Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Share Stories  |  Traffic  |  Columns  |  Q&A     |  Get Gridlock:    Twitter |    Facebook  |     RSS   |  phone Alerts

Grisly scene snarls Connecticut

UPDATE 5p.m.: The scene is clear, with traffic moving freely in both directions.

ORIGINAL POST: Connecticut Ave NW just south of Dupont Circle is the site of a major police and rescue operation after a woman riding a small motorbike was hit by an SUV, leaving a gruesome scene at the crowded intersection and what one witness described as "lots of blood."

Northbound Connecticut Avenue is closed between 18th Street, near its intersection with M St, and the circle; southbound traffic is able to crawl through.

"It was a horror scene. A motorbike was cut in half. We were there literally moments after," said Timothy Ball, who came across the scene with his girlfriend, Honey Smith.

"It looked like the motorcycle was headed north, the SUV had made a hard left and came to an abrupt stop. The front of the SUV was compressed, with a huge gash in the windshield where the motorcyclist's head would have gone through," said Smith, who said the bike was resting entirely underneath the truck.

There is a large convergence of emergency vehicles and onlookers, with numerous personnel directing traffic, and commuters should expect delays on the artery just north of downtown.

The area near N Street is part of a complex confluence of streets, some of which are one-way, that can be difficult for pedestrians and drivers to navigate.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

By Luke Rosiak  |  May 7, 2010; 3:54 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting  | Tags: Dupont Circle, Police  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Commuter train chief killed by train
Next: Digging National Train Day

Comments

Guess you didn't hear about the Metro bus that hit a car in Dupont Circle around noon???? Not sure who's fault it was, probably the car's...at least for Metro's sake I hope it was the car's.

Posted by: Pat_E | May 7, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I just spoke with some eyewitnesses. SUV took an illegal left turn onto a one way street, hit the scooter head on. The rider flipped in the air, crashed through the windshield head first, and bounced back down to the pavement. The rider was not wearing a helmet.

Posted by: DC07 | May 7, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow!...bad day in DuPont Circle. I hope the best for the person injured...

Posted by: Pat_E | May 7, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"COMING: Photos and video."

Um . . . no thanks.

Posted by: Apt604 | May 7, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't marry her!

Honey Ball? Ugh.

Posted by: jiji1 | May 7, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

You know, about 15 minutes, I saw a young woman on a scooter, without a helmet, driving NORTH in the far SOUTHbound lane. She wanted to go to the Burger King that's north of UDC, and couldn't be bothered to wait for the northbound traffic to clear, even though there's four lanes of northbound this time of the evening. Talk about reckless behavior.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 7, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

DC07 -- I hope you gave a sworn statement to police on this rather than publish allegations on a forum.

Posted by: bs2004 | May 7, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

bs2004 -- i didn't see it, but the person i talked to did give a statement. It's also fairly obvious that the SUV took an illegal left turn, since it's pointed in that direction.

Posted by: DC07 | May 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

DC07 -- I hope you gave a sworn statement to police on this rather than publish allegations on a forum.

_______________________________

Actually, you need to re-read DC07's post. He/she did NOT witness the accident, but only spoke to purported eyewitnesses. That's hearsay, and the cops won't be interested in it.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 7, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I hope the SUV driver gets jail time for:

1. Making an illegal left turn
2. Driving an SUV

What an idiot driver, I'll see him or her in hell.

Posted by: kenk3 | May 7, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I hope the SUV driver is put to death for murder. If not, I hope this haunts that person to the end of their days. Left turn in front of a bike is a no-no, big time. Illegal left turn and causing a bike accident is at least attempted murder. (I just arrived home on my bike after 5 close calls).

Posted by: johng1 | May 7, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm staring right now out my office window at the now-cleared accident scene. I'm also periodically glancing a bit to the left of the intersection, at my scooter parked nearby, awaiting my commute home.

It was a horrible scene. No, the scooter was not cut in half. It merely destroyed itself on the right front fender of the Mazda 5. And no, it did not end up under the van, though pieces of it did.

Ominously, police closed NB Connecticut for over an hour, and I assume the need for the extensive investigation is itself a predictor of a poor prognosis for the scooterist.

Southbound cars on Connecticut make the illegal U-turn at N Street all the time. Sometimes, as apparently in this case, they turn left from SB Conn Ave to go eastbound on N Street, which is one-way in the wrong direction for such drivers. It is signed, but it is not entirely obvious how wrong such a maneuver is. Regardless, it was a simple left-in-front-of-an-oncoming-cyclist-without-seeing-the-cyclist, which happens far too often.

