Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008

Chevy Chase mother, young daughter die in car crash

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A Chevy Chase woman and her daughter were killed last week when their car crashed in New Jersey.

Marianne Duffy, 38, died Saturday afternoon from severe head trauma.

Her 7-year-old daughter, Caroline, died instantly on impact, according to the family.

The other passenger in the car’s backseat was daughter Claire, 4, who was unharmed.

Duffy was driving south on the New Jersey Turnpike in a red BMW about 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 when she lost control of the car for unknown reasons, according to New Jersey police.

The car left the road and went up an overpass embankment. The car then became airborne and struck the underside of the overpass, tearing off the car’s roof, police said.

Marianne Duffy was taken to the Fuld campus of Capital Health System’s hospital in Trenton, N.J., where she was put on life support.

Just last month, Marianne and Marc Duffy won a lengthy battle to build a house on Thornapple Street in Chevy Chase.

Blessed Sacrament School in Washington, D.C., where Caroline was in second grade, planned a memorial service for the child today.

‘‘It’s been hard for the students, but being able to put the loss of a classmate within their religious background has been a huge help,” said school Principal Ellie Clark. ‘‘They know she’s in Heaven.”

Clark said one boy wrote a message for his class that said, ‘‘Good morning, class. It’s Wednesday, and I hope Caroline Duffy has a great day in Heaven.”Grief counselors were at the school to help concerned classmates on Feb. 20 and 21.

Flowers and stuffed animals were at the front door of the Duffy house yesterday morning. A candlelight vigil was held there on Sunday night.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Blessed Sacrament Church, at the intersection of Quesada Street and Western Avenue in Washington. A wake will be held 5-8 p.m. today at the church.