Driver in Loudoun Co. fatal crash had been on cellphone, witness says

A person is dead and two others seriously injured after a two-car crash on Route 9 in Loudoun County, police say. Police said driving distracted was a factor in the crash, though it still remains under investigation. A witness claims one of the drivers was using a cellphone moments before the wreck.

Around 6:40 p.m. Sunday, a Toyota Yaris was traveling east on Route 9 when it swerved across the centerline and struck a westbound Toyota Forerunner head-on.

The driver of the Yaris died at the scene. According to a witness, he was preoccupied with a handheld electronic device moments before the crash, police said. The driver of the Yaris, Satish Mallavaram, 36, of Ashburn, died at the scene.

The driver of the Forerunner, Anna M. Castro, 48, and passenger, Jose Castro-Rivas, 39, both of Vienna, Va., were flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Both were wearing seat belts.

The crash shut down Route 9 for hours. The route was reopened around 10:45 p.m.

The accident remains under investigation. The Virginia State Police Accident Reconstruction Team is assisting.