The only two teenagers who survived when their crowded SUV flipped and landed upside down in a pond were able to swim to the back of the car and break a window to escape, authorities said today.
Six teens, ranging in age from 14 to 19, were killed in the Sunday morning crash.
It was the deadliest crash in the history of Trumbull County, located in northeastern Ohio, Lt. Brian Holt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said today.
The Honda Passport was traveling at a "high rate of speed" when it veered to the left side of the road and flipped over a guard rail and into a 5-feet deep pond, Holt said. Police did not say how fast the car was traveling, but the crash occurred in a 35 mph zone, the lieutenant said.
Holt said the two survivors, Brian Henry, 18, and Asher Lewis, 15, were able to swim to the back of the vehicle, break a window and swim to safety. As the SUV filled with water, the teens sprinted a quarter of a mile to the nearest residence so they could call 911, Holt said.
The Warren Fire Department responded in two minutes with a dive team, he said, but it may have already been too late.
"They got in the water immediately and they did what they could do," Holt said.
Five teens were removed from the vehicle. Two were taken to the hospital in cardiac arrest, where they died, authorities said. The sixth victim was located underneath the vehicle.
It was not yet known whether Henry and Lewis had seat belts, however Holt said it was likely some of the teens were not buckled in since the car was designed to carry only five people.
The car was being driven by Alexis Cayson, 19, who died in the crash.
Investigators are trying to piece together what the teens were doing on the road Sunday morning, and how they gained access to the SUV.
The owner of the car told authorities he had not given permission to any of the teens to use his vehicle and it was unclear if he knew any of them.
Henry and Lewis, who are being treated for bruising and other injuries, are expected to be key to the investigation.
"They have been extremely cooperative," Holt said. "I'm certain they are grieving, but they are cooperating. Medically speaking, they are going to be just fine."
The other victims were identified as Andrique Bennett, 14, Brandon Murray, 17, and Kirklan Behner, Daylan Ray and Ramone White, all 15-years-old.
Warren City Schools Superintendent Michael Notar said grief counselors would be available at schools throughout the district today, where the victims attended classes.
"It was very desperately needed for those who needed to come in and let their feelings out," he said.