An Ohio town was in mourning on Sunday after a single-car crash took the lives of six teenagers, the deadliest car accident the Buckeye State has seen in three years.
Around 7 a.m. local time, a sport utility vehicle carrying eight people in Warren, Ohio veered to the left, hit a guardrail and flew out of control, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol. The car came to rest in a pond, and only two of the teens were able to escape and find help.
Killed in the crash were 19-year-old Alexis Cayson, 14-year-old Andrique Bennett, 17-year-old Brandon Murray, and 15-year-olds Kirklan Behner, Daylan Ray, and Ramone White.
All the victims were from Warren, Ohio, about 60 miles east of Cleveland.
Brian Henry, 18, and Asher Lewis, 15, survived and were taken to a local hospital and later released.
Authorities say the Honda Passport was traveling at "highway speeds" when the driver hit the guard rail on a street where the speed limit is 35 mph. Some of the occupants were wearing seat belts, though it is unclear how many. The SUV only has five seats.
The teens were all friends, but investigators say it is still unclear where they were coming from or going to. At a press conference Sunday night, State Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Holt said, “none of the occupants of the vehicle had expressed permission to be in possession of the vehicle.” The car's owner lives in nearby Youngstown, Ohio, though the automobile had not been reported stolen. Police said it is unclear at this time what the connection is between the vehicle owner and the teens.
Police also declined to speculate on drug use or alcohol pending the results of a toxicology report.
As news spread of crash, mourners throughout the community visited the scene of the accident to grieve. Along with the grief came questions of how it happened and why the victims were out at the early hour.
A local school where several of the teens attended was opened to the community to come for counseling. Counselors will be on hand Monday as well as students return from the weekend.
“It’s going to be a rough week, a rough rest of the school year,” said Michael Notar, Warren school superintendent.