SEABROOK – As county officials look for solutions to decrease traffic-related accidents, the woman who died in a multi-vehicle collision in Clinton, Maryland on April 10 has been identified by Prince George’s County Police (PGPD).
Shamika Brown, 32, of Ethan Manor Road in Clinton was traveling on the intersection of Branch Avenue and Surratts Road at approximately 6:30 a.m.
According to police officials, the preliminary investigation shows that a tractor-trailer approached the traffic signal at Surratts Road; it attempted to drive through a red traffic light, a “causing a chain-reaction collision.”
Those affected by the accident were Brown’s vehicle, a Prince George’s County School bus and five other additional cars. Two drivers suffered minor injuries while two others and the driver of the tractor-trailer were not injured in the accident.
The driver and two passengers on the school bus, which was heading to Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale, suffered injuries but are not life-threatening. The teenagers were sent to the hospital after the incident, according to Prince George’s County Fire Spokesperson Mark Brady.
Police officials say that it may take months to complete the investigation to determine what caused the accident.
Once the investigation is complete, PGPD will contact the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office if charges will be filed. The intersection was closed off as a hazardous materials team was called to help with the clean-up from the accident.
Personal dash camera footage of the April 10 accident was posted on Facebook and has been viewed over 221,000 times. Brown’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for her two children, aged eight and five. As of April 16, the family has raised over $5,700 with a goal of $7,000.
“She would want nothing more than to know that her children are taken care of, and all of their needs are met,” Brown’s sister Shanea Young said on the GoFundMe page. “She would want them to attend the college of their choice, play sports, model, etc.”
Upper Marlboro resident Rene Diaz, 27, said that construction along certain roadways has caused conditions to be more hazardous to drive on. The accident on Surratts Road is nothing new, Diaz, who drives for his father’s towing company, said.
“There are always accidents in that interception with big trucks coming at full speeds on an incline,” Diaz said. “It is almost impossible for a loaded truck to stop there.”
The issue of deadly car accidents has steadily gained more attention since a multi-vehicle collision on Indian Head Highway on Dec. 30 killed three children. High-profile incidents, including a three-car incident with five DuVal High School students on March 26, have been a part of the news cycle on a weekly occurrence.
“There is something about the death of a child that changes all of us,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said, remembering the Dec. 30 accident. “…It is something really inescapable that something like that had to happen…and it is time for us to change our behaviors on the road.”
In 2014, there were 69 fatal collisions in the county, but by 2018, they were reduced to 49, according to by PGPD Chief Hank Stawinski. However, county officials joined together in a press conference on April 15 to raise awareness to county drivers about the on-going problem and solutions that county officials will take to curtail the issue.
State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said one-third of all the accidents are caused by drunk drivers or those under the influence of drugs. Stawinski added that a growing number of accidents are being caused by drivers being distracted in doing other things aside from controlling their vehicle like eating or looking down at their smartphone.
“These devices have become such a big part of our lives that we do not realize the way we rely on them the way we do,” Stawinski said. “And while it may be innocuous to pick up your phone while you are in the kitchen, it might be innocuous to pick it up while you are in the office, when you are in a vehicle, you are traveling several hundred feet a second and roadway conditions can change, and they can change too quickly for you to react to them and avoid that collision.”
Dionte Michell, 24, said he agrees that drivers need to be more responsible for their actions behind the wheel for even the most basic instructions like using their turn signals. Completing even the smallest of problems and driving more defensively could cause fewer accidents to occur, the Waldorf resident said.
“It’s (a problem) all over,” Mitchell said. “Everyone has to start paying attention and be more careful out here. I see it all the time wherever they go. They should add more cameras so people can slow down and people can pay attention or even more street patrol.”
Alsobrooks announced that the county was successful in receiving more funds from the state to have more speed cameras on Indian Head Highway and Route 210 while police officials said they will try increased enforcement with more traffic stops throughout the county. Braveboy will be kicking off the county’s “Drive Focused, Safe & Sober” campaign on April 27 in the Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex in Oxon Hill.
However, residents believe the county can do more to ensure their safety on the roads.
Mariano Romero, 50, said that county officials should not only focus all their attention on the highways as some of the tougher streets he has driven in are in the suburban areas like Route 1 in College Park and Kenilworth Ave in Riverdale.
“In rush-hour traffic in those areas can get to be problematic,” Romero said. “It can get a little tight, and one has to really careful in those spots.”