The driver of the SUV that struck and critically injured a 17-year-old boy says he was trying to get away from a group of males throwing rocks at his vehicle.
The victim, a Wheaton High School student, was struck by the black Chevrolet Avalanche SUV just after 7 p.m. Thursday at a shopping center parking lot near the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Randolph Road in Wheaton.
"Initially we thought it was a hit-and-run, but [around 10 p.m.] the [three] occupants of the striking vehicle came into the police station, and began telling us a version of their story," Capt. Paul Starks with Montgomery County Police said.
Police say the 21-year-old driver told investigators that he and his friends were eating inside the Burger King when they noticed a group of males watching them from outside the restaurant. When they left the restaurant, the man says a group of five to ten males ran at them and later threw rocks at their vehicle.
Fearing for his safety, the 21-year-old drove out of the parking lot. He says he didn't know he struck someone.
Detectives examined the SUV and found evidence that rocks had been thrown and a pedestrian had been struck.
Investigators believe the teen may have been struck by the SUV as the driver attempted to get away from the group.
What actions the pedestrian may or may not have taken prior to the accident remain under investigation.
Anyone who was in the area around 7 p.m. is asked to call police at 301-279-8000 with information.
"We need independent witnesses who were in this parking lot near the Burger King or the Unique Thrift store," Starks said. "They may have seen something that can help us."
As of late Thursday evening, the victim was in grave condition at an area hospital.