A speeding sport utility vehicle taken without permission and carrying eight teenagers crashed into a guard-rail, flipping over into a swampy pond, killing five boys and a woman, state police said.
The Honda Passport veered off the left side of a road yesterday morning and overturned near the city of Warren, about 60 miles from Cleveland, Lieutenant Anne Ralston said.
Police say it came to rest upside down in the swamp and sank with five of the victims trapped inside. A sixth, who was thrown from the SUV during the crash, was found under it when the vehicle was taken out of the water.
Two youngsters who survived escaped from the submerged vehicle and ran 400 yards to a home to call emergency services.
Highway Patrol Lieutenant Brian Holt said speed was a factor, although they were still trying to find out how fast the vehicle was travelling at the time of the accident.
“We will not be speculating on alcohol and-or drug usage pending toxicology reports,” he said.
No one in the vehicle owned by a nearby resident had permission to take it, but there were no theft reports, he added.
Police do not know where the teenagers were heading for, or how long they had been in the car.
“All I know is my baby is gone,” said Derrick Ray, who came to the crash site after viewing his 15-year-old son Daylan’s body at the county morgue.
He said he knew that his son, a talented football player who was looking forward to playing in high school, was out with friends, but did not know their plans.
A pile of blue, green and copper-red stuffed bears grew at a makeshift memorial at the crash site along a two-lane road tightly bordered with guard-rails on either side in an industrial area.
The two teenagers who survived, 18-year-old Brian Henry and Asher Lewis, 15, were treated for bruising and other injuries and released from hospital.
All those killed were aged between 14 to 19. State police identified them as 19-year-old driver Alexis Cayson; Andrique Bennett, 14; Brandon Murray, 17; and Kirklan Behner, Ramone White and Daylan Ray, all 15.