73-year-old Boy Scout volunteer leader dies 1 week after car crashes into Maryland restaurant

- One week after a car slammed into a restaurant in Upper Marlboro, police say a 73-year-old man has died from his injuries sustained from the crash.

Prince George’s County police say Isiah Pugh, of Oxon Hill, was one of six people transported to the hospital after a Toyota vehicle crashed into Babes Boys Tavern on Marlboro Pike at around 1:10 p.m. on Oct. 24. Pugh was pronounced dead at the hospital on Tuesday.

Pugh was a major role model for the youth in the Capital Region. Judge Philip Nichols said he will always remember his friend’s “smile, his laugh, his willingness to help.” He will also remember the attributes that made him stand out as a man and a fellow leader with the Boy Scouts of America.

The loss of Pugh will not only be felt by his family, but the scouting community in which he grew up and dedicated many years as a volunteer leader and role model, according to those who knew him.

The National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement:

It is with heavy heart that we announces the passing of longtime Scouter and Patuxent District Commissioner Isiah “Gene” Pugh.

As many of you are aware, Isiah was fighting to recover from serious injuries he sustained in an accident last week at a meeting in an Upper Marlboro restaurant. A driver crashed into the establishment, severely hurting Isiah and sending him and six others to the hospital.

According to Judge C. Philip Nichols, Patuxent District Chair, "The last conversation I had with Isaiah was about Scouting. He spoke about how proud he was of the job his Commissioner team was doing in their role supporting the 3,000 Scouts in our District."

We ask that you please keep the Pugh family in your prayers during this difficult time. Pending updated forwarding information, cards and letters for his family may be sent to:

Isiah Pugh
c/o Marriott Scout Service Center
9190 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814-3897

To make a memorial gift in Isaiah’s honor, please go to https://www.ncacbsa.org/support-sco…/tributes-and-memorials/.

Isiah was a well-respected leader and a true friend to Scouting, and he will be greatly missed by all. He has gone home.

“He was the one you looked to for good advice and getting things done,” said Nichols. “He was that kind of guy. He was a standup guy.”

Nichols said he was meeting with Pugh and several other Boy Scout leaders inside the restaurant last Tuesday when the crash happened.

“Without any kind of notice or noise or warning, the car came right through the wall,” Judge Nichols said. “The wall came down, car came through, ceiling dropped a bit and the tables and chairs went in all directions.”

Pugh landed on top of Nichols, who escaped with just bruises.

An off-duty deputy and several other law enforcement officers jumped in to help and got Pugh to the hospital. He fought internal injuries for a week before passing away.

“Loved his family, he loved scouting, he loved what he did and dedicated to our cause,” said Nichols. “When we say learning for life, he was the example of what you want to be when this is all over with.”

The vehicle was driven by Vernelle Robinson, who claimed that her brakes went out as she was making a turn. She lost control of her vehicle and struck the side of the building.

“I was probably going 25 miles per hour and I came over this little hump and there were cars all over so I kind of panicked and my car went through there,” Robinson told FOX 5. "My brakes went out totally."

Prince George's County police say Robinson has not been charged, but the incident remains under investigation. They also believe alcohol was not involved.

However, the owner of the restaurant disputed Robinson's claims that she was only going 25 miles per hour, noting that she ran through metal barricades, an air conditioning unit and the cinder block wall.

"Talking to some of the patrons and employees inside, they said it sounded and felt like a bomb had hit the building,” said Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesperson Mark Brady. “The ceiling shook and some of the panels fell. Additional brick and mortar were all over the place."

Several first responders happened to be inside the restaurant when the crash happened. Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christine Wiseman said she was there when the car narrowly missed her as she was ordering lunch.

“I think it hit my chair because I was leaning forward talking to the waitress,” Wiseman said. “It didn’t hit me.”

She went into action to help others injured at the scene.

“I could see a man trapped under the front of the car, under a table,” Wiseman said. “I told the waitress to get everybody outside and to dial 911. Myself and some other county police officers and other patrons started throwing debris off of the man.”

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