Victims identified in fatal Christmas Eve collision -- Gazette.Net







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This story was corrected on Jan. 17, 2013 at 3:25 p.m. An explanation follows the story.

A 17-year-old Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School senior was among three people who died from injuries they sustained in a car accident on Christmas Eve, according to Maryland State Police.

Antony Benlizar, of the 1900 block of East West Highway in Silver Spring, and Jasmine A. Fajemisin, 30, of the 1900 block of Rosemary Hills Drive in Silver Spring, died in the Dec. 24 crash on Interstate 495, police said. Antony Benlizar’s grandmother, Florentina J. Gonzalez, 72, of the 1900 block of East West Highway in Silver Spring, later died of injuries she sustained in the crash, police said. All three were passengers in the same car.

Funeral services were held for Antony Benlizar and Gonzalez Jan. 7 at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring.

Colleen Desmond, head of the Bethesda high school’s counseling department, said the school’s PTSA plans to honor his memory sometime after exams. She also said the school’s yearbook committee plans to dedicate a page to him.

At about 7:40 p.m. Dec. 24, a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu was traveling in the Outer Loop of the Beltway just before the Connecticut Avenue exit when the driver lost control of the car, according to a state police press release. The driver was later identified as 37-year-old Rosa Benlizar of Silver Spring by 1st Sgt. Dan Pickett of Maryland State Police.

The Malibu started to skid out of control, the release said, striking a 1994 Toyota truck.

A 2010 Chevrolet Silverado truck was approaching from the rear and — due to “wet roads and close proximity of the collision occurring ahead” — hit the Malibu, which was carrying Benlizar, Fajemisin and Gonzalez.

Police told The Gazette Gonzalez was hospitalized and died of her injuries Jan. 1. They also said Antony Benlizar and Fajemisin were pronounced dead at a local hospital on the night of the crash.

At the time of the accident, state police said the driver of the Malibu was “believed to be under the influence of alcohol based on observations by Montgomery County Officers on scene and EMS.”

No charges have been filed and Rosa Benlizar could not be reached. An investigation by prosecutors is ongoing and may take months to complete, said Ramon Korionoff, public affairs director for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Editor’s Note: Based on incorrect information provided by the Maryland State Police, an earlier version of the story incorrectly stated the date that Florentina J. Gonzalez died.