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Crash Closes Clara Barton Parkway

Car falls off elevated Beltway ramp, but driver is not seriously injured.

A 74-year-old woman was transported to Suburban Hospital with minor injuries Nov. 28 after she crashed and overturned her sedan on the ramp from the northbound Clara Barton Parkway onto southbound I-495.

The crash occurred at 11:30 a.m. when the woman, Teresa McMasters-Finney of Northwest Washington, D.C. failed to negotiate the ramp’s curve, hit the guardrail and catapulted off of the elevated ramp to the right. The car hit the pavement below nose-down, but remained propped up by a tree.

The Maryland State Police and United States Park Police responded to the call along with rescue vehicles from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and the Naval Surface Warfare Center nearby.

“She was definitely fortunate” that her injuries weren’t worse, said Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. “She had a couple things in her favor. First of all there were passersby that saw it and called it in immediately. Second she was in a good substantial vehicle.”

The car was a 2000 Lincoln Continental sedan, according to State Police Sgt. Thornnie Rouse. Piringer said that the driver was wearing her seatbelt and that the car’s airbags deployed.

“The tree actually was advantageous for her because it actually held her in place,” Piringer said. “Had the tree not been there I suspect the car would have … crashed down into the ground and rolled back onto the parkway.”

Rescuers stabilized the car with chains and then sent a paramedic up to the car by ladder. The woman was examined at the hospital and released.

The Parkway was closed in both directions for close to two hours during the rescue. Rouse said that no charges are expected in connection with the crash.