By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
The dangerous speed trap that is Indian Head Highway (MD-210) in Oxon Hill, MD., claimed three siblings last Sunday evening after a hit and run accident that was caused by a motorist who authorities believe was driving under the influence.
According to multiple reports three children were killed after a suspected drunk driver slammed into their family’s car at a traffic light Sunday night near Wilson Bridge Road, police said. The fatal incident occurred around 9:40 p.m. on the foggy evening when the driver of a pickup truck rear-ended their car just before the intersection off Indian Head Highway.
It was not clear if the family’s car had either slowed or stopped behind two other vehicles for a traffic light near Wilson Bridge Drive, according to a preliminary investigation by Prince George’s County police. However, it was confirmed by multiple news organization’s that two five-year-olds and a 1-year-old child lost their lives in the latest in a line of fatalities on one of the deadliest thoroughfares in Maryland. Over 60 people have died in crashes along Indian Head Highway since 2007, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration.
“There are no words to describe this crash except to say it is a tragedy,” Prince George’s County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady tweeted late Sunday night.
Indian Head Highway was closed in both directions for several hours and didn’t reopen until early Monday. Firefighters removed two adults who were trapped in the vehicle who were reportedly taken to a local trauma center and survived the accident.
During the early stages of the investigation it was difficult for authorities to determine whether the family’s car had either slowed or stopped behind two other vehicles for a traffic light, according to preliminary evidence discovered by Prince George’s County police. However, NBC 4 in D.C. reported the impact from the pickup truck caused the family’s vehicle to strike the car in front of it, which then hit another vehicle. The pickup came to rest on top of the rear-passenger compartment of the family’s car. Police said it appeared the pickup was moving much faster than the victims’ cars. Authorities also said they did not find skid marks at the crash site prior to the point of impact.
Law enforcement officials have identified the young victims as Alexander and Rosalie Mejia, both 5, and their 1-year-old brother, Isaac, of Falls Church, Virginia.
“I am heartbroken over the loss of these three young, innocent lives,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said in a statement. “The actions of a suspected drunk driver [have] ended in a lifetime of pain for this family.”
Details of the crash remain murky at best. The pickup driver was taken into custody at the scene for sobriety testing and was later released although his name has not been released. Police said charges are pending the outcomes of the investigation, toxicology testing and reconstruction analysis. Charges will be determined after the complete investigation by the County’s Police Department and state’s attorney’s office, they said.
AAA of Maryland says that Indian Head Highway in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the DMV area with cars and motorcycles drag racing constantly. Last October, speed cameras were installed on the highway following the death of 24-year-old Samira Jenkins in March. Jenkins was fatally struck near the intersection of Indian Head Highway and Kerby Hill Road on her way to a job interview.
Prince George’s County police were conducting targeted DUI and speed enforcement in specific areas during the holidays, including the Indian Head Highway corridor, ahead of New Year’s Eve.