Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Man killed, several injured in crash on Indian Head Highway in Accokeek

(Click on the image for the Fox5DC report)
ACCOKEEK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A man was killed and several others were injured after a crash along one of the region's deadliest roadways.
Police say the crash was reported around 10 p.m. Monday on Indian Head Highway (MD-210) near Berry Road in the Accokeek area of Prince George's County.
Investigators believe two vehicles were slowing along southbound Indian Head Highway to turn at Berry Road when a third vehicle struck the second vehicle from behind. The impact, investigators say, caused the second vehicle to strike the first vehicle.
A passenger in the second vehicle was killed, police say. The driver of the second vehicle and the driver of the striking vehicle were hospitalized, officials say. The injuries to the person in the first vehicle are considered minor. The crash remains under investigation.
Indian Head Highway has the negative reputation as being one of the most dangerous roads in the region. A crash in December of last year along a stretch of the road in Oxon Hill left three children dead. In January, at least six vehicles were involved in a major crash near the intersection of Livingston Road.
FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick says since the beginning of 2019 law enforcement officers have issued over 3,500 traffic citations and have made at least 15 DUI arrest in the area of the highway. Road improvements to increase visibility and reduce speed have recently been made.
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski was at the scene of the crash and urged motorists to practice safe driving habits when behind the wheel. "I need my community, please, please, slow down, buckle up and put the phone away. That's my message once again -- slow down, buckle up, and please put the phone away," Stawinski said.
At this time there is one speed camera on Indian Head Highway at the intersection of Old Fort Road in the Friendly, Md. area and law makers have said they will push for more.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Spike in Marijuana-Impaired Driving in Maryland

(Click on the image for the News4 report)

Spike in Marijuana-Impaired Driving in Maryland, Police Say (News4)
By Scott MacFarlane, Rick Yarborough and Steve Jones, Feb. 18, 2019
  • Maryland State Police told the I-Team they have increased their training for troopers in detecting drug impairment during traffic stops. Though police did not directly link the increase in incidents to decriminalization of the drug, law enforcement officials said marijuana can significantly impair a driver’s abilities behind the wheel.
  • The number of vehicle crashes investigated by Maryland State Police that were linked to marijuana nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018. Over the same time period, the number of traffic violations linked to marijuana jumped by nearly 40 percent.
  • “There’s a perception that marijuana does not impair you like alcohol. That’s not true. You’re impaired,” said Mary Gaston, whose son was struck and killed by a driver who was under the influence of medicinal marijuana.
  • Colorado State Police told the I-Team they’ve seen a 74 percent increase in fatal crashes in the time since the state decriminalized marijuana in 2013. “Marijuana has been a part of that,” a trooper from Colorado said.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Area traffic crashes and fatalities a ‘serious public health issue’

(Click on the image for Kristi King's WTOP report)
  • Highway safety in the D.C. area is a “public health issue,” according to a local leader frustrated by steady year-over-year increases in traffic crashes, and a recent 45.76 percent jump in drunken driving fatalities.
  • “There’s nothing really to cheer about with respect to highway safety in this region,” former chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, David Snyder said.
  • Snyder notes the number of yearly crashes has risen from 52,318 in 2010 to 88,276 in 2017, “as result of ignoring the laws, driving too fast for conditions, being distracted, failure to wear seat belts — and as we’ve heard from these reports, we really haven’t won the war against driving under the influence either.”
  • “This is a serious public health issue, and the region needs to focus on this more than we have done so far,” Snyder said. “And it’s not just government — it’s each and every person out there on the roads.”
  • Maryland lawmakers are now considering legislation to make repeat drunk driving a felony punishable up to ten years. This is the third year in a row Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has proposed the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

District VII Crime Report: Feb 6-12, 2019

From Cpl. S.Rannacher, Cell 240-507-8110, sdrannacher@co.pg.md.us
There were 18 theft from autos reported in the county on Tuesday. We would like to see this number decrease. Please lock your car doors and remove all valuables.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Four Wheels Stolen - Capitol Hill Problem Happens Here Too

(Click on the image for Meagan Fitzgerald's News4 report)
And when you replace the stolen wheels, the thieves come back to get your brand-new wheels!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Community Demands Changes to Indian Head Highway

(Click on the image for Jackie Bensen's News4 report)

Also, from Michelle Basch (WTOP):
As promised, police ticket drivers on Indian Head Highway at furious pace
WASHINGTON — Following a December crash that left three children dead, the latest in a long string of tragedies, Prince George’s County police promised more enforcement along Indian Head Highway.
Not even a month and a half into the new year, they are delivering on that pledge.
So far in 2019, the department has handed out more than 3,000 tickets along Route 210. Last year, 10,000 tickets were issues in total.
“What we really need to do is change driver behavior,” 7th District Commander Major Timothy Muldoon said at a community meeting Monday night in Fort Washington. “Warnings are great, but I don’t think anything sends a message and changes driver behavior like writing a ticket.”
A DUI checkpoint set up last Thursday on Route 210 was announced in advance, but still got results.
“In that effort they got 5 DUIs, which for a checkpoint is pretty high,” Muldoon said, adding that heavy fog forced police to shut down the checkpoint early and patrol the area in general.
Fifteen DUI arrests have been made along Indian Head Highway so far this year. Muldoon said that this week, his department is teaming up with state troopers to do some more enforcement.
“Maryland State police is going to come down and assist us with some patrols along the 210 corridor.”
Muldoon is telling officers to make their presence felt on Indian Head Highway, and write tickets. And he is joining them in the effort.
“I’ll be out there writing tickets, so if you see my black SUV don’t go zipping by it, because I have my ticket book … on my front seat,” he said.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

An old tax scam — with a troubling new twist

(Click on the image for Michelle Singletary's Washington Post report)
[Michelle wrote this last year but it is relevant in this tax season.]
  • Cybercriminals steal people’s data from tax professionals, including routing and bank account numbers. The crooks file fraudulent tax returns. Fake refunds are then direct deposited into taxpayers’ real bank accounts.
  • In one version of this scam, the criminals then contact victims claiming to be from a debt-collection agency, and they say the refunds were deposited in error. They claim they are now trying to get the refund back for the IRS.
  • In another version of this racket, a taxpayer gets a menacing recorded telephone message about the deposited refund. Someone claiming to be from the IRS threatens the person with arrest, criminal fraud charges and a warning that his or her Social Security number will be “blacklisted.” People are given a case number and then a telephone number to call to arrange the return of the refund, the IRS said.