Car Flipped at 16th and Park Road, NW


A reader reports:

“Car flipped on Park Road at 16th street. Police have closed Park going towards Mt Pleasant for now.”

UPDATE: “@dcfireems UPDATE: 1 pt transported w/serious but non-life threatening injuries”

68 Comment

  • How on earth did this happen?

    • +1. This is ridiculous.

    • I was just thinking that, I would love to see a video of how that car came to a rest upside down right in the middle of the road. Do you think the person driving said to him/herself “you know, I’m just not a very good driver?” They always have some excuse why it’s not their fault, but if your commute results in your wheels pointing straight up, it’s time to consider Metro.

    • I can’t for the the life of me figure it out. It looks like there is a stroller in the back too…I hope no one was hurt.

      • YES. I just saw this 4 hours late and at first thought it was someone I know! I freaked a little and texted her, but then realized it’s from earlier this morning. Same vehicle, including stroller in the back. I hope this driver will be okay and can get home safely to his/her child.

    • clearly the red van with the Maryland plates must have cut them off and caused them to flip.

  • Now THAT is impressive.

  • I still think if you manage to do this “unassisted” in a 25mph zone in DC you should get an automatic 5-year driving ban at the minimum.

  • That car had a short runway. I wonder how fast it was going.

  • Can anyone tell? Is it Maryland plates?

    • I zoomed in but I couldn’t tell. The blue/white layout makes me think VA

    • HaileUnlikely

      Definitely not MD plates. The blue-on-white and format of two characters, space, four characters suggests to me that it is a DC plate.

      • DC1

        Definitely a DC tag with the flag between the letters and numbers.

      • +1. I think this business about Maryland drivers being exceptionally bad is a myth. Sure, I see terrible driving in D.C. from Maryland drivers… but I also see it from D.C. drivers. And Virginia drivers.

        • I think everyone in the region drives badly in different ways. DC drivers can be too aggressive, MD drivers treat the city like a toilet and VA drivers all drive like their afraid a black person is going to jump out and force them to try to parallel park.

        • There are a lot of bad drivers in the region, but I do think that Maryland drivers are more reckless than the rest.

          • Based on data or anecdote?

          • @D: Based on my experiences trying to navigate Rockville and Silver Spring and the amount of times I’ve come thisclose to being hit, both as a pedestrian and as a driver. And based on the amount of times that I see reckless driving in DC and the driver has Maryland plates. There are idiot drivers all over the District and Virginia, but the really aggressive ones all seem to be Maryland drivers.

        • My experiences from multiple viewpoints (car driver, bus rider, pedestrian, bike rider, pedicab rider) is that, generally speaking, MD drivers are by far the most erratic/distracted/chaotic drivers on the road. DC drivers may be aggressive and VA drivers a bit me-firsty (as in, I’m skipping all traffic to merge at the last possible second), but MD drivers by and large are so unpredictable in their behaviour that I try to stay as far away from anyone with MD plates just to avoid getting into an accident.

          • I concur. Especially with the distracted thing. Seems like a majority of MD drivers are actively on their phones while driving.

  • Typical DC driver.

  • DC1

    If it hit one of the parked cars at the right angle, it is pretty easy to flip a car and it doesn’t necessarily need to be speeding.

    • How does one hit a parked car at 25 mph at the “right angle” and flip it? If the car doubled as a ramp with a compound angle?

      • DC1

        check out that first video…. speed is not a factor.

        • Sorry. I dont see how a car can hit a stationary object and flip at 25 mph. And your assertion that “speed is not a factor” doesnt make any sense. Of course speed is a factor in roll overs…

          • HaileUnlikely

            That is ok, no need to apologize for not understanding it, as this has no bearing on how stuff actually works. It can still happen, and is demonstrated clearly in the video above. It has to do with the location of the vehicle’s center of mass and characteristics of the suspension. At the extremes, this is relatively easy to do with a tall SUV with a soft suspension, and very difficult to do with a Formula 1 racecar. You are correct that the probability of rollover is not independent of speed, but I think the point that DC1 was making, correctly, is that this can happen at relatively slow speeds, and that excessive speed was not necessarily a factor.

