HYATTSVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- Ice from a broken water main was blamed for an accident that killed a pedestrian and sent an SUV careening into a Hyattsville business Monday morning, according to a witness who spoke to the driver.
"She told me she lost it on the ice," said the witness who was in the building when the accident happened just after 7 a.m. in the 4800-block of Rhode Island Ave. The survivor, a man who was sleeping in the building with his dog, did not want to be identified. He said he spoke to the woman driving the SUV before she was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Police have not determined a cause of the accident.
Prince George's County Police reported a pedestrian who was struck during the incident died. Identities of the people involved in the accident have not been released.
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission workers were at the scene Monday afternoon to assess a broken 8-inch water main.
Witnesses claimed that water and ice have been plaguing the section of Rhode Island Avenue since Tuesday Jan. 7 but no repairs have been done. A nearby weather station in Riverdale Park reported 29-degrees at the time of the accident.
The SUV was being driven north on Rhode Island Ave when the driver lost control. The SUV crossed a concrete median struck a pedestrian and crashed into the ID Design Collective at 4814 Rhode Island Ave. on the southbound side of the road.
WSSC officials issued the following statement Monday afternoon regarding the fatal collision:
We understand from news reports that there was an accident this morning in the 4800 block of Rhode Island Avenue in Hyattsville, where a vehicle hit a pedestrian and then ran into a building. Sadly, the pedestrian has since died.
WSSC is aware of two pipe leaks in the immediate area. Leaks were confirmed by WSSC in a 12-inch pipe at 4824 Rhode Island Avenue on January 7, 2014, and an 8-inch pipe at 4801 Rhode Island Avenue on January 9, 2014.
As part of routine maintenance procedures, the decision was made at 7:30 am today to assign a crew to repair the leaking 8-inch pipe at 4801 Rhode Island Avenue. That crew was dispatched at 7:40 am. The decision was also made to hold off on repairs of the main at 4824 Rhode Island Avenue.
At this time, we have not heard anything official from the Prince George's County Police Department. We will cooperate fully in their investigation.
As we have reported over the last week, the extreme cold snap has caused a high number of water main breaks and leaks. As of this morning, nearly 60 breaks and leaks still needed to be repaired. We prioritize which breaks and leaks to fix based on a variety of factors, including impact on customers as well as the impact on the roadway and other circumstances. It is common for a break to occur and customers still have water service until the pipe is actually shut down for repair. When necessary, WSSC takes steps, such as salting, to minimize the impact of breaks on roads in extremely cold conditions.