A person driving a white pickup truck struck and injured two D.C. police bicycle officers and a third person Thursday night along the busiest street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Northwest Washington, police said.
The incident happened in the 2400 block of 18th Street just before 9 p.m., said Officer Hugh Carew, a police spokesman. One D.C. police officer was reportedly in critical condition at a hospital.
At a news conference outside the hospital, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said the officers were struck by a vehicle “traveling at a high rate of speed.”
The second officer was in serious condition, police said. And a woman who works for DDOT as a traffic control aide was struck by the pickup truck and was in serious condition. Both suffered injuries were believed to be nonlife threatening, Newsham said.
The chief said police arrested two people from the truck and were interviewing them Thursday night.
A questioner at the media conference asked whether terrorism might have been a motive for the pickup truck driver. Newsham said police did not have a motive for the incident, and that the department was not ruling anything out.
“We have to look at that very closely. We do not have a motive at this time,” Newsham said.“ I feel horrible. I have two of my officers in there, unnecessarily in hospital.”
Police recovered a weapon from the pickup truck, Newsham said. He declined to identify the type of weapon it was.
A male driver of the white pickup truck, and a passenger, was also transported to a hospital.
“He hit [a garbage truck] hard enough to drive it up on the sidewalk,’’ D.C. fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said of the pickup driver.
Katie Vincentz, 23, was with friends inside the Tryst coffee house when the sound of the crash sent her rushing into the street to see what happened.
“It was a horrifying screech. The entire street went quiet it was so loud,” Vincentz said.
As she ran to the street, she said she saw a white pickup speeding north after hitting the two bicycle officers. One of the three was dragged about 30 feet, she said.
Passersby told her that the truck sped past a Metro bus, which had stopped at a bus stop, and the officers were hit in the street.
Al Jirikowic, 65, was crossing Calvert Street when he heard screeching and then saw a white pickup truck barreling around a curve and smashing into a garbage truck parked outside Philz Coffee.
“This guy was going at an accelerated speed — 70 or 80 mph. He couldn’t negotiate the curve so he plowed his right front into the truck,” Jirikowic said. “Everything exploded — bumper came off, broken glass. He hit it really hard.”
Jirikowic ran toward the truck, and had to yank the door open. The driver appeared to be unconscious. Then two people in hospital scrubs — he thinks they were passing by — came up from behind and shoved him out the way to attend to the driver. There was a second person on the passenger side, he said, who ran out.
Police found the pickup that hit two bicycle police officers and the woman, and they apprehended the driver and a passenger, Carew said. But police were still trying to determine what happened during the incident.
Ashley Maiorana, 24, lives on Calvert about 50 feet from where the white truck crashed into the garbage truck. She heard a bang just before 9 p.m. — “it was really loud.”
She came outside and saw one man sitting on the ground. Another man was standing. Cops were putting him in handcuffs and then he sat down on the ground, she said.
Around 10 p.m., two D.C. police bicycles were seen, damaged and crunched together in the middle of 18th Street Northwest. Police roped off the sidewalk on both sides of the street, but patrons were still inside nearby bars and restaurants.