I don't think the driver of the van (Mazda 5, (not an SUV, not that it matters) was evil incarnate. He had the look of someone who, a few moments earlier, had worried only about a possible traffic ticket for his minor traffic violation, but who was realizing that the terribly injured woman lying on the pavement was a result of the his actions. The driver was distraught. He appeared to receive a traffic ticket during the investigation.

Posted by: GoTeamGoTeamGooooooTeamYay | May 7, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Not to digress from this bad incident, but why does the Washington Compost only identify SUVs and Trucks in the accident reporting???

Posted by: nosuchluck | May 7, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

First of all, a prayer for the scooter driver. God help her. If she lives, her life is probably changed forever. And sympathies to her family and friends. Life can turn on a dime and end in a moment, especially when you're riding a motor bike.

Scooters are a blast. That's all I had when I moved here 20 years ago (a Honda Passport C70 - technically a motorcycle so I had to have the endorsement on my license). So much fun, but driving it around this area was scary then and it's even more dangerous now and I see so many more of them on the road. I brought mine out here from Oregon where I'd ridden it around campus.

Resented having to wear a helmet in DC (I recall there being a helmet law) but was grateful when I got caught in a thunderstorm, slid on wet pavement and dumped it on 15th Street near the Washington Monument. The helmet visor kept my face off the pavement. Unfortunately, my shorts weren't a lot of help to my legs. After that wreck I bought a Miata. Not as fun but considerably safer.

A helmet may not have saved her in this case, but from what's described she would hardly have a chance at survival without one on. These days I won't ride my bicycle in the city without a helmet.

The SUV driver, if they're a decent human being, is going to have a hard time living with their guilt. We've all made mistakes in traffic but if they made an illegal turn (which is probably illegal for traffic safety reasons) or were texting or talking on their cell phone or otherwise distracted, then the District Attorney should come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Right-of-way or not, drivers have got to pay careful attention and drive defensively to avoid killing or being killed in this metro area!

Posted by: DagnyT | May 7, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I think SUVs should be illegal, or at least, their drivers should be given an automatic charge of attempted murder for striking a pedestrian, bike, motorbike, or smaller car.

Posted by: comesthesun2 | May 7, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse


I think SUVs should be illegal, or at least, their drivers should be given an automatic charge of attempted murder for striking a pedestrian, bike, motorbike, or smaller car.

Posted by: comesthesun2 | May 7, 2010 10:02 PM
__________________________________________________

And a Prius driver in the same situation would get off with a misdemeanor?

If you paid attention to the informed contributors to this thread, you'd know that the vehicle in this case is not an "SUV."

It's a minivan.

Off with their head!

Posted by: DagnyT | May 7, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

My coworker and I arrived at the scene around 3:40 pm after the ambulance and firetruck had left. There were at least 10 police vehicles that I counted at the scene including one vehicle which looked to be like a crime scene investigation vehicle and another vehicle with a large arrow in the back which was to redirect traffic. From the look of it, the minivan was indeed making an illegal left into the wrong way of a one way street. The motorbike was not cut in half though it was clearly smashed with parts and pieces lying on the ground and gasoline soaked in a large area of the asphalt around it. It was propped up by the kickstand and placed in front of the minivan front grill but because the front half was bent and distorted, the front tire could not rest on the ground but was sticking up into the air. The center right side of the minivan windshield had a large circle where the victim had collided with it. The windshield was intact with no hole in it.

The intersection where this happened had a one way arrow sign on a pole of the right hand side of the sidewalk on southbound Connecticut. This is the first light after coming out of the tunnel under Dupont Circle. Often times traffic rushes out from that tunnel at high speeds and people do not slow down to see that one way sign on the right. It's possible that the minivan driver did not see it, especially if he/surrounding traffic was speeding or if taller vehicles were blocking his view of the sign, especially as he was three lanes over in the far left lane (four lanes if you count the lane where cars are parked). There needs to be a no left turn and no u turn sign as well as a one way sign on the median pole so that those drivers in the far left lane have no doubt that it's a one way and they CANNOT turn there. Given that it's a major thoroughfare I'm surprised that it's missing the obvious sign on the median. Anyone who misses the one way sign on the right hand side of the sidewalk and does not see a no left turn/no u-turn sign could easily think that a left or u-turn there are permissible.

I pray for the person riding the motorbike. And I hope this tragedy reminds people to slow down and be aware of their surroundings (especially in front of them!) without distractions. But I also hope that justice is served if this driver was indeed making an illegal turn with the knowledge that it was a one way.

