WASHINGTON — Three men are dead and two others are injured after a driver fleeing from police crashed into another car Wednesday, closing Rock Creek Parkway temporarily for a portion of the morning.
The man and woman who allegedly left an attempted traffic stop are alive, and three men in a Honda Accord that they hit about a mile away are dead. U.S. Park Police later identified the people in the Honda as Mohamed Kamara, 42, of Burtonsville, Maryland, Jonathan Cabrera Mendez, 23, of Arlington, Virginia, and Olvin Torres Velasquez, 22, also from Arlington, Virginia.
Minutes after they arrived, DC firefighters called for backup on the radio to deal with what they called a "combative and irate patient." Police say a man and a woman in a Lexus drove away from Park Police officers attempting a traffic stop. The man refused treatment, and the woman has life-threatening injuries, according to a U.S. Park Police spokesman.
A short time before the deadly collision, an officer for U.S. Park Police said they tried to make a traffic stop on Rock Creek Parkway just south of Virginia Avenue in Northwest, D.C. The driver sped off and the officer did not follow the Lexus, and instead cleared the traffic stop, according to U.S. Park Police. The officer was then given another assignment and left Rock Creek Parkway.
Sergeant Thomas Twiname with U.S. Park Police said the officer did not pursue the fleeing car because it did not meet the criteria for a pursuit.
"If a vehicle flees a traffic stop, we have policies and procedures that guide our actions," Twiname said in a press conference. "Our officers are required to abide by those policies and procedures. In this instance, the officer determined that the vehicle that fled did not meet the criteria for a pursuit, and so they did not pursue the vehicle."
After leaving the scene, a call came in for a crash around 1:40 a.m. in the area of P Street in Northwest D.C. Officers found a Lexus and Honda Accord crashed into each other and confirmed that one of the vehicles involved in the crash was the same Lexus that officers tried to stop earlier in the morning.
DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services were summoned. U.S. Park Police say three men in the Honda Accord were pronounced dead at the scene. The two occupants of the SUV, a man, and a woman, were taken to the hospital with injuries initially believed not to be life-threatening though Twiname later confirmed the woman's injuries were life-threatening.
U.S. Park Police are handling the investigation into the crash. The investigation remains active. It's still not known why the driver of the Lexus fled from the officer.
Commuters in the morning were advised to avoid the area and find an alternative route to Rock Creek Parkway.
Rock Creek Parkway was closed in the area of P Street Northwest. Drivers on the northbound traffic were being diverted to Virginia Avenue, while southbound traffic was being diverted to Shoreham Hill towards Calvert Street Northwest, officials said. The entrance at Massachusetts Avenue was closed, but all lanes have since been reopened.
The police department is asking anyone who may have been in Rock Creek Parkway at the time of the crash to contact their tip line by emailing email@example.com.
This is a developing story. We are working to gather additional details. Stay with WUSA9 for the latest updates as they come in to our newsroom.