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Spate of Hit and Run Crashes in D.C. Metro Area

Aaa | , Special to Informer | 10/13/2011, 12:23 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D. C. - A hit-and-run driver has claimed the life of another pedestrian in the Washington metro area. The area's most recent hit-and-run incident happened late Tuesday night (Oct. 11) near the intersections of Montgomery Rd. and Baltimore Ave. in Beltsville. The fatal crash emerges as the second hit-and-run crash in five days.

And, since January, there have been at least 20 hit-and-run crashes in the Greater Washington area, according AAA Mid-Atlantic, which has been actively tracking such incidents.

"In every state and jurisdiction it is the duty of each driver involved in an accident causing the bodily injury or the death of another person, personal injury or property damage, for that matter, to remain on the scene," said John B. Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of Public and Government Affairs. "This is the social contract and the sacred duty that we owe to others in case of an accident. Yet, we are seeing a disturbingly high number of drivers fleeing the scene after causing the death of another human being on area roads. That's cold-hearted, callous and unconscionable."

This month's tragedies are a continuance of the spate of hit-and-run crashes on area roads that started in January and has resulted in 20 such accidents. Even so, 80 percent (16 out of the 20) of this year's hit-and-run crashes were fatal, resulting in the deaths of 13 pedestrians, two motorcyclists, and a bicyclist, according to an analysis of area traffic fatality data by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

All 50 states have laws on the books governing hit-and-run crashes. It is against the law in the District of Columbia to flee "from the scene of an accident." Maryland law requires "the driver of each vehicle involved in an accident that results in the bodily injury or the death of another person" to "immediately stop the vehicle as close as possible to the scene of the accident." It is a felony to leave a crash scene involving the injury or the death of another person in Virginia, where the law also requires the driver to "render reasonable assistance" to any person injured.