          • Uh. No. In the video above, there are at least 2 other moving vehicles that came into contact with the subject vehicle. Again, at any angle, it makes no sense that a car moving at a slow rate of speed, hitting something that is stationary and generally car shaped, would flip over. Even a substantial “jerk” of the steering wheel, on a car with a low center of gravity, seems somewhere in such a low percent likelihood that it is basically impossible. At 35-45 mph I can see it. But being at or below the speed limit of 25mph, where is the force coming from to flip a 3000+ lb car??

          • +1. A Friend of mine flipped his car going 20. Hit a weird bump in the road and overcorrected trying to stay in his lane. Definition of freak accident.

          • HaileUnlikely

            In the first video, the fact that the first vehicle that the one that ended up rolling over was moving was irrelevant to what happened. This scenario roughly equivalent to the rollover-vehicle moving at a speed equivalent to the difference between its actual speed and the speed of the slower-moving vehicle that it struck. Given that both vehicles were moving in the same direction, the fact that the one in front was moving was basically irrelevant. The one that it contacted second was completely 100% irrelevant, as the rollover-vehicle was already well on its way to rolling over when it brushed against the second one.
            “Makes sense” is in the eye (or brain) of the beholder. I suspect that a nuclear physicist, a pianist, a poet, and a chef would find lots of room for disagreement about things in the world that do or don’t make sense. In this case, I’ll stipulate that it doesn’t “make sense,” in the sense of being intuitively obvious to the average person, that a low-speed collision can make a car roll over, and most low-speed collisions demonstrably do not make cars roll over, but it is possible and once in a great while it happens.
            I did not witness this specific case and have no idea whatsoever how fast this car was going. It is possible that it was going 80 mph. But it is also not impossible that it was going 20 mph.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Left out words: Regarding the first video, this scenario roughly equivalent to the rollover-vehicle moving at a speed equivalent to the difference between its actual speed and the speed of the slower-moving vehicle that it struck, *and the struck vehicle being stopped.*

          • On the video, I made assumptions, based on how the car on the left moved (the one that didnt flip) that it exerted some force on the car that did flip, as well as the car over correcting. Not only that, I see the car in front stop.. which provided force from another direction. So, impact on drivers side and front, and the steering wheel was jerked.

            What I cant see is a car basically sideswiping another car, jerking the wheel at 25mph, and flipping the car. Maybe its an SUV and that makes it more likely. There are an undetermined number of other cars involved in the accident… but probably just 1, the one the driver hit. And its still parallel to the parked cars… so, what scenario at 25mph would allow a car, with a low center of gravity, to hit a parked object that is mostly flat, that enough force is exerted to flip it and that it lands parallel? I mean, that almost certainly means the steering wheel wasnt jerked substantially. As the speed goes up, the necessary change of the steering wheel becomes more dramatic.

            So many things are possible, but I think this one isnt particularly reasonable or probable. The most rational explanation is that the driver was exceeding the speed limit, but at 35mph that provides a lot more force than 25, 45mph and I think the flip would be pretty easy to understand. Maybe I’m inferring too much from the position of the car and the seeming lack of other damage, but it still appears preposterous that a car can flip on a narrow street, land parallel, and be traveling at 25mph or under. I think its about as likely that the car was going 80mph as it was 25mph.

            At 45 mph, which I have observed is well within commonly attained speed in this situation by poor drivers, the car wouldnt need nearly as much of a change of direction from the steering wheel and a flatter angle on the impact with the car on the side to create this situation.

            At 25mph, maybe its possible, but the video doesnt really prove that. There are multiple forces on the car that flips, with multiple points of contact, and the car lands perpendicular. This one flipped like a pancake.

            Its probably silly to argue about this because there are a lot of variables we dont know. But, if I had to bet, I’d feel pretty safe saying this car was traveling faster than 25mph. Its possible I’m wrong, but its also possible a forklift flipped the car in a fit of rage.

          • The cars in the first one aren’t moving fast. It’s basic Galilean relativity that two large objects moving at some relative speed to each other is equivalent to one large object moving along relative to some stationary object (additive velocities as opposed to what you get in special or general relativity). If the moving object is moving at the right speed while one stands still it’ll be the equivalent of one of the objects moving at the same relative speed to some other moving object.

