- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2001

A high-speed duel early yesterday morning led to one man's death and another man being seriously injured after they were ejected from their car when it hit a swath of trees in front of The Washington Times building.
District police are investigating the accident, which happened about 5 a.m. after two cars raced eastbound down New York Avenue NE.
One car a 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse veered onto a service road that leads to The Times building.
The other car a white Pontiac Grand Am continued traveling down New York Avenue as it turned into Route 50 east.
"The Mitsubishi went down the entranceway, loses control, hits several trees and parked cars," said Lt. Bridget Sickon of the District police's major crash unit.
Lt. Sickon said both men in the Mitsubishi were ejected from the car. One man died at the scene and the other 26-year-old Vernon Wright of Baltimore suffered serious injuries and was taken to Washington Hospital Center.
Police are withholding the name of the man who died until next of kin are identified, but did say he is from Baltimore. The car is legally registered in Pennsylvania. Lt. Sickon could not say who the driver was because both occupants were thrown from the car and police are still investigating the crash.
Alcohol appeared to play a role in the accident, Lt. Sickon said, but speed was the largest contributing factor.
Police are investigating two angles, Lt. Sickon said.
First: The two cars were drag racing.
Second: The driver of the white Pontiac was a woman trying to elude the Mitsubishi because she felt threatened, Lt. Sickon said.
Police sources said the men in the Mitsubishi may have made "some rude or threatening gestures" toward the woman in the Pontiac, and she may have fled because she was scared.
Lt. Sickon said police were trying to determine why the driver of the Mitsubishi went down the side road and crashed.
The car's erratic, pinball journey down the narrow service road knocked down a half-dozen trees, totaled a 1983 Pontiac and created an utter mess on the road before ending up on its side at the gated National Arboretum entrance by The Times' building.
One of the trees it knocked down crushed the hood and front window of the Pontiac. A tall orange road work sign was flapping in the wind yesterday afternoon, supported by a single wooden post after the car took out the other.
Police said criminal charges may be filed against Mr. Wright if he is determined to have been the driver. They are asking the woman driving the white Pontiac to call the department's major crash unit at 202/727-6698.


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