Bethesda residents want traffic signal at intersection following deadly crash

- Bethesda residents want something to be done about what they say is a very dangerous intersection. The push for a new traffic signal comes after a deadly weekend accident that claimed the lives of a mother, father and their teenage son, and left their daughter seriously hurt.

The accident happened Saturday night at River Road and Pyle Road, where there is no traffic signal. That means drivers are on their own when it comes to crossing the highway.

Residents who live in the neighborhood near the crash scene are simply devastated. Flowers placed along River Road at the crash scene were just a small symbol of the outpouring of support for the family, and concern for the 15-year-old girl who survived.

But residents are doing more than just grieving. They say if the tragedy doesn't force the state of Maryland to fix the road, nothing will.

Grief counselors were on hand at Walt Whitman High School on Monday, where 17-year-old Tommy Buarque De Macedo was a senior. His sister, 15-year-old Helana, was critically hurt in a crash that killed Tommy and their parents, 52-year-old Michael and 53-year-old Alessandra.

The crash happened around 7 p.m. Saturday, as the family was on their way to a play at the high school. People who witnessed it say the scene was unforgettable.

Police say 20-year-old Ogulcan Atakoglu was heading up River Road in a BMW, and Michael Buarque De Macedo was behind the wheel of his family's Chevy Volt heading in the other direction. When the Volt made a left turn at Pyle Road, it was hit by the BMW.

An online outpouring of caring and action is underway, including a YouCaring page that is collecting donations for Helana. Meanwhile, 3,000 people and counting have signed a Change.org petition demanding that Maryland's State Highway Administration put a traffic signal in place at the spot where the crash happened. Right now, there isn't one.

No charges have been filed in the case. Police say they are waiting for the toxicology reports on both drivers, and cannot yet say if speed was a factor.

An online court records search does show that the driver of the BMW, Atakoglu, does have 10 prior speeding, negligent and moving violation cases in the last three years, and that he plead guilty to three of them. Police say the state's attorney will decide whether or not to press charges in this case.
 

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