- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Police on Tuesday were investigating the cause of a six-car crash on the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County that killed two people, seriously injured two others and closed the Inner Loop through the morning rush hour.

The collision took place on Interstate 495 near Ritchie Marlboro Road, Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said.

Preliminary reports show the crashes began when two cars traveling northbound on the Outer Loop struck one another around 6:30 a.m., sending one vehicle into a ditch and the other soaring across the traffic median and flipping onto the roofs of two cars in the Inner Loop lanes.

The driver of the airborne vehicle, 31-year-old Rodolfo Amaya of Oxon Hill, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Candace Hewitt, 41, of Davidsonville, Md., also died on the highway after Mr. Amaya’s 1994 Honda Civic rolled onto her 2006 BMW 330.

The driver of the 2006 Ford Freestyle SUV - the first car to collide with Mr. Amaya’s vehicle - was questioned by police, but later released, Mr. Shipley said.

The driver was not identified. Police said they are still considering whether alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Two Maryland adults were taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesman Mark Brady said that by the time all the cars had come to a stop, “there were vehicles from one shoulder to another,” which resulted in the Inner Loop’s closure while investigators documented the accident and rescuers cleared the highway.

The lanes were completely reopened shortly before noon.

In the District, another early-morning fatal crash clogged Northeast streets, leaving one woman to give birth in traffic.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said the new mother called 911 around 5:15 a.m. when she began having contractions in her car as she waited for the accident between a motorcyclist and truck to be cleared near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Eckington Place in Northeast.

The dispatcher assisted with the delivery of the child, Mr. Piringer said, and moments later the ambulance arrived to transport the two to the hospital.

“Everybody’s doing fine,” Mr. Piringer said. “It was time for the youngster to come out and join us in the world.”