Pedestrians Run Out of the Way Before SUV Plows into Bethesda Sidewalk Transformer
Driver might have had a medical episode, police said
This white Jeep came to a rest at the intersection of Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street. A transformer is in front of it. The crash sent the transformer about 10 feet from where it was on the sidewalk near the corner in front of the restaurant.
A white Jeep SUV struck two signs, two trees, two lampposts and a transformer on Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda Thursday afternoon after jumping the curb in three spots over the length of three blocks.
The incident caused pedestrians on the sidewalk to flee and jump out of the way as the vehicle approached Bethesda Row, according to a witness and police.
Montgomery County police officer M. Weber said the driver, a man possibly in his 40s, might have suffered a medical incident right before the crashes. She said the driver suffered minor injuries in the incident, which happened around 4 p.m. No other injuries were reported.
The crash began near the intersection of Montgomery Lane and Woodmont, where the Jeep struck a large orange detour sign. Then, it jumped the curb near Woodmont and Hampden Lane and took out a tree and a lamppost.
On the next block, at Woodmont and Elm Street in front of Taylor Gourmet, the vehicle hit a tree, another sign, a second lamppost and a transformer before coming to a halt.
Police and Bethesda Urban Partnership personnel at the scene of the incident Thursday afternon. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
Jackie James, a security guard who was outside American Tap Room when the car came to a halt, said she saw people run to help the man escape from the car, which was leaking fuel.
“I saw three or four people help him out,” James said. “Everyone was frantic. They got him out and drug him to the ground.”
Before that, she said, she also saw people jumping out of the vehicle’s path.
“People were running,” James said. “He came up on the curb as people were walking. Luckily they were paying attention. Otherwise, they would have gotten struck.”
Police closed Elm Street at Woodmont Avenue while a tow truck crew worked to clear the vehicle from the scene. A block up from the accident, Bethesda Urban Partnership workers were cutting apart the tree that had been knocked down near the Hampden Lane intersection.
BUP crews clear the tree and the lamppost near the intersection of Hampden and Woodmont. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
The vehicle also struck an orange detour sign near Woodmont and Montgomery Lane. Credit: Andrew Metcalf