Terrible Crash on 16th Street around 7:30pm Thursday Night

by Prince Of Petworth October 14, 2016 at 9:25 am 35 Comments


Readers reported:

“I walked past at about 8:30 when 16th was entirely shut down between Irving and Park. There was an SUV, a Prius, and a motorcycle on the street — no people from the vehicles, though. SUV was headed north, Prius south, motorcycle near the southside curb. It didn’t look as if the cars had collided.

At the time, there were no investigators on the scene — just cops to shut the street down. But the road was cleared and fire trucks and ambulances (saw one of each) were getting through en route to other destinations. If it’s still shut now, it can’t be good. (It must have happened about 8 or so. I walk home from K street, and traffic was fine until I got to about the park when I started passing all of the busses. By Euclid, I passed the bus I didn’t get on at M street, and they were lined up to Irving.)”

“Cop told me it was a motorcycle crash.”

“16th Street fully closed in Columbia Heights / Mt Pleasant”

“site is officially being treated as a crime scene. Looks grim, doesn’t seem likely to clear anytime soon.”

Update from MPD:

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Major Crash Unit are investigating a traffic accident with injury that occurred on Thursday, October 13, 2016, at approximately 6:46 pm.

A motorcyclist was traveling northbound in the 3100 block of 16th Street, Northwest when he attempted to swerve to the left of a vehicle, who was also traveling northbound on 16th Street in the far left lane. In an attempt to pass the vehicle to the left, the motorcyclist side swiped the left front of the vehicle. This caused the motorcyclist to cross the double yellow line into oncoming traffic where he struck another vehicle, who was traveling southbound on 16th Street, Northwest. The motorcyclist, an adult male, was then propelled from his motorcycle. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services transported the motorcyclist to a local hospital, where he was admitted and is listed in critical condition. No other injuries were reported.

This case remains under investigation. The Metropolitan Police Department is asking anyone with information about this case to call the police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the departments TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.”

  • HaileUnlikely

    The crash occurred much earlier. I passed through the area at about 7:10 and the road was closed at that time. An ambulance was just pulling away, and there were about 3-4 fire trucks and more police than I could count on the scene.

  • Anon

    I was walking by the area at 9pm, road still shut and significant police activity. I asked an officer what was going on and he said someone had gotten run over by a vehicle. :(

  • OP Anon

    As a daily Vespa commuter, I have to admit that this photo is grim AF. Never a good sign, the motorcycle driver was probably ejected. I try to drive as safely as possible, but drivers making mid-block U-turns and cutting across lanes without signaling are a daily terrifying occurrence. 16th Street is particularly bad, as people drive at high speeds and the numerous driveways mean that drivers are often cutting across lanes of opposing traffic to pick up passengers at the residential bldgs.

    • m

      there’s no way you can know who is at fault from this photo.

      • OP Anon

        This accident does not negate the fact that 16th Street is a mess, with cars suddenly crossing opposing lanes of traffic without warning. It’s a regular occurrence and I try my best to avoid that road.
        I never said either were at fault. Even with the story we have above, I honestly still cannot tell who was at-fault. Did the car driver accelerate or drift into the lane of the motorcyclist? Or did the motorcyclist simply try to get back over into the right lane too soon without clearing the slower vehicle?

        • Kstreet

          I’m not sure who is to blame. As a motorcycle rider in the city I’ve seen both bikes and cars do stupid shyte. But as a public PSA to everyone, please please use your turn signals. It will save lives.

          • Noma girl

            Some of the best advice my driving instructor ever gave me:
            Instructor: “what do it mean when a turn signal is on?”
            Me: “that the person is turning.”
            Instructor: “no, just that the turn signal is on. They could be turning or driving straight and just not paying attention. it means nothing.”

          • textdoc

            Yes, that’s the case SOMETIMES… but a turn signal IS SUPPOSED TO mean that the person is turning or changing lanes.
            And people need to use their signals when turning or changing lanes. It’s not just courteous and a good idea (since it tells other drivers what you’re doing); it’s the freakin’ law.

          • textdoc

            That is, facepalm to the idea that turn signals are meaningless. Not facepalm to Kstreet.

          • JoDa

            I think the point is more that you shouldn’t assume that the turn signal means anything. Always wait for another indication that the signal means something. Defensive driving 101.

        • m

          awful no matter who is at fault. the mpd update does give more detail.
          also worth noting pedestrians are a mess around there also.

  • I live on the 1700 block of Irving St. and traffic was messed up until at least 11 pm. It always amazes me how many people will honk when the cars in front of them clearly can’t go anywhere. It also amazes me how many drivers have no clue what to do when an emergency vehicle is behind them with its lights flashing and siren blaring.

    • SW 20011

      Driving a car drops a human’s IQ by about 20 points.

  • bizzinger

    I walked by around 7:20 and the roads were completely closed. There were clothes strewn across the road, and it looked like they’d been cut off of someone. So terrifying.

  • TSL

    I walked my dog nearby around 11 pm and cops were still blocking off the street.

    • OP Anon

      Ok, that’s just weird. It sounds like the cops were treating this as a crime scene. Might have been a road rage incident between the motorcyclist and the driver. Cops don’t shut down a busy thoroughfare in the city for more than 4 hours after an accident.

      • HaileUnlikely

        It’s pretty standard to close a road and conduct a comprehensive investigation for a crash that results in a death, where for the present purpose, if the death occurs within 30 days of crash, it is classified as a traffic fatality. Thus, police generally follow the standard procedure for investigating a traffic fatality when there appears to be a substantial probability that a person who was injured in the crash won’t make it. They likely figured that the motorcyclist may die in the hospital and thus activated the fatality investigation protocol.

  • Marty

    not much sympathy from me for getting hurt while illegally passing another vehicle.

    • artemis

      Really??? I think we can not condone the actions of a driver while still being horrified (and yes, sympathetic) about serious injuries resulting from the accident.

    • Anonymous

      Impossible to tell that this was an “illegal passing” given the information that we have. The motorcyclist did not cross into the opposite direction lanes to pass the vehicle.
      And just so we’re clear, you’re a sh#tty human being to think so poorly of another critically injured human.

      • KenyonDweller

        The cyclist has my sympathy, but if the police description is accurate, it seems like the cyclist was probably at fault. The car was in the far left lane. There was a double yellow line, which means its illegal (and unsafe) to pass.

        • Marty

          Correct, given the info from MPD (which is all I have, of course) moto operator passed to the left of a car, which was already in the far left lane. that’s an illegal pass into oncoming traffic. Do I hope that he is critically injured? No, I don’t. I do, however, think he got what he deserved.

          • Anons

            “he got what he deserved” ???
            What a horrible comment

        • TJ

          Doesn’t 15th St. NW merge with 16th at this spot? If so it is a tricky place where drivers at times merge all the way to the left even though traffic is moving quickly in that lane on 16th St. So, fault may be more an open question than the police statement suggests.

    • RD

      I know this motorcyclist, he is experienced rider with years of safe driving experience. He never take risk with wife in kid at home. Anyway your sympathy doesn’t make any difference.

      • Marty

        if he didn’t try to pass around another car into traffic, then i fully retract my statement. I’m just going off the police information.

        • HaileUnlikely

          It is quite possible that he involuntarily ended up to the left of a car that was itself in the left lane due to an attempt to avoid another crash with that car or another car.
          In any event, even if he did something foolish on purpose, saying that he deserved what may well amount to permanent disability or death is rather callous. We’ve all done dumb and illegal things in traffic, yet none of us are dead, and would not say that is despite our deserving to have been incapacitated or killed for one unwise passing attempt or episode of distraction or fatigue or jaywalking.

        • JoDa

          My first reading of the report was similar to yours, that the biker attempted to pass *on* the double-yellow line, couldn’t complete such an illegal maneuver, and got knocked into oncoming traffic. While I never want to see anyone hurt, the thought “what did he *think* was going to happen?” did cross my mind. But the use of the word “swerved” makes me think there might be more to this story. Maybe the car driver stopped short and he went around to try to avoid the rear-end. Maybe he was in the far left lane near the rear bumper of the car going the same direction and they cut quickly over, and that’s why he “swerved” around them.
          With just one person saying they know this victim (whether he’s at fault or not doesn’t really matter, he was severely injured in a collision, and is thus a victim of that collision), I’m willing to wait for the facts. Since MPD is taking this seriously as far as we can tell, investigation-wise, I’m sure the facts will be found. I hope the motorcyclist makes a full recovery and gets to go back to his family in one piece.

  • SW 20011

    They don’t call them donorcycles for nothing!

    • AJSE

      What an awful comment.

  • Em

    It was still closed down when I left work at 10:30pm. Yikes.

    • TJ

      and at midnight

  • Anonymous

    It was about 6;45 pm I was behind the bike and the suv

  • Anonymous

    6:45 pm ..I was behind the motorcycle and suv in a higher view then a car with my helper . We seen it all go bad I feel bad for the motorcycles.


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