A man died early morning Tuesday, October 30, while attempting to help a friend change a flat tire in Capitol Heights.
Aaron Jerome Smith, age 35, left home in the middle of Super Storm Sandy to help a friend who needed assistance fixing a flat tire on a rented van. When his friend called, Smith braved the wind and rain to go to the friend’s house, near the intersection of Nova Avenue and Rail Street, where the stranded van sat.
The two men successfully managed to lift the van onto the jack but were having trouble getting the flat tire off the vehicle. According to a spokesperson for Prince George’s County Police, the two men were unaware that this particular van required a separate mechanism to actually release the tire.
Smith crawled underneath the van to try to wiggle the tire loose. At that moment, the jack gave way and the van fell on top of him, crushing his body. Smith’s friend tried to help him, but when emergency personnel arrived at the scene around 1:30 a.m., it was obvious that Smith had sustained significant trauma.
Smith, a resident of Capitol Heights, was pronounced dead at the scene of the Prince George’s County accident. Police say the incident was most likely not weather-related.
Meanwhile, a fatal car accident in Montgomery County is being investigated as possibly storm-related. Mai Ai Lam-Phan, age 66, died Monday, October 29, in a head-on collision in Germantown.
According to Montgomery County Police, a Nissan Pathfinder was headed southbound on Frederick Road around 11:40 p.m. when the driver crossed the double yellow line near the intersection of Brink Road. The car crashed into Lam-Phan’s Jaguar sedan, which was headed northbound on the same road.
Lam-Phan, a Clarksburg resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. Both occupants of the Nissan were being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Police are still investigating the accident and have not yet determined if the inclement weather was a factor.
We offer our condolences to the families impacted in these tragic accidents.