At Least 40 People are Injured in Washington D.C. After Female Driver Plows Her Car Through the Unifest Street Festival in Anacostia on Saturday
A 30-year-old woman has been preliminarily charged by Washington D.C. police with aggravated assault while armed, after the vehicle she was driving barreled through the Unifest church-sponsored festival last night. The term “armed” refers to the 1991 Volvo that she was driving. At least 40 people were injured in the car collision, and seven of the injured persons were children. Fortunately, there are no fatalities and nearly all of the injured persons have been released from hospitals.
As she was plowing her vehicle through the festival, people tried stopping her by throwing strollers and other debris in her path. The vehicle had been moving at about 70mph, and adults had to push children aside in attempt to keep them out of harm’s way.
The driver, Tonya Bell of Maryland, is in police custody and has been treated for an ankle injury. Many have wondered why she wasn’t apprehended after she was noticed driving erratically earlier. She had even collided with an unmarked police car just 20 minutes before the street festival accident occurred.
According to police, they had followed Bell’s car but were ordered to stop because her traffic violation did not pose a threat to the policemen’s safety. Toxicology reports are pending, and witnesses have reported seeing Bell laughing and smoking as she drove through the festival.
A 7-year-old girl who had been riding with Bell at the time of the incident has been taken into Child Protective Services. She was not injured during the accident.
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is calling the incident one of the “worst serious traffic accidents…in the District of Columbia” history.
More charges against Bell, who struck two police officers (who where thrown off their motorcycles) when they drove in front of her, are pending. The two officers sustained minor injuries from the collision.