Drunk Driver Kills Two Maryland Men in Deadly Hit-and-Run Beltway Crash

A repeat traffic offender, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) well over the legal limit, is suspected in a recent fatal Montgomery County crash on the Capitol Beltway that killed two people. According to reports, Kelli R. Loos, 33, formerly of Bethesda, Maryland, rear-ended a pickup truck on the beltway, impelling the other vehicle over a guardrail and down an embankment where it landed on its roof 60 feet below the roadway.

The passenger of the pickup truck, 37-year-old Franklin Manzanares, was trapped in the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Rescue workers transported the driver, Gradys Mendoza, 39, to a local hospital, but he was dead on arrival.

News reports said that Manzanares has a wife who currently lives in his home country of Honduras and also has a son and daughter in the United States. Mendoza, who was a banquet waiter at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the District and also ran a construction business, had been married for about 17 years — he has two girls and a boy. Both men lived in the Springfield area.

Following the accident, Loos fled the scene and reportedly drove toward Virginia. She crashed her vehicle again while trying to exit the Beltway onto Georgetown Pike, striking a highway sign, according to police, at which point she was taken into custody. At the Fairfax County jail, she registered a BAC of 0.20 on a breathalyzer.

According to reports, this woman has a long history of driving violations and recently missed a court appearance to face charges of driving with a suspended license. In a July 1 letter to the judge presiding over that case, Loos claimed “family issues” as a reason for her failure to appear. Although the criminal courts will likely catch up with this individual for her traffic offenses and hopefully her part in the death of those two men in the truck she hit, the families of the victims may need to pursue legal means to recover damages.

Representing Maryland automobile accident victims, the lawyers at Lebowitz-Mzhen, LLC have a proven track record when it comes to wrongful death, as well as personal injury cases. In this instance, the suspect in the beltway accident has shown time and time again a disdain for the traffic laws of this state, not to mention the welfare of the others on public roads. Causing injury and, in this case, death is inexcusable. Having a history of flouting the law will only weaken any arguments she offers as reasons for her abhorrent behavior.

Suspect in Fatal Beltway Crash Was Over Alcohol Limit, Police Say, WashingtonPost.com, July 9, 2009

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