WASHINGTON — Seven high school students were involved in a multi-vehicle collision Thursday morning at the same intersection three Bethesda family members were killed in a February car crash.
The four-car collision occurred as a student driver traveling westbound on River Road attempted to merge onto a left turn lane at the intersection of River Road and Braeburn Parkway. Officials said a sun glare caused the first driver to rear-end another vehicle, starting a chain reaction of crashes involving two more cars.
Officials said all drivers had been turning left, and two of the four vehicles had passengers.
The intersection River Road at Braeburn Parkway had become an increasing concern for the Montgomery County community after a Walt Whitman High School student and his parents died in a crash eight months back.
“This is a very dangerous intersection,” said Principal Alan Goodwin of Whitman High School. “Most of the community knows that, but they tend to ignore things as time passes. They need to understand that it’s still a dangerous intersection for both adults and children … that students use it on a regular basis.”
Goodwin said there had been some attempts at minor changes at the intersection, but efforts to increase safety at River Road and Braeburn Parkway had been halted.
“[The community] is advocating for a lower speed limit,” Goodwin said. “They’re also advocating for the entire intersection to be relocated about 50 yards further away, where there’s a pedestrian walk, so you could make the pedestrian walk and the intersection safer.”
Goodwin said that two students had been taken to the hospital, one with a possible concussion and the other with a sore leg.
Until changes are made, Goodwin recommends drivers exercise vigilance and caution.
“If you’re a student or adult navigating that intersection, you need to be very careful, take your time, look all ways, and only pass through the intersection when it is clear of other cars,” he said. “You need to be very observant, because it’s a dangerous intersection.”
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this story.