A 90-year-old Bethesda man was killed Saturday in a single car crash that shut the outer loop of the Beltway between Georgia and Connecticut avenues, backing up traffic for miles.

State police identified the victim as James Wharton Eadie. He was west of Georgia Avenue on the outer loop about 2 p.m. when his car went out of control, the police said. It hit a concrete barrier, then a light pole and plunged down an embankment.

He was extricated from the vehicle by the Montgomery County fire department, but died at a hospital, authorities said.

The effort to pull him from the 2002 vehicle apparently brought enough vehicles to the scene to shut the outer loop for some time. All lanes were reopened about 4 p.m. Traffic remained heavy, however.

State police said it was not known why Eadie lost control of his car. They said they were continuing to investigate.