Six teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19 were killed and another two injured on Sunday morning in northeast Ohio, when a speeding SUV they were traveling in flipped over a guardrail and landed in a swamp.
According to the Associated Press, the Honda Passport that was carrying the eight teens was taken from its owner without permission, although police did not specify who the vehicle belonged to except to say that it was licensed to a resident of Youngstown, Ohio.
Highway patrol said that the fatalities included the young woman driving the car, Alexis Cayson, 19, and five male passengers: Andrique Bennett, 14; Kirklan M. Behner, 15; Daylan Ray, 15; Brandon A. Murray, 17; and Ramone M. White, 15. Two other boys, Brian K. Henry, 18, and Asher C. Lewis, 15 were injured but managed to escape from the wreck and ran to a nearby house in the outskirts of Warren, Ohio, to call for emergency help, TribToday.com reported.
At a news conference on Sunday, State Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Holt said the vehicle had been speeding at the time of the crash, but that investigators had not yet ascertained precisely what the speed had been.
"We will not be speculating on alcohol and/or drug usage pending toxicology reports," Holt said.
Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston said that the SUV had begun to veer off of the left side of the road near the intersection of Pine S.E. and Burton at approximately 7 a.m. Sunday morning when it struck the guardrail and overturned in the water. Ralston said that highway patrol first received a call at 7:15 a.m., and recruited the help of divers.
Bill Monream, Captain of the Warren Fire Department, said that a cold-water rescue team had been sent to retrieve the five remaining teenagers from the submersed wreck.
"Being a cold-water rescue situation, cold water extends life," Monrean told the Associated Press. "We knew we had a chance; even being in there a while."
Two of the passengers were still alive when emergency crews reached them, but died at St. Joseph Health Center. Julie Gill, a nursing supervisor at the hospital, confirmed that the teenagers had both been in full cardiac arrest when they arrived at the hospital and said they were treated for hypothermic drowning trauma, a result of being trapped in the cold waters.
Ralston said that officials still do not know where the passengers had been going, and Holt added that they were also uncertain how long the group had been traveling for.
The vehicle, stored at a local impound lot, was revealed to the public after the conference ended. According to the AP, its glass windows and windshield had been smashed and the hood and roof had been substantially damaged.
"All I know is my baby is gone," Daylan Ray’s father Derrick Ray said after identifying his son’s body. He told reports that he had known that his son, described as a talented football player, was spending the night with friends, but didn’t know the details.
"It hurts, it really does, because they are so young and, like, they could have had so much more to life," Ray’s 12-year-old half-sister Mariah Bryant said. "We just really started getting close, and it's hard to believe he's gone."
Ralston said that the two survivors, Henry and Lewis, were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries including bruising.