- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eight persons were killed early today when a car plowed into a crowd gathered to watch an illegal street race in Accokeek, Md.

Prince George’s County police said a white Ford sedan hit the crowd of about 50 spectators standing around the sides of Route 210 at about 3:40 a.m.

The sedan, its blood-spattered roof crumpled, could still be seen this afternoon as police collected evidence from a crime scene that spanned more than 200 yards along a flat stretch of Route 210, about 20 miles south of the District. The area of Route 210, also known as Indian Head Highway, has a speed limit of 55 mph.

Four other persons were taken to area hospitals. Their condition was not immediately known.

“There were just bodies everywhere; it was horrible,” said Crystal Gaines, 27, whose father was among the dead. Miss Gaines said she grabbed her child but could not help her father, William Gaines Sr., 61. “He wasn’t breathing, he wasn’t moving,” she said. “His body was in pieces.” Police said one of the persons appeared to have been struck by a tractor trailer that was traveling in the opposite direction. Police Capt. Donald Frick said that the driver of the white Ford was not seriously injured and that he was not a participant in the race. Police initially said that a passenger in the vehicle was among the dead, but later said the person killed was a spectator who had become lodged in the windshield. The driver has not been charged and police are still searching for the cars involved in the race. Witnesses said they had just watched two cars in the illegal street race speed past when a car without any lights on came up behind them and veered into the crowd, which had collected in the street. Police did not confirm that the Ford was traveling without its headlights. Police cordoned off a wide area of the roadway, covering much of the scene with white sheets. Still, blood could be seen in the roadways. Several family members of victims returned to the accident scene this morning and were shown photographs as police attempted to identify the victims. John Courtney said after viewing one of the images that his brother, Mark, 33, was among the dead. “He liked going to the race track, watching races,” Mr. Courtney said. “It’s going to take a toll on my family for a long time.” This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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