Washington DC

3 Killed, 2 Hurt in Rock Creek Parkway Crash After Driver Flees Traffic Stop

Rock Creek Parkway was closed between K and P streets NW for nearly 10 hours but has since reopened

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Three people are dead, and two others are injured, after a crash early Wednesday on Rock Creek Parkway in Washington, D.C., involving a vehicle that fled a traffic stop, police said.

U.S. Park Police said that before the crash, an officer stopped a Lexus SUV on Rock Creek Parkway south of Virginia Avenue.

The driver fled. The officer didn’t pursue them and cleared the traffic stop, police said.

"We have policies and procedures that guide our actions," Sgt. Thomas Twiname of U.S. Park Police said. "Our officers are required to abide by those policies and procedures, and in this instance, the officer determined that the vehicle that fled did not meet the criteria for a pursuit."

Shortly after the driver fled, officers responded to a devastating two-vehicle crash on Rock Creek Parkway, just south of the P Street exit, police said. It happened about 1:40 a.m. and was less than a mile from where the vehicle had been stopped.

“The vehicle that the officer stopped fled that traffic stop,” Twiname said. “The officer did not pursue the vehicle. They cleared Rock Creek Parkway and were en route to another assignment. While en route to that other assignment, this crash was dispatched. When they responded to the scene, they were able to confirm that one of those vehicles involved in the crash was the vehicle that fled that traffic stop.”

The Lexus crashed with a Honda Accord, killing three men in the Accord, according to Park Police. A woman in the Lexus suffered life-threatening injuries and a man suffered non-life threatening injuries.

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Their names and ages have not been released.

"The moving pieces that are going on in this investigation — investigators are working to get a total picture of what's going on, and as they work through that, there's just some details that we're not able to provide at this time," Twiname said.

Police have not said why the driver of the Lexus fled the traffic stop, but there is body-worn camera video from the officer who stopped the car to review. According to Department of Motor Vehicles records, there are 44 outstanding citations associated with the tags on the Lexus totaling $12,300 since May.

Morning and midday commuters were advised to avoid the area and find an alternative to Rock Creek Parkway.

Rock Creek Parkway between K and P streets NW was shut down for nearly 10 hours after the crash, as was the parkway entrance at Massachusetts Avenue, officials said. U.S. Park Police said about 11:30 a.m. that all road closures have reopened.

Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.

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