Man arrested for 2021 deadly pedestrian crash on Hains Point

The driver involved in a deadly 2021 crash that killed two pedestrians in East Potomac Park in D.C. has been arrested, according to the U.S. Park Police.

Melvin D. Conley, 61, of D.C., was arrested and charged with negligent homicide on Tuesday.

On April 24, 2021, two pedestrians, later identified as Waldon Adams, 60, and Rhonda Whitaker, 55, were struck by a car while on a walk in Hains Point in Southwest.

They were transported to a local hospital with critical injuries and later died.

Witnesses said they saw Conley strike the pair and continue driving without changing speed. One witness reported seeing a shoe fly in the air and realizing the pickup truck pulled off the road and hit two older people who were walking.

“The truck ran them over like a speed bump and kept going,” the arrest warrant affidavit said.

Later, when contacted by police, he said he did not recall hitting the two and “blacked out” from low blood sugar.

Adams, a long-time advocate against homelessness, spoke to WTOP in 2020 about his life goals, running the Marine Corps Marathon and how he overcame drug addiction and more than three decades of homelessness. He often walked 3-mile laps around Hains Point in preparation for the race.

Lining up to run his first race gave Adams the feeling that he “was part of the world.” And finishing it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said.

Whitaker was a member of the Speakers Bureau of Miriam’s Kitchen and was described as “an ardent advocate for ending homelessness in her native District of Columbia.”

The loss of Adams and Whitaker is felt at a profound level, said Jean-Michel Giraud, president and CEO of Friendship Place housing services, where Adams was a board member.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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