- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2003


A car crashed through a dead-end street and onto the Metro tracks near the Silver Spring station yesterday afternoon, shutting down service on the Red Line just as the evening rush hour began.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said it appeared the car ran through the dead end on Ripley Street, off Georgia Avenue. It missed a fire hydrant by inches, barreled through a chain-link fence, over the MARC train tracks and onto the Metro tracks. It came to rest on the southbound Metro track. Mr. Piringer estimated the car traveled about 70 feet after leaving the roadway.

The driver of the car got out and ran away, Montgomery County police spokesman Officer Derek Baliles said. Officers found him in a Metro service building and took him to a hospital. His condition was not disclosed.

Metro workers found another man in the car, who was taken to a hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, Mr. Piringer said.

The incident at 3:10 p.m. smashed both of Metro’s electrified third rails, which power the subway trains, shutting down traffic between the Forest Glen and Fort Totten stations. Metro used 20 shuttle buses to get passengers to the Takoma and Silver Spring stations.

MARC trains on the Brunswick Line began running between Union Station and West Virginia after about a 90-minute delay once CSX Corp., which owns the tracks, determined it was safe.

A crane was was brought in to lift the car off the rails. However, repairs had to be done to the tracks before Red Line service could resume.

Limited service was restored to the Silver Spring station at about 6:40 p.m., Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said. She was unsure when full service would be restored.

Officer Baliles said police were trying to determine if the driver was in legal possession of the car. The car was not being pursued by police, he said.

The driver, who was not identified, wasn’t immediately charged because the investigation is ongoing.

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