Posted by: jey3e1 | May 8, 2010 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Based on where the damage was to the front grill of the minivan, the minivan's directionality and position facing N street traffic, and the windshield damage, it's obvious that the motorbike was heading West on N Street at Connecticut and collided head on with the minivan - NOT heading North on Connecticut as it was mentioned by Ms. Smith in the article. Also, the motorbike was not "cut in half" nor was it "resting entirely underneath the truck (sic)." It was propped up, damaged and distorted with the front half askew and the tire in the air. There are some factual errors in the statement made by the couple in the article. I'm guessing the writer was not at the actual scene and able to verify their account.

This was a truly grisly accident and based on the number of police vehicles there (including that crime scene vehicle), the motorbike rider probably did not or may not survive.

Posted by: jey3e1 | May 8, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

"Based on where the damage was to the front grill of the minivan, the minivan's directionality and position facing N street traffic, and the windshield damage, it's obvious that the motorbike was heading West on N Street at Connecticut and collided head on with the minivan ...."

No career in accident reconstruction for you, Jey. The scooter was heading north on Conn in the middle lane. The Mazda made a VERY quick and last-second left from SB Connecticut and cut across the path of the scooter. The scooterist locked up her rear wheel and (I'm guessing) steered away from the car to miss it. Sadly, an experienced cyclist knows that turning the handlebar RIGHT is how you initiate a LEFT turn, so this action made her move toward the Mazda, rather than away, which could explain her motion toward the windshield. She hit at only a slight angle on the windshield, then slid across the Mazda and onto the ground.

A police officer had picked up the scooter before you got there, and put it on its center stand. Look at the picture/video above, which is before you got there.

And there *IS* a no-left-turn sign for SB Connecticut Ave, on a center pole in the median on the southern side of the intersection.

Posted by: GoTeamGoTeamGooooooTeamYay | May 8, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I have a friend who is a reserve police officer in DC and yesterday we were talking about the poor traffic signage in DC. He was specifically talking about how the "NO TURN ON RED" signs are often not directly below or above the signal lights, but posted on another pole, where people frequently miss them. He told me that traffic judges frequently dismiss moving violations for an illegal left turn on red when the drivers demonstrate that the sign wasn't near the lights. I think everybody who drives (anything) or walks in the District would benefit by better and larger signage.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 8, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Oops, I meant an illegal RIGHT turn on red, not a LEFT turn.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Are there any updates on the condition of the injured driver? I hope he/she is ok. Wpost hasn't updated this story and I can't find the story elsewhere.

Posted by: bberg991 | May 8, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Big surprise. Most SUV drivers don't think speed limits and traffic laws apply to them.

Posted by: checkered1 | May 8, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Big surprise. Most SUV drivers don't think speed limits and traffic laws apply to them.

Posted by: checkered1 | May 8, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

-----------------------------

Actually, that description would fit bicycle riders.

I'm not still sure whether the vehicle that hit the woman was an SUV, a Mazda sedan (which appears to be the car in the photo), or a minivan. And lots of idiots drive Smartcars and Priuses (as anybody in the HOV lanes on I-66 can tell you).

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 8, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

GoTeamGo said "And there *IS* a no-left-turn sign for SB Connecticut Ave, on a center pole in the median on the southern side of the intersection."

There's a no left hand turn sign there? I've never noticed it. Maybe it needs to be more conspicuous.

Posted by: willis929 | May 8, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

So much for "informed previous posters". I'm scratching my head, looking for a Mazda "van" in a scene where I only see a TOYOTA HIGHLANDER SUV. (http://www.welovedc.com/2010/05/07/breaking-news-intersection-n-st-and-connecticut-ave-nw-blocked-off-due-to-major-crash/) Hard to take the rest of what people say here factually when they can't even get the make and model of the SUV right. Highlander's are uniquely designed from 2008 onward, with tell-tale profiles and head/tail light assemblies.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse


So much for "informed previous posters". I'm scratching my head, looking for a Mazda "van" in a scene where I only see a TOYOTA HIGHLANDER SUV. (http://www.welovedc.com/2010/05/07/breaking-news-intersection-n-st-and-connecticut-ave-nw-blocked-off-due-to-major-crash/) Hard to take the rest of what people say here factually when they can't even get the make and model of the SUV right. Highlander's are uniquely designed from 2008 onward, with tell-tale profiles and head/tail light assemblies.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 8, 2010 6:08 PM
____________________________________

It's hard to take seriously anyone who thinks it relevant what style of vehicle was around the windshield that the scooter driver's head hit.

What if it was a "Crossover" and not a pure SUV or Minivan?

Should anyone care whether it was a Mazda or Ford or Honda or whatever?

Only an idiot would think the distinction worth mentioning in the first place. Only an even bigger idiot would spend even more time sleuthing the make and model.