    • Good point. This explains why I see flipped cars everywhere on my daily commute. Hell, yesterday I could hardly get home due to the 4 cars flipped on my block. I asked one guy what happened and he told me he hit a parked car at the right angle, which coincidentally wasn’t 90 degrees.

  • How in the world do you flip a car on a narrow one way street like that???

  • Does the reader reporter know if any parked cars were damaged? That gold car is front is my boyfriend’s.

  • There is a school right there, I wonder is a kid running into the street had something to do with it. Mostly because I too cannot fathom how this happened.
    And yeah, that is definitely a stroller in the back. I hope everyone is okay.

  • samanda_bynes

    oh man, this was right down from my old place – when Park gets shut down like that, the whole area is a f*cking nightmare. sucks for anyone traveling this morn – glad to hear my sentiment echoed in this thread – mainly, how the hell does one do that??

  • I live in the neighborhood and I bet the driver was speeding to get through the light at 16th, lost control, hit a parked car or curb, flipping and sliding to rest in front of that apartment building just before the school.

    • Yeah, I live around the corner on 16th. People zoom down that stretch of Park Rd often. It always boggles my mind someone would zoom down a narrow street like that.

  • I am just shaking my head…it takes some impressive “Hollywood stunt driving skills” to flip a car going straight in a narrow roadway. I don’t care what speed they were going. Boggles the mind

  • I’ve saw a car flip right in front of me on Georgia avenue and Webster about 2 years ago. It wasn’t going incredibly fast, maybe 30 miles per hour. When it clipped a parked car it immediately flipped on to it’s side and skidded for for about 5 yards. Dude got out of the sun roof and we all just stood there like WTF.

  • Is that blood on the pavement? By the right rear fender of the red van?

  • I walk down this stretch of Park road every morning, and yes it’s a 25 MPH zone, but this street gets so backed up from the absurdly long traffic signal at 16th and park, that I’d say the average speed is probably closer to 5 MPH. I can’t even imagine how in the world this could possibly have happened.

  • I will tell you how this happened, since I saw the whole thing, and I’m the one who called it in.

    I believe the driver was startled by something and cut the wheel to avoid hitting it. I saw the car traveling westbound on Park and it cut immediately to the right, flipped, and came to rest on its top (as you can see.) As i was on the phone with dispatch, a lady crawled out and fished her baby out of the back.

    • Wow! I think I walked by you making the call. As I walked by someone brought a baby in a car seat out of the car. The car seat looked completely fine and the baby was awake and quiet…didn’t look hurt at all. Hope the person who was hurt is ok.

    • Blithe

      James, thanks for the information, and kudos for calling it in. I’m glad that the lady and the baby are relatively unscathed, and I hope that anyone else involved is okay.

    • James, if you had to guess, was the car speeding?

    • Ditto on thanks for the info & also for calling it in. That sounds so very scary. Glad to hear the baby seemed just fine. Wow, what a nutty accident.

  • How could someone have flipped a car going 25 MPH??

    (I just want to keep the fun going.)

  • Best guess is the car was going at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction on a one way street. As other cars approached the driver slammed on breaks and swerved. The impact of a parked car at an angle caused the SUV to flip.

  • Facts:

    –Most rollover accidents involve a single car. 60% happen during daylight hours on dry pavement.
    –Approx. half of all SUV rollovers were caused by a driver swerving for one reason or another.
    –Most SUV rollovers do NOT occur as a result of speeding (meanwhile most passenger car rollovers ARE a result of speeding).
    –SUVs account for the majority of rollover accidents.
    –SUV fatalities (in any kind of accident) have increased 27% since 1991, meanwhile fatalities in every other kind of vehicle have decreased since then. The total number of SUV accidents that have been rollover-type accidents have increased by 41%.
    –2/3 of fatalities in SUV rollovers are the drivers.
    –While most passenger car rollovers occur with teenage drivers, most SUV rollovers occur with drivers in their late twenties and early thirties.
    –73% of rollovers occur with male drivers.

    Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis

  • I came upon such a scene at 16 & Irving a few years ago. I actually heard the crash from Mt. P.

    Maryland Driver natch.

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