Updated 6:05 AM: The deceased Whitman student's sister Helena, who is hospitalized in critical condition, was or is a Whitman student as well
Updated 5:59 AM: I've confirmed the teenage fatality, Thomas Michael Buarque De Macedo, was a Walt Whitman High School student
Updated 5:51 AM: Accident victims identified, additional details from police
Updated 1:19 AM: Photos added
At least three people are dead after a horrific auto accident on River Road near Walt Whitman High School. Montgomery County Police have identified the three victims who died as Michael Buarque De Macedo, 52 years old, the driver; Alessandra M. Buarque De Macedo, 53 years old, a rear seat passenger; and Thomas Michael Buarque De Macedo, 18 years old, the front seat passenger.
Helena Buarque De Macedo, a rear seat passenger, was transported to a local trauma center with life threatening injuries. Thomas was a student at Whitman, according to several documents, including a list that indicates he was National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in the current academic year. Helena's name appears on a Walt Whitman Honor Roll as a sophomore in the current academic year.
Police have not yet confirmed Helena's age, but Whitman principal Alan Goodwin last night stated that a Whitman student was in critical condition. Michael and Alessandra Buarque DeMacedo lived with their son Thomas and daughter Helena in the 7000 block of Loch Lomond Drive in Bethesda, police said.
Goodwin confirmed on his Twitter account last night that a "Whitman family" was in one of the vehicles.
The family was in a grey, 2016 Chevrolet Volt traveling east on River Road Saturday night at approximately 6:56 PM, when the driver attempted to make a left turn onto Pyle Road, police said. At that moment, a blue, 2016 BMW M235, driven by Ogulcan Atakoglu was traveling westbound on River Road. The vehicles collided. Atakoglu, 20, was also transported to a local trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to a source who spoke to a witness at the scene, the Volt heading eastbound toward the District was making a left turn onto Pyle Road, which leads to Walt Whitman. The vehicle was struck by the BMW before it could complete the turn. The eastbound vehicle ended up in a ditch, and the occupants were trapped, according to the witness.
The witness at the scene said the occupants of the eastbound vehicle may have been en route to a play at Whitman Saturday night.
The Whitman Drama website indicates that there was indeed a play, Noises Off, last evening at Whitman at 7:00 PM.
Police have not indicated who was at fault, but an investigation continues.
Initially, before officers arrived to direct traffic, drivers created their own turnaround using the pedestrian crossing of the River Road median just west of Pyle Road: