near the crash site, and a broad median separates the two directions of traffic.