Police say couple was not in crosswalk in fatal hit and run
Wife died, husband in critical condition, police say
The couple that was struck in a fatal hit-and-run incident on Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton on May 23 was not in a crosswalk when the two were hit, police said.
The pedestrians, identified as Maria De la Paz, 39, and her husband, Demetrio Gomez Sanchez, 43, both of the 4800 block of Ertter Road in Rockville, were crossing the eastbound lane of Veirs Mill Road near Centerhill Street after exiting a bus at 9:42 p.m. when they were struck by a white BMW. Both victims were taken to the shock trauma unit at Suburban Hospital, where De la Paz was pronounced dead. Sanchez remained in critical condition as of Thursday, and police did not have an update on his condition as of Tuesday.
The driver of the BMW, Pierre Michel,29, of the 2700 block of University Boulevard West in Silver Spring, stopped the car at the scene but then quickly fled, according to police. Police found the BMW abandoned in a neighborhood near Newport Mill Road about an hour after the incident, police said.
Both Michel and his passenger, 29-year-old Christopher Forker, of the 3200 block of Limekiln Road in Sharpsburg, were located by police shortly after that. Both were found in separate locations not near the BMW, said Montgomery County police spokeswoman Officer Amy Daum.
Specialists in the county police's Collision Reconstruction Unit have yet to determine which party was at fault in the incident, Daum said, adding that De la Paz and Sanchez were struck in the roadway about 1,000 feet in each direction between two crosswalks.
"That's part of the investigation that's still ongoing; we do have a couple of witnesses, but again, anyone who was in the area or saw anything is encouraged to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit," Daum said.
As the investigation remains open, it is still unclear if Michel or Forker will face criminal charges, Daum said.
"We're going through the normal protocol where the Collision Reconstruction Unit goes through their entire investigation, and once they're comfortable that that's done and they know what happened, they present that to the state's attorney's office," she said. "The state's attorneys decides if charges will be filed and when."
In the meantime, any additional witnesses to the incident Monday should call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 301-840-2435. Callers may remain anonymous.