Two people died in a single-car accident Thursday morning on University Boulevard in Silver Spring, Md.
Investigators say three women were heading southbound in a black Nissan Murano near Heron Drive when the driver lost control at about 3 a.m. The vehicle careened across several lanes of traffic, and shot up the hill of a front yard along the boulevard. The SUV came to rest on top of a brick retaining wall, five feet off the sidewalk.
Police say the driver and a backseat passenger died in the crash. A third woman was transported to the hospital following the crash, but was expected to survive.
Authorities identified the driver as Jenice Richards, 22, of Hyattsville, and the other fatal victim as Tamara Nicole Johnson, 19, also of Hyattsville. Police said Johnson was a passenger in the back seat and may not have been wearing a seatbelt.
DeSaleen Rayna James, 18, of Silver Spring was riding in the vehicle's front seat and was listed in serious condition. Johnson and James both graduated from Northwest High School this past June, according to News4's Chris Gordon.
Family members told Gordon that the women had been returning from a birthday party in Silver Spring, and another car full of friends had been following. The occupants of that vehicle called police and family members of the victims.
Investigators spent much of Thursday morning working in the closed eastbound lanes of University Boulevard, trying to determine what caused the crash. Pieces of the SUV littered the roadway, and some pieces were tangled in the phone lines overhead.
Captain Paul Starks told News4 that speed, alcohol, the lay of the road, and use of seat belts were all being looked at in the investigation, but police have yet to draw any conclusions.