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Victims identified in fatal crash on Capital Beltway

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Just as the morning rush hour was starting to build on the beltway in District Heights, the unthinkable happened: A horrendous six-car accident that injured two and killed two.

(Photo: Mike Rudd/WJLA)

One of those killed, 41-year-old Candace Mays Hewitt, a television producer at the Pentagon channel, was on just her third day making the commute from her home in Davidsonville.

She had just switched jobs with longtime friend and colleague Jim Schaefer.

“Three weeks ago I would have been driving to the Pentagon and she would not be driving on that route,” he said. “A lesson how life can play cruel trucks on you.”

Candace Hewitt was an honored television veteran who worked five years as a producer at WJLA in the investigative unit. She also worked for ABC News before joining the Pentagon channel. She had just returned from a trip with her family to Kansas to watch her 10-year-old daughter compete in a track meet.

The crash started in the outer loop but spilled onto the inner loop as well, less than one-quarter mile south of Ritchie Marlboro Road.

Maryland State troopers closed the inner loop and portions of the outer loop of the Beltway. State Highway Administration personnel set up detours around the scene. Lanes were opened periodically on the inner loop and it was completely reopened shortly before noon.

Rodolfo U. V. Amaya, 31, of Oxon Hill, was also killed in the crash.

Amaya was driving a 1994 Honda Civic. Hewitt was driving a 2006 BMW 330.

Charline Starks, 50, of Waldorf, who was driving a 1997 Toyota Camry, and Jose I. Buevara, 30, of Laurel, who was driving a 2002 Toyota Rav4, were both taken to Prince George's Hospital for treatment.

The driver of a 2006 Ford Freestyle SUV was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was released without charges and is not being identified at this time due to pending charges. He was not injured.

Linda S. Pike, 56, of Crofton, was the sixth person involved. She was driving a 2010 Honda Accord. Her vehicle was struck by debris from the vehicle crashes around her. She was not injured.

State Police investigators continue to interview victims and witnesses, but have not definitively identified the specific cause of the initial collision that set in motion the subsequent chain of events.

Police say alcohol involvement is a possibility and is being considered.

From the Maryland State Police: The preliminary investigation indicates that the 2006 Ford Freestyle and the 1994 Honda Civic collided, while both were northbound on the outer loop. The Ford Freestyle went into a spin and came to rest in the ditch on the slow shoulder of the outer loop.

After colliding with the Ford Freestyle, the Honda Civic collided with the Toyota Camry, which was also northbound on the outer loop. Both the Honda and Toyota Camry then ran off the left shoulder of the roadway and crossed the median toward the inner loop. Both vehicles struck a guardrail in the median The Camry came to rest in the fast lane of the inner loop.

After striking the guardrail, the Honda Civic went airborne and landed on the roof of the BMW driven by Ms. Hewitt, who was traveling southbound on the inner loop. The Honda Civic rolled off the BMW and onto the roof of the Toyota Rav4, which was also traveling on the inner loop. The Honda Civic rolled off the Toyota Rav4 and came to rest in the middle of the inner loop. The Toyota Rav4 and the BMW both came to rest on the slow shoulder of the inner loop.

State Police investigators continue to interview victims of the crash and witnesses who saw what occurred. Troopers have not definitively identified the specific cause of the initial collision that set in motion the subsequent chain of events. Nothing has been ruled out at this time. Alcohol involvement is a possibility and is being considered.

 

(Photo: Mike Rudd/WJLA)

 

(Photo: Jummy Olabanji/WJLA)

 

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