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Drivers hit, killed 3 pedestrians in Montgomery County. Now, advocates are calling for change

Two of the crashes were hit and runs. Police are searching for the drivers.

WHEATON-GLENMONT, Md. — Traffic safety advocates are calling for action after drivers hit and killed three pedestrians in Montgomery County Monday. Two of the crashes were hit and runs.

First, police said a pedestrian was hit and killed by a car around 5:30 p.m. at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and Elton Road. That driver stayed on the scene. The victim was identified as 70-year-old Moges Alemnew Webete.

About an hour later, police said a driver hit and killed a 59-year-old woman at the corner of Veirs Mill Road and Ferrara Avenue and took off. She has been identified as Luz Marina Roa 

Then, a little after 11 p.m., 32-year-old Danny Junior Beckford died after being hit by a car on the inner loop of Interstate 495 before the Colesville Road exit. That driver took off.

“People are just trying to cross the street. And they can't do it without getting killed, you know?" advocate Peter Gray said. "So how does it make me feel? it makes me very frustrated; makes me sort of a little fatigued when these things happen in waves like this. But, it also makes me feel like we've got to do something.”

Gray volunteers with the advocacy group Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets, which has been pushing for safety upgrades at the Veirs Mill Road and Elton Road intersections for years.

Multiple pedestrians have died at both intersections.

RELATED: 3 pedestrians killed by vehicles within hours in Montgomery County, police say

“There are tried and true things that can be done," Gray said. "It's a matter of money and whatever getting the things executed, but that would make these kinds of crashes that end up in fatalities much less frequent.”

Back in 2019, Montgomery County adopted a Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan to make roads safer, but Gray said not much has been implemented.

He said there are also proposed state bills to create a spending floor on road upgrades for the MDOT State Highway Administration and to require studies where fatal crashes happen.

“We construct the road so that people can get in a car from point A to point B in the fastest possible manner and what we don't, what's unspoken is, 'Yeah, and some people are going to die.' That doesn't have to be," Gray said.

In the Wheaton hit and run, police are searching for a silver or light blue Volkswagon Passat, which they said has possible damage to the front bumper, headlight, hood, grille, side mirror, or windshield.

They said the other two victim names should be published sometime Wednesday.

The MDOT State Highway Administration said it will take some time to gather information about any potential safety upgrades, so WUSA9 will update this story with any information it provides. 

The advocacy group said, right now, studies are in the works.

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