The Washington Post says a prominent Washington political player was found dead in a flame-engulfed SUV this morning:

Ashley W. Turton, 37, an energy company lobbyist and one-time top aide to former U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), was found dead shortly before 5 a.m. in a burning BMW, the back end of which was partly out of the garage, as if the vehicle had been entering or leaving when the fire started, authorities said.”

Authorities aren’t yet sure how Turton, the wife of Daniel A.Turton, 43, an Obama administration liaison to Capitol Hill, died.

Though car thieves regularly torch cars to remove evidence like DNA, there’s been no talk of a crime having been committed. As of yet, there’s no obvious indication that Turton was a victim of foul play. A source in homicide with the Metropolitan Police Department says the “the call” came in as a “traffic accident,” and murder detectives haven’t been asked to take the case. We’ve asked MPD to confirm, but haven’t gotten a response yet.

Update: MPD has issued a statement saying the death is being investigated as an accident:

On Monday, January 10, 2011, at approximately, 4:45 a.m., the driver of a 2008 BMW X-5 crashed into the interior of a garage of a residence in the 800 block of A Street S.E. After impact, a fire started and quickly engulfed the entire garage as well as the automobile.The driver was pronounced dead by a representative from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia. The identity of the decedent is being withheld at this time, pending further identification. The Major Crash Investigations Unit, along with the DC Fire Department’s Arson Investigations Unit are investigating the circumstances leading to the crash and fire.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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