January 5, 1997 in Nation/World

Liquor Involved In Diplomat’s Lethal Crash Teenager Killed When Car Catapulted Atop Her Vehicle

Associated Press
 

A teenager died when a speeding car driven by an east European diplomat smashed into another car, which was catapulted through the air and landed on top of the vehicle the girl was in, police said Saturday.

Police said a car driven by Gueorgui Makharadze, 35, attached to the Republic of Georgia Embassy, was traveling at an excessive rate of speed. Investigators said alcohol also was involved but gave no details.

Washington police detective Mike Harvey said this is what happened:

The diplomat’s car sped just before midnight Friday into DuPont Circle, a major interchange near Washington’s Embassy Row, and crashed into the rear of another car. The second car sailed through the air and landed on top of a third vehicle, then hit two other vehicles.

Joviane Waltrick, 16, of Kensington, Md., a front-seat passenger in the third car, was killed.

Secret Service spokesman Marty Ratchford said Makharadze is a minister at the Georgia Embassy. He was released from Georgetown University Hospital on Saturday night.

The driver of the third car was reported in fair condition at a nearby hospital where drivers of the other two cars were treated and released.

No charges have been filed. The police department said it was consulting the U.S. attorney’s office.

Misha Siamashvili, a spokesman for the embassy, would not confirm the diplomat’s identity but said he has diplomatic immunity. The spokesman expressed condolences about the death.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the department is awaiting information from police before deciding how to proceed.

“We have notified the ambassador of the Republic of Georgia that we consider this a very serious matter,” said Burns. “The government of Georgia would have to give consent to lift diplomatic immunity if charges are brought.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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