Authorities: SUV in deadly Warren crash that killed 6 teens was stolen
VIDEO: Crash survivor speaks out
Tina Kaufmann, newsnet5.com , Kristin Volk, newsnet5.com
5:51 PM, Mar 11, 2013
6:34 AM, Mar 12, 2013
WARREN, Ohio - The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the SUV carrying eight teens that crashed into a swamp Sunday, killing six, was reported stolen.
Investigators also determined none of the eight people inside the vehicle were wearing seatbelts.
"All eight occupants in the vehicle were friends," said Lieutenant Brian Holt of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
On Monday afternoon, the owner of the Honda Passport filed a theft report with the Warren City Police Department. Marquis Stephenson said the SUV was stolen from his sister's home, where Stephenson was spending the night.
"We're still trying to piece this puzzle together," added Holt.
Investigators also looked at the Honda Passport for defects, but didn't find anything that would've been a contributing factor to the wreck.
Toxicology, the speed of the vehicle and where the occupants were coming from and going to remains under investigation.
"They were just good kids," said Zariyah Diggs, cousin of 15-year-old Daylan Ray who died in Sunday's accident and friends with other victims. "They never meant any harm to anyone."
In an updated report, troopers said the crash began on Niles-Warren River Road (County Road 69), not Pine Street SE. However, the area is known to locals as such.
The wreck happened at 6:56 a.m. Sunday. Two boys smashed a rear window, wriggled out of the wreckage and swam away, then ran a quarter-mile to a home to call 911, authorities said. Brian Henry, 18, and Asher Lewis, 15, suffered only minor injuries.
"It is concerning," said Holt. "Sunday mornings are typically very quiet, a day of rest if you will."
"They messed up pretty bad," said the woman who called 911 with the two surviving victims at her house. "Please send somebody quick."
Five of the dead were trapped inside the sunken SUV. A sixth was thrown from the vehicle and was found underneath it when it was taken out of the water. State police identified them as the 19-year-old driver, Alexis Cayson; Andrique Bennett, 14; Brandon Murray, 14; and Kirklan Behner, Ramone White and Daylan Ray, all 15.
"She was a sweetheart, she was super super nice," said Cayson's foster sister, Marteesha Calhoun. "She would do things, and you wouldn't even ask her to do it."
"[He was] basically a good whole kid," said Adriel Lampley, Murray's cousin. "All he wanted to do was play football."
Lampley rode his bike to the crash scene Monday because he said he wanted to see where and how his cousin lost his life so tragically.
Friends and family members described the teens as good kids who weren't troublemakers. Lisa Williamson, the mother of Murray, said many of them would hang out and stay overnight in her basement to play video games, listen to music and watch movies.
She said her son called late Saturday night and said he was staying at the home of his best friend Ramone White. She said it wasn't until after the accident that she found out that wasn't true.
"It's what we did when we were growing up, too," said Williamson, who was wearing a rubbery "Jesus Loves You" bracelet that she took off her dead son's wrist.
Andre Bennett Sr., whose son Andrique was among those killed, said Monday that his son and the others had all stayed over at a friend's house and that a girl offered them a ride home.
"It's always heart-breaking when you lose somebody especially when they're a teen... they don't really get to live life," said Lampley.