UPDATE: Funeral Today for Former Local Union President Killed in Georgetown Pike Crash
Motorcycle-car collision leads to death of highly regarded stageman.
Funeral services will be held this morning for Brian Benson, the man riding a motorcycle, who was hit and killed June 29 on Georgetown Pike at the entrance to The Reserve.
Services will be held at 10 am at St. Jerome's Catholic Church, in Hyattsville.
His obituary on Legacy.com described him as "Beloved husband of Barbara C. Tymann; outstanding father of Amelia Benson; devoted brother of Joanne, Jack and Cathleen Benson; cherished brother-in-law of Carol-Ann, Richard Daniels and Kathy Benson; godfather of Nicole Daniels; uncle of Chris Curanovic. Past President and current member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees,"
THURSDAY June 30 Story: A motorcyclist killed late Wednesday night on Georgetown Pike at the entrance to The Reserve was the former president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 22.
The IATSE is the labor union representing technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theater, motion picture and television production, and trade shows.
Benson, a stagehand at Wolf Trap, was on his way home to his family in Hyattsville, when he was killed shortly after 11 p.m. He was going east on Georgetown Pike when he was hit by a car going in the opposite direction, Fairfax County police said. Georgetown Pike is a two-lane road.
John Brasseux, a co-worker who worked with him for over 20 years, said he was a “very skilled technician, hard worker, and was highly regarded.” Brian Benson was married and the father to a 14-year-old daughter.
Brasseux said Benson had worked in several theaters in the Washington, D.C. area including the Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center and the National Theatre.
Benson, 58, was born in Brooklyn, his wife, Barbara said, in a brief conversation. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
Police said Benson was driving a 1999 Triumph motorcycle traveling east on Georgetown Pike approaching the intersection of Centrillion Drive (the entrance to the Reserve) shortly after 11 p.m. A 2001 Mercedes, driven by Gabriel Arevalo-Melendez, 30, of Sterling, VA, was travelling west and apparently crossed the center line of the roadway and struck the motorcycle, police said.
Arevalo-Melendez was charged with reckless driving, police said.
Other motorists and neighbors stopped to help Benson.
David Chandler lives with his family in a home at the intersection where the accident occurred. He was standing in his yard when he heard "a really loud crash."
He walked a short distance to the intersection and saw Benson face down on the ground. Chandler, who is a U.S. paratrooper, said he saw two teenagers who were lifeguards and who had stopped when they saw the crash.
He crossed the street and joined them. “I was holding his head to stabilize it and they were doing CPR," Chandler said. "I was holding on trying to keep his head stable in case of a spinal injury. ... We did it for five to 10 minutes until the EMTs got there,” Chandler said.