BY CAROLINE SELLE AND REBECCA BENNETT — Updated on June 9 at 3:35 p.m. Police have identified the child killed in Saturday’s horrific motorcycle accident as 7-year-old Alejandro Santos of Cherrywood Terrace in Greenbelt.
At approximately 4 p.m. on May 23, a motorcycle heading westbound on East West Highway collided with a four-door sedan attempting to make a left turn into what investigators say the preliminary investigation revealed to be a shopping center.
“The motorcycle then crashed into four pedestrians who were standing on the sidewalk at the crosswalk waiting to cross the street,” the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) said Sunday afternoon.
The man and three children standing at the corner all suffered injuries, authorities said, and 7-year-old Alejandro died at the hospital a short time later. Another child suffered critical injuries, while the third had non-life-threatening injuries, they said.
The motorcycle rider became airborne in the accident but suffered non-life-threatening injuries, PGPD said. The car’s driver suffered minor injuries, they said.
In the minutes following the accident, the driver of the sedan “remained on the scene and was cooperating with investigators,” PGPD Spokesperson Corporal McKinney said. The motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital and was alert and responsive, he said.
An hour after the accident, a single shoe sat upright on the sidewalk in front of the Mall at Prince George’s. It was amidst the wreckage of a motorcycle, bloodstained clothing and plastic shopping bags.
PGPD said that speed on the part of the motorcycle rider appears to be a factor in the preliminary investigation. No charges have been filed yet, but authorities say the investigation is ongoing.
Shana Sterkin, a friend of the Santos family, created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Alejandro Santos’ funeral and his father and siblings’ medical expenses.
“The Santos children have been hard-working, loving, and incredibly kind members of our Springhill Lake Elementary School community. The Santos parents are active members of their students’ lives, always making sure they are cared for, prepared for school, and most importantly, well-loved,” she wrote. “… I could go on and on, but simply put, my heart aches for … the Santos family during this difficult time.”
East West Highway was closed between Belcrest Road and Toledo Terrace while officers completed their investigation. Meanwhile, traffic backed up southbound on Belcrest and eastbound on East West Highway. The road reopened at 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
Two hours after the accident, officers marked vehicle positions and swept debris out of the roadway. A tow truck driver hauled the motorcycle onto his vehicle. Its radiator lay separately, in an apparent pool of radiator fluid, and its mangled engine a few feet behind.
Where a few spots of blood were still visible, a member of the fire department hosed off the sidewalk. A member of the police, wearing protective gloves, picked up pieces of clothing and separated them into paper bags. A hoodie went into one, and a pair of bloodstained jeans with a belt still woven through the loops. The child’s shoe went into another.
Anyone with information about this fatal accident is asked to call the Prince George’s County Police Department at 301.731.4422.