50-300 people wearing dark clothing standing in a highway at 3:40am. Too many survived.
Eight persons were killed and five were injured early yesterday when a car plowed into a crowd gathered to watch an illegal street race in Accokeek.
Prince George's County police said a white Ford Crown Victoria that came down the road after the racers had started off plowed into a crowd of spectators who had been standing along Route 210 at about 3:40 a.m. to watch the contest.
Police said the race began on Route 210, also known as Indian Head Highway, near the intersection with Pine Drive. Witness accounts of the number of spectators varied from 50 to 300. The cars involved in the race spun their tires, kicking up smoke before they headed northbound on the four-lane road, which is divided by a grassy median.
Cpl. Copeland said that when the race began, many of the spectators stepped into the street to get a better view as the cars pulled away.
The Crown Victoria came up from behind, speeding northbound when it ran into the spectators, crossed over a small embankment off the right shoulder and came to rest on a road that runs parallel to the highway.
The impact left the bodies of the victims strewn over 50 feet.
One of the victims who had been standing in the crowd became lodged in the windshield of the Crown Victoria, leading police initially to say that a passenger in the car was killed. Another victim was dragged in the undercarriage of the car.
Police said one of the victims appeared to have been struck by a tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite lanes as people scattered away from the accident scene. Police could not confirm the report, and later said the tractor-trailer may have struck a body that had been thrown across the median by the impact of the accident.
Seven persons were declared dead at the scene and an eighth died at an area hospital.
The driver of the Crown Victoria suffered only minor injuries, was interviewed by police and was not charged in connection with the incident. Police were still searching for the cars that were involved in the race.
Police said the tire smoke and the darkness contributed to the accident. The area of Indian Head Highway where the accident occurred is about 20 miles south of the District, near the line with Charles County and is not illuminated by streetlights. The speed limit on the flat stretch of road is 55 miles per hour.
Perhaps the Darwin Awards will consider a group application.
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