Personal Injury Blog

Gonzaga High School Senior Killed, Several Injured in Beltway Shoulder Collision

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.Shoulder Auto Accidents

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 stay safe:

  • 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.