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Update: DC Police Officer from Rockville Killed in I-270 Crash

Jelani Prather, 36, was off duty at the time.

Update, 11:55 p.m., Sept. 16:

Maryland State Police have identified the driver who died when his car struck a fuel truck on Interstate 270 on Friday afternoon as Jelani Omar Prather, 36, of Rockville. Prather was an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department's 5th District in Washington, D.C.

Prather was off duty at the time of the crash, which occurred about 12:47 p.m. on the shoulder of the northbound local lanes of I-270 between the Montrose Road and Falls Road exits, according to a state police news release.

According to a preliminary investigation, Antonio Donnell Lucas, 28, of Clinton, was driving a 2008 Freightliner tanker truck when he pulled on to the right shoulder to check for a possible equipment problem. Lucas returned to the cab and saw, through his passenger side view mirror, a 2011 Scion xB approaching, the release said. Lucas told police that he attempted to avoid the crash by putting the truck in drive, honking the air horn and attempting to accelerate. "Almost immediately, the Scion struck the rear of the Freightliner," the release said.

The vehicles attached to each other and traveled about 75 feet on the shoulder, the release said. The Scion went under the truck's rear bumper, which went over the car's engine block and into the passenger compartment, killing Prather, the release said.

There were no skid marks before the site of the initial impact, according to the release. A witness told police that the Scion did not brake or swerve, the release said.

No charges have been sought in the incident. An investigation is ongoing.

Update, 2:40 p.m., Sept. 16:

The fuel truck involved in a fatal crash on Interstate 270 on Friday afternoon was stopped along the shoulder of the northbound local lanes, a Maryland State Police spokesman said.

The driver of the car that rear-ended the truck was killed. He has been identified only as an African-American man, said Sgt. Mark Cummings, a Maryland State Police spokesman.

The driver of the fuel truck was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation but did not appear to have any major injuries, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a spokesman for the county fire and rescue service.

The crash occurred about 12:55 p.m. between the Montrose Road and Falls Road exits, Cummings said.

At 2:40 p.m., traffic was slow in the local lanes of I-270 northbound. Police were directing traffic single-file around the scene. The main lanes remained open.

State police are continuing their investigation.

Original post, 2:26 p.m., Sept. 16:

One person was killed Friday afternoon after a car rear-ended a small fuel truck on northbound Interstate 270 in Rockville, said a Montgomery County fire and rescue service spokesman.

The incident occurred along the shoulder of the local lanes of I-270 between the exits for Montrose Road and Falls Road.

At 2 p.m., traffic police were directing traffic past the scene, single-file in the left hand local lane. Drivers reported long delays.

The identity, age or gender of the person killed has not yet been released, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a spokesman with the county fire and rescue service.

Maryland State Police are investigating, he said.

jnrentz1 September 17, 2011 at 09:58 PM
My condolences to the family and friends of Officer Prather.
Kelly Reed September 22, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Jelani was a cousin. My condolences go to his family and friends, his new wife and his department.

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