U-Md. Student Killed in Weekend Crash

By Candace Rondeaux
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Prince George's County police are investigating a traffic accident that killed a 20-year-old University of Maryland student and injured three other people Saturday.

The accident occurred about 3:20 a.m. when a Ford pickup traveling west on University Boulevard struck an eastbound Jeep Cherokee as the driver of that vehicle tried to make a left turn onto Metzerott Road. Police said Matthew Watson, who was in the front passenger seat of the Jeep Cherokee, was killed almost instantly.

Police said the Ford's driver, a 24-year-old man whose name was not released, fled on foot as emergency crews arrived. He was found shortly afterward about a third of a mile from the crash, lying unconscious in the median strip on University Boulevard. Investigators think he might have been intoxicated at the time of the accident, police said.

Police Cpl. Debbi Carlson said charges are pending against the driver of the Ford.

The driver of the Jeep and two male passengers from the Ford suffered multiple injuries. They were taken by ambulance to a hospital, where they were treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, police said.

It was unclear where Watson, a sophomore and economics major from Ellicott City, was headed before the accident, but a relative said he lived nearby in a campus apartment. He was an active member of the College Park chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity, and he played football at Centennial High School for four years, said his mother, Barbara Watson.

"He loved to make people laugh. He was always smiling," she said.

Watson's mother said that recently he had talked excitedly about plans this summer for a family vacation to the British Virgin Islands. He was an avid swimmer and a sailing enthusiast, and he was looking forward to spending time with his parents, sister and three brothers.

"It's crazy that he died in an accident like this. He loved life," his mother said.

Funeral services for Watson are scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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