OXON HILL, Md - Officials have identified the three young children, all siblings, who were tragically killed in a three-car collision the day before New Year's Eve on Indian Head Highway in Oxon Hill.
Twins Alexander and Rosalie Mejia, and their brother 1-year- old Isaac were killed in the collision Sunday evening when they and their two parents were rear-ended by a driver in a pickup truck near Wilson Bridge Drive, according to Prince George's County police.
The three children died at the scene of the crash, according to officials. Their parents are still in the hospital in critical but stable condition.
An entire family impacted by the violent crash that happened along a dangerous stretch of road which officials have spent millions of dollars on trying to make safer.
In their preliminary investigation, police said they didn't find evidence that the driver made any attempt to stop before striking the car. The pick-up truck hit the car with such force that it pushed the car into the vehicle in front of it, according to police.
Investigators believe the family was either slowing or stopped behind two other cars for a traffic light when it was hit from behind.
The pick-up truck came to rest on top of the rear passenger compartment of that sedan. Authorities said the driver of the pick-up truck is suspected of being under the influence at the time of the crash.
"There have been plenty of efforts to change the safety culture on this roadway and we thought we had escaped. We thought this year would be the exception, and it hasn’t been. We've lost five lives tragically and we are broken hearted," said AAA spokesman John Townsend.
“I am heartbroken over the loss of these three young innocent lives. The actions of a suspected drunk driver has ended in a lifetime of pain for this family. We work tirelessly to clear our roads of drivers who make the horrible decision to pick up their keys and drive while impaired," Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said in part of a written statement.
Authorities urge caution for drivers heading into the New Year.
"All of this because of one individual’s decision that placed the lives of all those around him in jeopardy when he got behind that wheel. It was a decision that ended in tragedy and it was a tragedy that didn’t need to be," said Townsend.
The driver of the truck was taken into custody at the scene for sobriety testing and has since been released.
AAA says improvements continue to be made on the stretch of Indian Head Highway that’s considered one of the deadliest in the area, with an average of five to six fatal crashes every year.
Investigators said charges in the case were pending the outcomes of the investigation, toxicology testing and reconstruction analysis.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy released the following statement:
“My heart goes out to the family of the three young siblings whose lives were tragically taken away in a fatal collision last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who were injured and all families involved. This case is now under investigation by the Prince George’s County Police Department, which will conduct a thorough and complete investigation. Once we receive the results of the investigation, we will work diligently to determine the appropriate charges that should be filed.”
Police and prosecutors have refrained from formally charging the man who they believe caused the crash in part because of a 1990 court decision.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a man charged with a lesser crime in a traffic stop could not be charged again with a more serious crime because it amounted to double jeopardy.
So investigators have to be careful to make the most appropriate charging decision supported by the facts of the case.
Anyone with information that could aid detectives in their investigation was urged to call police at (301) 731-4422.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the family in the wake of the tragic deaths.
Click here to help contribute.