‘It can’t handle the high speeds’ — WTOP’s Traffic Center examines crashes on Suitland Parkway

As U.S. Park Police continue to investigate what led to a serious, multicar crash on Suitland Parkway in Prince George’s County, Maryland, that injured three people Monday, one question remains: Why does the roadway tend to see so many accidents?

The crash occurred in the vicinity of Naylor Road and Branch Avenue, a familiar crash site, according to data from the WTOP Traffic Center.

Traffic reporter Dave Dildine said that the interchange is so close together that as the parkway shows more freeway characteristics when drivers are in outbound traffic, it is “less so if you’re inbound, and it’s that sharp transition that might lead to the higher crash count.”

“WTOP Traffic records indicate that at least 39 crashes have happened near those two points on Suitland Parkway just this year,” Dildine said. “That does seem to be one of the most crash-prone stretches of road in the D.C. area, and specifically more prone to serious crashes.”

The Naylor Road area was the sight of a deadly hit-and-run in mid-April and was closed for over five hours after a juvenile was killed in a two-car crash in a portion of the parkway near the D.C.-Maryland state line in March.

Recently in August, two people were killed and two others were injured after a two-car crash on the westbound lanes near the intersection with Forestville Road.

“The Suitland Parkway is a scenic byway, but people drive on it like a freeway all too often, [at] high speeds,” Dildine said. “It’s not designed with the same standards as a freeway. It can’t handle the high speeds. It can’t handle the turns and the maneuvers that a lot of drivers tend to pull.”

All three people involved in Monday’s crash are in stable condition, according to police, after one had been previously evaluated with life-threatening injuries. Police said that one of the drivers involved in the crash fled the scene on foot; the preliminary investigation showed that runaway driver was involved in a carjacking.

Park Police are asking for community support to improve safety on Suitland Parkway and other roadways in the region, including the Baltimore Washington and George Washington Parkways. They want drivers to follow posted speed limits, and avoid impaired and distracted driving.

Law enforcement officials are still asking for the public’s help in identifying the driver who ran from the Monday morning crash site. Anyone with information can call Park Police at 202-610-7500 or the Park Police tip line at 202-379-4877.

Below is the location of the multicar crash that police continue to investigate.

WTOP’s Veronica Canales and Ivy Lyons contributed to this report.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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