Thoughts and prayers again for the young woman and her family and friends. They surely don't care what make, model or vehicle type the car was.


Posted by: DagnyT | May 8, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

i saw the whole thing happen. it was terrible. my heart goes out to the poor woman. the scene still haunts me.

Posted by: cubbydc | May 9, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I did not see the accident itself, though I saw the ensuing scene from seconds after hearing the horrible sound of a collision. The driver of the vehicle must have been distracted talking to his friend or on his cell phone because I didn't hear any screeching of brakes BEFORE I heard the thud of the collision. Moreover, regardless of whether the left hand turn was legal, the driver apparently thought it was legal and has a duty to execute it (or any other maneuver, legal or not) with due care. The Dupont Circle area up and down Connecticut is teaming with cyclists, scooterists, pedestrians and, of course, automobiles. Cautious operation of an automobile should be the rule under any circumstances, but in that area, failure to operate a vehicle cautiously can have tragic consequences.

Posted by: willis929 | May 9, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"Only an idiot would think the distinction worth mentioning in the first place. Only an even bigger idiot would spend even more time sleuthing the make and model."

Wow, DagnyT, miss your nappy time? Completely uncalled for response. The distinction is worth mentioning because accuracy equals credibility. I like to think people who call out others' mistakes ("If you paid attention to the informed contributors to this thread, you'd know that the vehicle in this case is not an "SUV." It's a minivan." -by DagnyT) would themselves be presenting accurate information. In a news article, credibility and accuracy are important.

As for being an idiot for "spending time sleuthing" the make and model...I didn't spend any time. Trying to find out an update on the cyclist's condition, I looked for alternatives to the WaPo, which likes to leave readers hanging. I simply noted in the very clear picture attached to the link I included in my comment that the vehicle was clearly a Highlander. I OWN ONE...I know what they look like from a glance. No sleuthing required.

Try not to expend too much brain power next time assuming things about other people and taking the whole comments section down to the level of third grade with ad hominem attacks. You made a mistake, as did GoTeam. The correct and civil response is: "Whoops! Thanks CS!"

Peace.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 9, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Cyan stated: "The correct and civil response is 'Whoops! Thanks CS!"

Wow. What a complete hypocrite.

The "correct and civil response" that should have been issued in your May, 8 post at 6:08 pm is "Please note, the vehicle is a Toyota Highlander. I know this because I own one." Period.

I hope you don't take things posted in a comments section as factual. This is not a crime lab where all the evidence has been observed and studied hands-on.

Posted by: willis929 | May 9, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Mea culpa.

It was I who wrote that the vehicle was a Mazda. My view is from six stories up, and from behind. Annoyed by the anti-SUV comments, eager to announce that it wasn't an SUV, I posted without verifying what someone in my office had said.

I also propagated another site's statement that the rider was female. That was incorrect, and I shouldn't have doubted my eyes.

Most importantly, I asserted that there is a No Left Turn sign for SB Connecticut traffic. While this WAS true in the past, and it was true AFTER the accident was cleared, the sign does not appear to be there DURING the accident (based on witness statements and the final photo on the WeLoveDC blog). Intriguingly, the Toyota driver may not have had fair warning that the turn was illegal (of course, that still wouldn't excuse failing to yield to oncoming traffic, causing the accident.)

Posted by: GoTeamGoTeamGooooooTeamYay | May 10, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

What is with people needing to fling around names to make their point? Geez...Willis, civility is expected when comments are not PERSONALIZED and targeted attacks, as my original post was. Once the attacks start, especially unwarranted ones, civility in return is rare. I never claimed to be Mother Teresa.

Dagny decided to take my original post personally and made his reply into an attack on me by calling me an idiot (I'm hurt...not.) I would be a better person in not even bothering to reply to it (or you for that matter). Now go on.

I appreciate GoTeam's response. Kudos for that respectful mea culpa and for sticking to topic. Thumbs up! We used to have a whole bunch of intelligent, well-informed and thoughtful commenters on this blog...Rich - where did you go? - and I think they've all disappeared (save for one or two who pop up like 1995hoo and ceefer66) due to the appreciable decline in the quality of the comments in the past year. I myself lurk 99 percent of the time, despite being an active commenter (still very much opinionated and interested in all kinds of transit issues) in the past, due to this very reason. You cannot have a discussion with the kinds of people that frequent this blog without it turning into a mud slinging match. Ugh. Sorry Dr. G.!

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 10, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I now understand what "civility" is. Civility is when you issue insulting remarks about a person or persons and do not specifically mention their name(s), even though everyone knows who you are talking about. I like it.

Posted by: willis929 | May 11, 2010 3:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company