- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

Speed and alcohol likely were factors in a head-on crash that killed an assistant hotel manager in Northwest early yesterday morning, the second fatal collision in the District this year, police said.

Authorities said Kadri Atalay, 42, of Gaithersburg was speeding in the 3300 block of Wisconsin Avenue in a Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle just before 2 a.m. when he crossed into the northbound lanes.

The SUV crashed into a Chrysler Sebring that was headed southbound and pushed it into a parked vehicle, Metropolitan Police Officer Israel James said. The SUV continued on the northbound lanes of Wisconsin Avenue and struck a parked car before flipping onto its top, he said.

The driver of the Sebring, Diarmuid O’Brien, 29, was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead just after 3 a.m., authorities said. A spokeswoman for the Courtyard by Marriott Northwest identified Mr. O’Brien and said that he was an assistant manager at the hotel, at 1900 Connecticut Avenue.

Mr. Atalay, who was taken to the hospital with injuries not thought to be life-threatening, was charged with second-degree murder.

“Speed and alcohol appear to be contributing factors,” Officer James said.

Officials at the hotel where Mr. O’Brien worked said yesterday that Mr. O’Brien had relocated to the District from Ireland in September.

“With a quick smile and inevitable Irish wit, he was liked and respected by all,” officials said in a written statement.

Drinking and driving is a constant problem on D.C. roads, Officer James said. “It’s something that we need to continue to enforce,” he said.

Yesterday’s crash was the second fatal collision in the District so far this year. Both wrecks occurred in Northwest.

A man died Sunday, two days after his car was struck by an SUV that ran a red light at Georgia and Missouri avenues, police said.

The District had 41 fatal crashes last year.

The streets in Northwest have been particularly dangerous for pedestrians in the past four weeks.

Five persons have been killed in the quadrant so far this year, including two Alexandria women who were fatally struck by a Metro bus Wednesday at Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Pedestrians also have been killed on Park Road and New York and New Hampshire avenues.

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