Warren (Ohio): A speeding sport utility vehicle taken without permission and carrying eight teenagers crashed into a guardrail, 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 last morning and overturned near the city of Warren, about 95 kilometers east of Cleveland, Lt. Anne Ralston said.
Investigators 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.
The two boys who survived escaped from the submerged vehicle and ran a quarter-mile to a home to call emergency services, the highway patrol said.
Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Holt said at a news conference that speed was a factor, although investigators were still trying to determine the speed at the time of the accident.
"We will not be speculating on alcohol and-or drug usage pending toxicology reports," Holt said.
No one in the vehicle owned by a nearby resident had permission to take it, but there were no theft reports, Holt said.
Located near the Pennsylvania state line, Warren is a mostly blue-collar city that was hit by the decline of US steel mills; it has more than 41,000 residents in the industrial Mahoning Valley region.
After the news conference, the gates of an impound lot were opened to show the wreck, with windows smashed and extensive damage to the front end, hood and roof.
Ralston didn`t know where the teens were headed when the crash happened at about 7 a.M. Yesterday and Holt said later it wasn`t clear how long they had been out.
"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 didn`t 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 guardrails on either side in an industrial area. The sport utility vehicle had sheared off tall cattails along the guardrail.