Three Killed in Crash on River Road in Bethesda

Three family members were killed and a fourth was seriously injured in a car crash in Bethesda, Maryland, police said.

The crash happened at about 7 p.m. Saturday on River Road near Pyle Road. Police said a BMW was traveling west on River Road when it hit a Volt that was traveling east and attempting to turn left onto Pyle Road.

Four people in the Volt, two parents and two children, were all seriously injured from the collision. Michael Buarque De Macedo, 52, Alessandra M. Buarque De Macedo, 53, and Thomas Michael Buarque De Macedo, 17, later died.

Helena Buarque De Macedo, 16, has been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Helena is a sophomore at Walt Whitman High School; her brother, Thomas, was a senior.

"Tommy's the kind of kid whose larger-than-life," said sophomore Ray Crist. "He got into Georgia Tech. He was really excited to go there next year."

The driver of the BMW, Ogulkan Atakoglu, 20, was taken to a local trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries.

A lawyer for Atakoglu expressed his sympathies, but said his client did nothing wrong. 

"It is a tragedy, but Mr. Atakoglu was travelling straight, within the speed limit and the other car made a left in front of him," Attorney David Felsen said.

Some in the neighborhood want that left turn off River Road taken away and the median extended so turning isn't an option. 

"It's unregulated and it's extremely dangerous and hazardous as it is right now," said Richard Boltuck, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 20 years.

In 2008 he collected hundreds of signatures and comments of concern about the intersection. At first the idea was to put in a traffic signal, but now Boltuck just wants the turn to go away.


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Whitman High students, staff and buses use the turn as a back entrance to the school's parking lot.

The De Macedo family was going there for a school play. 

The State Highway Administration said it will conduct new tests at the intersection but pointed out an intersection with a traffic signal provides direct access to the school.

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the crash. No charges have been filed at this time.

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