3 dead after car plunges into river below Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge

D.C. rescue officials pull out a car out of the Anacostia River after it plunged off the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)
Rescue crews in D.C. prepare for a water rescue. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
Rescue crews conduct a water rescue in the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)

Three people are dead after a vehicle entered the Anacostia River beneath the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Southeast D.C. on Thursday night.

Before plunging into the water, a black Dodge Charger with Maryland tags was traveling at high speeds in the grassy area between Anacostia Drive and Anacostia River. The area where the car was driving is near the 2300 block of South Capitol Street, Southwest, which is below the bridge, D.C. police said in a statement.

Inside the car was driver Artareihk Knight, 45, of Clinton, Maryland; passenger Tim Juan Mundell, 46, of Southeast D.C.; and another passenger whose identity police will release after notifying their next of kin.

Police said the car with the three inside drove off the east side sea wall and plunged into the Anacostia River, sinking under the water.

According to a radio transmission posted by safety advocate and reporter Dave Statter, after the first 911 call at 10:30 p.m., crews were initially dispatched to the 11th Street Bridge — about a mile and a half north of the Frederick Douglass Bridge.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Office of Unified Communications said the agency, which acts as the District’s 911 call center, “received one 911 call reporting that a vehicle left the roadway and entered the Anacostia River. Based on information provided by the caller and information presented by location determining technology, we were unable to immediately pinpoint the exact location of this tragic incident.”

The spokeswoman said the incident is still under investigation.

It’s unclear how long the initial dispatch delayed rescue crews in getting to the Frederick Douglass Bridge.

Authorities began receiving reports of a car going into the water around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

D.C. police and D.C. Fire and EMS officials responding to the scene near the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge discovered tire tread marks leading into the river near the bridge.

Divers and D.C. Fire and EMS crews in boats eventually located the car in the water around 11:45 p.m.

Divers conducted a water search and found one person dead inside the submerged vehicle shortly after 12:40 a.m. on Friday.

Investigators found a second body floating in the water, while a third person was still strapped in the vehicle when rescue crews pulled the car out of the river.

WTOP’s Kyle Cooper reported from the scene Friday morning. Following the police investigation, the right lane inbound on South Capitol Street reopened before 9 a.m. Friday.

WTOP’s Kyle Cooper and Jack Moore contributed to this report.

Hugh Garbrick

Hugh graduated from the University of Maryland’s journalism college in 2020. While studying, he interned at the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, a local paper in Seattle, and reported for the school’s Capital News Service. Hugh is a lifelong MoCo resident, and has listened to the local radio quite a bit.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up