ACCOKEEK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Another life has been lost on what’s known as the ‘Highway of Death.’
Juan Menedez Castillo, 59, of Waldorf, was killed Monday night on Route 210 Indian Head Highway and Berry Road in Accokeek.
The circumstances of the crash are similar to one in December that killed three children on the same road.
Police say in both crashes, drivers stopped at a red light were hit from behind by a vehicle that did not stop. In the crash that killed the children, the driver was suspected to be drunk. In Monday’s crash, police say they still don’t know why the driver failed to break.
Menedez Castillo’s stepdaughter, Yency Reyes, was in tears as family gathered at the home she shared with her mother and stepfather Tuesday evening.
”He was my stepfather, but I feel he’s my daddy,” Reyes said. “I love him so much, and I’m going to miss him.”
Menedez Castillo, a father and grandfather, was driving with another family member who survived the crash. Everyone else involved is expected to survive.
Even though the family recently moved from Virginia to Charles County, they were well aware of Rt. 210’s notoriety. Menedez Castillo saw news coverage of the horrifying crash that claimed the life of three children.
“He said, ‘Oh my God, everybody be careful. That street is danger,’” Reyes said.
Prince George’s County police have ramped up enforcement on the highway, issuing 3,700 citations in just the last month and a half. There was a DUI checkpoint earlier this month.
The county is working to get state funding to improve the road, and a bill advancing in Annapolis would add up to seven roving speed cameras. Right now, there’s only one permanent speed camera on the road.
The bill by Del. Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George’s Co.) was passed by the Prince George’s County delegation and now goes to the House Environment and Safety Committee on March 7.
“I think they’re doing everything I can think of,” said Ron Weiss, part of the MD-210 Safety Group, a citizen organization.
He says these recent fatal crashes have been preventable, and it’s up to drivers to take responsibility for driving safely.
“We think of 210 as our Main Street,” said Weiss. “It’s just not a good feeling when you go out on your Main Street and worry about being killed.”