By: Allan M Siegel
A 17-year-old senior from Gonzaga College High School was tragically killed
this past weekend following a two-vehicle car accident on the Capital
Beltway. According to officials from the Maryland State Police, the accident
occurred in the northbound lanes of the Beltway, just south of Persimmon
Tree Road in Bethesda. Three other Gonzaga students were injured as a
result of the collision.
An investigation determined that the vehicle containing the students had
been disabled and
was stopped on the side of the highway when it was struck from behind by
a Jeep Compass. The victim who was killed was seated in the rear passenger seat. According
to police, the 24-year-old Rockville woman driving the Jeep Compass displayed
signs of being impaired. No charges have yet been filed.
Accidents Involving Vehicles Stopped Along the Road
Saturday's tragic incident is yet another
reminder of the risks motorists and passengers face when stopped on the
side of the road. In the past several months, a number of victims have been injured or
killed while stopped along highways or roadways in the DC metro area.
Maryland State Police also reported that four troopers have been recently
struck and injured while in or near vehicles pulled over on highways.
All four of the incidents involved suspected impaired drivers.
These tragedies help to remind us about the importance of focusing on safety
if you need to pull over to the side of the road, for any reason. It also
reminds us to be aware that vehicles may be pulled over on the shoulder,
especially at night, during Holidays, and times when local schools may
be hosting evening events or games. If you must pull over on the roadway,
because of a vehicle breakdown, there are several things you can do to
- Whenever possible, try to exit highways and pull over on surface streets
or in parking lots.
- If you must pull over, use your flashers and pull over to the far right
shoulder on most roads. On interstates, AAA safety guidelines state that
drivers may consider the left shoulder.
- Pull over as far from the roadway as possible.
- After pulling over, keep emergency flashers on to alert other motorists.
Do not stay in the vehicle. Exit the vehicle and move away from the car so that you are not behind
or directly in front of the car.
Unfortunately, drivers who take these precautions may still be at risk
for suffering harm caused by negligent drivers – including impaired
or distracted drivers. The lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata &
Siegel, P.C. have handled too many of these types of cases, including
a wrongful death case of a Pastor who was killed when a drunk driver struck
his disabled vehicle on New Year's Eve. If you have been injured in
an accident while pulled over along a road or highway, please call our
Washington, DC car accident attorneys for a free initial consultation.