July 9, 2007 - 12:13pm - Neal Augenstein, WTOP Radio
Truck's Speed Did Not Cause Fatal Accident
WASHINGTON - The crash that killed four young women on a Capital Beltway ramp last month was caused by an improper lane change by the driver of the Volkswagen Cabriolet, according to a Virginia State Police accident report.
Before it pulled into the path of a tractor trailer, police say the convertible was traveling 10 mph on the Inner Loop's left split exit ramp for Interstate 95 South.
Police say the truck was traveling 60 mph in the 50 mph zone. Investigators concluded the truck's speed was not the cause of the accident.
The crash killed the driver Elaine "Nettie" Minnette, 20, of Troy, N.H.; Lydia Petkoff, 18, of Mount Vernon, Va.; Sarah Renee Carter, 19, of Mount Vernon, Va.; and Renee Nicole Shelkin, 18, of Mount Vernon, Va. Another 17-year-old girl was seriously injured.
The June 14 accident occurred shortly before 11 p.m. and just hours after Petkoff and Shelkin graduated from West Potomac High School.
It's still not clear whether the women were drinking before they were killed. The toxicology have not yet been released.
Police still don't know how the young women got the variety of alcohol they had in the car. Sources tell WTOP no receipts were found.
(Copyright 2007 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)