P.G. Co. police investigating I-495 crash Witnesses report gunfire in D.C. Beltway accident

September 06, 1998|By Jamal E. Watson | Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF

Prince George's County police said they were investigating yesterday whether gunfire on the Capital Beltway caused a Capitol Heights man to veer off the busy highway during the Friday evening rush hour and crash in a wooded area.

Police found the body of Charles Frederick Carson, 33, inside his two-door gray Acura about 6 p.m in the woods off the northbound exit ramp of Interstate 495 at Pennsylvania Avenue.

Police combed the area because of reports from several witnesses who said they saw a car veer off the road into a ditch after they heard several shots. When police located the car, they found Carson dead inside, and alone.

"Right now, we have not determined whether this was an accident or whether the victim was shot," said Cpl. Tora Coates, a county police spokeswoman.

Coates said police continue to investigate the possibility of a shooting.

"We haven't verified whether or not there was a shooting," Coates said. "We're investigating based on what witnesses say they saw."

Coates said Carson's car was heavily damaged and his body had severe injuries, but she did not know whether Carson or his car had been struck by bullets.

"That has yet to be determined," Coates said.

"There will be an autopsy done to determine whether he was hit by a bullet," she said.

Reports of the shooting prompted authorities to close three northbound lanes of the beltway, causing a three-hour backup and traffic headaches for motorists beginning Labor Day holiday travel.

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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