2 die in crash after police chase on parkway

March 08, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt and Jackie Powder | Laura Barnhardt and Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Two teen-agers died in a fiery car crash on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway early yesterday after being chased for five miles by U.S. Park Police, authorities said.

A 17-year-old passenger in the Dodge Neon survived the accident near Route 32, where the car sped out of control and hit a tree before igniting, police said.

The crash closed the northbound lanes of the parkway between Routes 198 and 32 for five hours.

The pursuit began about 3 a.m. near the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, police officials said.

A U.S. Park Police officer had pulled over the Dodge for a violation involving the vehicle's license plate. The car had a temporary tag, said Sgt. Scott Fear, a spokesman for the Park Police.

As the officer approached the stopped Dodge, Fear said, the driver sped off, continuing north on Route 295.

Two other Park Police patrol cars joined the chase, following the Dodge for about five miles, Fear said.

North of Route 198 near Maryland City, the Dodge ran off the right side of the highway, hit a tree and burst into flames, police said.

Anne Arundel County firefighters extinguished the fire, which had engulfed the car within 10 minutes, but they were unable to rescue the teen-age boy and girl. Officials think the teen-agers were both 16 and from Washington. They died at the scene.

Park Police investigators did not release the names of the victims yesterday. Investigators were attempting to confirm their identities through dental records.

The 17-year-old survivor, who lives in Prince George's County, got out of the car on his own and ran up an embankment toward a wooded area near the highway, Fear said. An officer stopped him and took him into custody for questioning.

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