William J. FordPrince George's County

Officials to Toughen Traffic Enforcement After Oxon Hill Crash Kills 3 Children

Days after three children were killed in a fiery crash in Prince George’s County, officials held a press conference Friday in Oxon Hill to encourage safer driving.

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks led the public outcry near the crash site along Route 210, also known as Indian Head Highway. The 21-mile road that stretches into Charles County has been marked by police and highway officials as one of the deadliest in the region.

Alsobrooks said the victims’ parents, Alexis and Juanita Meija of Falls Church, Virginia, remain hospitalized at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly. The family’s sedan was struck from behind by a speeding pickup truck after attending a worship service Sunday night.

The couple’s 5-year-old twins, Alexander and Rosalie, and 13-month-old son Isaac were killed in the crash.

“We believe it is important to come together to send a message that it is not business as usual on Route 210,” Alsobrooks said. “If you are speeding … we are going to be looking for you. 

“This is a death trap that should not be so,” she said. “No amount of enforcement will matter unless the community accepts its responsibility as well.”

A sign showing the number of traffic stops made by Prince George's County Police Department along Route 210 in recent years is displayed during a Jan. 4 press conference in Oxon Hill, days after three children were killed in a crash on the highway. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
A sign showing the number of traffic stops made by Prince George’s County Police Department along Route 210 in recent years is displayed during a Jan. 4 press conference in Oxon Hill, days after three children were killed in a crash on the highway. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Two posters highlighted the county’s traffic enforcement efforts on Route 210 the past three years. According to county data, police conducted 15,600 traffic stops and investigated 1,019 traffic accidents between 2016-18.

Prince George’s Police Chief Hank Stawinski said the department issued more 10,000 citations and made 70 traffic-related arrests along the highway last year. He said initiatives such as targeting aggressive and distracted driving, excessive speeding and DWI enforcement with checkpoints and roving patrols led to those numbers.

Although Route 210 is labeled a state highway, county police patrol it.

“This county executive has made it clear to me that we’ll continue this trend,” Stawinski said. “In 2019, you will see more traffic stops. You’ll see more citations. I ask that we all pause. We all [must] examine our driving behavior … throughout Prince George’s County.”

The man driving the truck, who investigators suspect was drunk, was briefly taken into custody but released pending toxicology results.

Stawinski said the driver’s license of the motorist who caused the crash has been suspended. However, state law provides motorists a provisional license to drive back and forth to their places of employment only.

The department will work with Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy to continue a detailed investigation before formally charging the driver, since the legal principle of double jeopardy prevents the driver from being charged twice for a single offense.

When the Maryland General Assembly reconvenes Wednesday to begin the 90-day session in Annapolis, Delegate Kris Valderrama (D-District 26) of Fort Washington will present legislation to allow a roving camera at various locations and add more speed cameras at non-intersections along Route 210.

Last year, Valderrama led an effort where lawmakers approved to hoist one camera that faces southbound at Route 210 and Old Fort Road near the Livingston Square shopping center in Fort Washington.

“When people hear ‘speed cameras,’ they hear ‘money generator,'” she said. “The first thing I said to my colleagues, ‘If it’s a money generator, then so be it. Slow down.’ The whole point of this is to save lives.”

Tags
Show More

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker