Terrible Motorcycle/Car Crash Closes 16th Street


A reader reports just after 10:30am:

“16th Street, NW closed in both directions since about 10:30 between Taylor and Upshur. A motorcycle going south crashed into a Prius turning left onto Upshur. Police officer at the scene says the motorcycle driver is alive. I saw a little girl being transported. The motorcycle was in a burnt up heap in the middle of the street. Traffic is being diverted down Webster and Varnum.”

michael sends us the photo above around 1pm.

59 Comment

  • As of 2:30 pm, intersection is still closed due to police investigation. Motorcycle driver was killed on scene.

  • The motorcyclist be in better shape than you might. I had what sounds like a similar accident years ago. Someone coming from the other way didn’t see me and took a quick left in front of me, and I went over the hood. Not saying that’s what happened here, but the collision looks similar.

    Anyway, my motorcycle was completely totaled, but as banged up as I was at first (concussion, broken nose, a whole lotta bruising), I was walking again in a couple days and recovered fully. Hope it’s the same story here…

    • Er, *might be in better shape than you might guess. I swear I really am recovered from that concussion…

  • Intersection is opening up now, as of 3 pm. As for the motorcyclist, as I noted earlier, s/he did not survive. The motorcycle caught fire instantly into a fireball, which took a good amount of chemical extinguisher to put out. The ambulance came, but nothing could be done. No heroics, just took the body away.

  • I’m told the motorcyclist has died. He/she hit the passenger side door of the Prius, which was pretty badly damaged, and the motorcycle burst into flames. 16th has finally reopened. Awful accident.

  • If the car was turning left across traffic, it was almost surely at fault in the accident, and the description “a motorcycle going south crashed into a Prius turning left” is misleading as it implies it was the motorcyclist’s fault. There are, of course, some scenarios where the motorcycle could have been at fault (I.e. Running a red light while oncoming traffic had the left-turn arrow) but it’s a lot more common that a car driver turns across the oath of the motorcycle, leaving too little time for the biker to react.

  • Ugh. Let’s hope that Prius driver goes to jail. There’s no excuse for inattention on the road. A single mistake can easily kill someone in the city.

    • In all likelihood, jail is the least of this driver’s concerns. The real punishment is a lifetime of knowing that second you didn’t pay attention cost someone else (and his/her family) everything. If it were me, throw me in jail, whatever. I’d never sleep again.

    • Do we know the Prius driver was in the wrong? If they are, then yeah, I agree with you, but what if she had the right of way, or was already in the act of turning when the motorcycle acted recklessly? I’ve seen more motorcyclist than I can count drive like maniacs on the beltway, and don’t even get me started on bicyclists and their apparent belief that traffic laws do not apply to them.

      • Those vagabond cyclists are ruining this city! /s

        This is a tragic event that illustrates when we operate a 2,000 lbs. machine, we should exercise great caution.

        • We should exercise great caution operating a 2000lb vehicle, a 20lb vehicle or a 200lb vehicle. Cars, bikes and motorcycles can all cause tragic accidents and unfortunately, just from my personal experience I’ve encountered many reckless motorcycles speeding and weaving through traffic. A car cannot weave through traffic. I’ve also almost been hit countless times, as a pedestrian in a crosswalk, by bikers who think the traffic laws don’t apply to them simply because they’re inconvenient. So no, it’s not always the car’s fault simply for weighing 2000lbs.

        • “This is a tragic event that illustrates when we operate a 2,000 lbs. machine, we should exercise great caution.”
          To be fair, society could exercise caution by not allowing sub-2000lb vehicles to interact with plus 2000 lb vehicles. Separate the modes.

    • HaileUnlikely

      If you witnessed the crash, I hope you remained on the scene to give the police your statement. If you did not witness the crash, leave it to the professionals and to the actual witnesses.

  • I pulled up on the accident right after it happened. If true breaks my heart to hear that he has died. On the other hand it was really reassuring to see the way the people responded to the whole situation. Two people put their own lives at risk to pull him out of out of the burning motorcycle just bring him to safety as it was on the verge of exploding. They were using their own clothes to pat the flames but it was pretty obvious he was in bad shape already. Heart goes out to his family. Terrible terrible accident.

    • My 15 year old brother was 1 of the individuals that pulled him out.

      • Thank God for your brother. He came to me as I was trying unsuccessfully to pull the cyclist out and said ‘let’s pull him by grabbing his backpack.’ We were then able to move him out of the flames. I could not have moved him without your brother. We did what we could.

        • If he lived you both saved his life. At the very least you are a hero for trying as the flames were as intense as I’ve ever seen.

          Is there definitive word on whether the cyclist made it?

          • I have been in contact with a police officer who has informed me that as of now, Oct. 18 at 12:56 pm, the motorcyclist is alive. He is being treated at a nearby hospital. Grateful to all who came and helped! Especially to the young 15 yr. old. We are no heroes, just people who tried to help give this man a fighting chance.

  • I’m fairly certain I saw this motorcycle going at a very high rate of speed while weaving around traffic just seconds before the accident at Webster and 16th. This is very sad but I wouldn’t be too quick to attribute blame to the Prius driver.

    • Even if motorcycle speeding, would have to be going insanely fast for a car to turn without any clue that there was oncoming traffic, and for the motorcycle to have no chance to avoid. 16th street is a straight shot. Factors that would change my initial impression: (1) turn arrow – and motorcyclist blew red light or (2) motorcyclist under influence so did not react normally. So, no, we don’t know what happened. But 95% likely when motorcyclist slams into passenger side of car turning across traffic…car at fault.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Somewhere in between the scenario of the car turning when the motorcycle was basically *right there* and the scenario of the motorcycle being so far back that the driver didn’t have any clue that there was any oncoming traffic at all is the more probable scenario that the driver could *see* the motorcycle and recognize that it was a good distance back from the intersection but did not realize that it was approaching fast enough to reach the intersection before he/she could complete the turn. Not saying this is what happened–you might be right, I might be right, or more likely there are important facts that neither of us thought of and we are both completely wrong–just saying leave it to the professionals.

        • I clearly say I don’t know what happened and I’m talking percentages in hypothetical situations. So everyone just calm down.

          • “I’m talking percentages”
            So do you have some authority for those percentages, or have you just reduced your idle speculation to numbers, hoping to cloak it in the veneer of researched statistics?

          • I have not conducted a scientific study. I’m not a “professional” on this topic. I have common sense and a brain and real life experience. Two cars hit head on? The car who went over the line prob at fault. Car gets broadsided turning left across oncoming traffic? The turning car prob at fault. No physics degree needed, folks. Serious question: do you know this Prius driver or something? There are a couple of folks here who are really touchy about any discussion of this accident.

          • I don’t have any opinion on who is at fault here, not do I particularly care. I do find is pretty ridiculous when people who don’t know anything about what actually happened (other than a blog post) try to cloak themselves in credibility by citing statistics they just made up. I decided to point that out. Your response is to question whether I know the driver, rather than say, “You know what? You’re right, I did just make up those numbers to try to prove my point. I’ll try to be more intellectually honest next time.” I think it’s pretty clear that it’s not me who is overly invested in this topic.
            Also, no, suggesting that, when someone calls you out idle speculation that you try to dress up with “I’m taking percentages” is very

          • Oh good grief. I assumed that when I said “95% of the time…” that folks would be able to discern that I mean “most of the time” instead of “i am representing that I am aware of a peer reviewed scientific study, which i am now quoting, the results of which indicated…” Pretty sure everyone was – even you. But thank you for making me laugh with “cloak in the veneer of researched statistics.”

        • “leave it to the professionals”
          What professionals? Popville commenters are not much different than the jury that will get to determine fault.

          • Exactly. Also, I don’t understand the problem with people discussing generally the possible things that could have happened. It’s called thinking? And it’s pretty harmless. Not like there is going to be a trial, and the judge is going to be like – “Well, jury, there does not appear to be a YouTube video of this incident, so please consider these random blog comments of people who say they don’t know what happened but are discussing possible scenarios.”

          • HaileUnlikely

            That isn’t how it works. Juries do not get to determine fault. If the driver is charged with a crime, a jury gets to decide whether to convict or acquit, and if somebody files a civil suit, a jury gets to decide who pays and how much, but that is a different matter. A jury does not get to determine fault.

          • HaileUnlikely

            No harm in discussing possible scenarios. But much of what’s going on on this thread is going beyond discussing possible scenarios and vilifying one of the parties based on virtually no information.

          • “a jury gets to decide who pays”=determining fault. You only pay if you are liable for negligence. When the jury determines which party will pay they are determining who is at fault.
            This is a car crash, unless you can find intentional behavior or recklessness (drinking/drugs) criminal charges don’t exist.

      • Not sure why the rush to assign blame here, especially when we don’t know all the facts yet. Haile is correct – please let’s wait for the facts before judging. Also, I’ve always been taught that whatever vehicle’s nose hits the other vehicle is at fault. Is that not the case in DC? or is that not the case with Motorcycles?

        • That is definitely not the rule. If you pull right in front of someone, their nose will hit you. You’re still at fault if you did not have the right away.

        • No, the general rule is that the vehicle turning left is the “burdened vehicle.” That is, if there’s an accident the operator of that vehicle is presumed to be at fault unless there’s enough evidence to rebut that presumption. For example, an oncoming vehicle at night without its lights on or traveling at an extreme (and it would probably have to be extreme) rate of speed around a corner or over the crest of a hill. That said, I wasn’t there and it’s terrible for everyone involved regardless of people’s uninformed guesses here. For the motorcyclist, obviously, his or her family, the Prius driver (who, even if at fault surely didn’t mean to cause serious injury or death), witnesses, etc. And kudos to Jennifer and Yesenia’s brother for keeping their wits about them. It’s not always easy.

        • That is a good rule of thumb for rear ending someone, but this looks like the bike had right of way and the car driver didn’t yield.

  • I spoke to a police officer immediately after the motorcyclist was evacuated and gave him my report as an eye witness to the accident. He told me that the cyclist was in bad shape but still alive at the time he was taken to the hospital. If someone had definitive information about him I would be grateful. We were trying to put out the flames and are praying that he will pull through.

    • Jennifer and the 15 year old that help pull the motorcyclist from the fire.

      A heart felt thank you and deep gratitude from the family and friends of the motorcyclist. Please give permission to the detective to release your name to the family so they can thank you directly. I can confirm that the motorcyclist is alive but fighting for his life.

      May I please request that everyone take a moment and pray for both the motorcyclist and the driver of the car. It is a forever life altering tragedy that will affect many lives for the future. No one wins here. Hope that God will give us mercy and strength to carry on.

      • Please continue, if you feel comfortable, to let us know how he is doing. More people than you might know are praying for his recovery after seeing the incident. Again, Jennifer and that young man might have saved his life with their heroism – truly remarkable and selfless act.

    • nightborn

      I don’t know any of the parties involved, but would still like to thank you for stopping and helping this stranger.

    • We the (Cyclist) family thank you guys soooooooo much for pulling my Uncle from the cycle. You guys are his Angels.We thank y’all We THANK YaLL WE THANK Yall. GOD BLESS YALL

      • Jennifer We Thank you guys soooooooo much

      • Hi! Please keep us posted on how he is doing. My boyfriend helped put out of fire with his jacket and I called 911. We were very shaken to see the accident and would love to hear how he is doing. Also, glad to see everyone who helped on the scene.

  • I am praying for the Cyclist and all of his family! Reading that he is alive brings tears to my eyes. God be with you all.

  • He’s still in critical condition. Thanks for all the prayer. Thanks Amanda and tell your boyfriend thanks alot

  • For the ones who participated in helping my brother. I am most greatful. God Bless you all. He is a fighter and we too are fighting for him with prayers and Gods help.

    • Our continuing prayers to the Lord for your brother and family. If you can, please let us know how he is doing.

  • Thanks to the family of the motorcyclist for updates on his status. I hope his condition continues to improve. And to the two who pulled him from the bike – thanks for acting as quickly and courageously as you did to help a fellow human being in need!

  • I am informing everyone that my brother is still fighting for his life. He has undergone many surgeries since the accident. He is still a fighter as we too are still fighting for his life. With Gods help all things are possible. He is still in very critical condition but hanging in there. I continue to speak life to my brother in Jesus name. Every inch of his body. From the crown of his head to the soul of his feet. Lord Jesus we need more pray worriors out there to lift him up. Lord knows there are never too many prayers.

    • saf

      I pray that he heals well.

    • Thank you so much for letting us know of your beloved brother’s condition. I continue to offer my very deepest prayers for his recovery, and I am asking people in my church to pray, too! God bless and keep you.

  • https://www.gofundme.com/at6zaf7y

    There has been a go fund me page made by his son.
    It gives more information on his status.

  • Thank you to everyone who so unselfishly helped my brother.God bless you.

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