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Votes

Two Die in Accident

August 14, 2002

Sumil Ajit Shah, 20, and his 18-year-old cousin visiting from Chicago were killed in a single-car collision just east of the entrance to Shah's home street.

Police said is still unclear who was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision.

"We have not completed the final report, but we know, for certain, these young men were traveling at a high rate of speed because of the force of the impact on the tree," said Lucille Baur, spokesperson for Montgomery County Police. "In this case parts of the vehicle were thrown, one part of the vehicle was thrown 50 feet from where the car came to rest."

Police continue to investigate the collision and a wide circumference around the tree, said Baur.

Sumil Shah and his cousin, Nikesh Shah, 18, were the second and third people to die on Persimmon Tree Road in the last week.

On Monday, Aug. 5, Alan R. Howell, 42, a truck driver from Gaithersburg, was killed at the intersection of Persimmon Tree Road and Eggert Drive after an Oldsmobile Cutlass station wagon — traveling eastbound on Eggert Drive — collided with the driver's side of Howell's truck. Howell, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene after his truck rolled over, righted itself and came to rest at a row of trees.

"In that case, the station wagon did not stop at a stop sign and the driver was traveling above the posted speed limit," said Baur.

There have been 42 traffic-related fatalities — including 9 pedestrian fatalities — and 39 fatal collisions in the county during 2002, said Baur.

This week, police and rescue workers were called to the area of Persimmon Tree Road and Saunders Lane for the report of a single car collision on Monday, Aug. 12, at 4:36 a.m., according to police.

According to police, the 1999 Volkswagen Jetta was traveling east on Persimmon Tree Road, just east of Saunders Lane, and for an unknown reason, left the road and struck a tree on the driver's side of the car. The Jetta caught fire, with the driver and the passenger still inside. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

"That is probably the most treacherous stretch of Persimmon Tree Road because you are totally blind going over the hill," said Eugene Roesser, spokesperson for the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department. "We have had fatalities in that area in the past. The last one goes back, although there have been serious accidents. It is unusual to get two within a week of each other."