A 17-year-old driver was charged with reckless homicide after a car crash over the weekend that killed four teenage passengers in the car.
Authorities responded to the crash in Hickory Hills, Illinois, shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, according to a press release. Police said the driver, who was not identified due to their age, was moving “at an extremely high rate of speed, in what we believe was an attempt to go airborne over the crest of the hill at 86th Avenue,” police said.
“After travelling through the intersection at 86th Avenue, the vehicle did go airborne, as described by a witness,” police said in a statement. “The vehicle then struck a large tree on the north side of 89th Street and the vehicle split in half.”
Two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene, and two other passengers sustained critical injuries and died at the hospital, police said. Another two passengers were treated for non-life threatening injuries and later released from the hospital.
“The Hickory Hills Police Department extends our deepest condolences to the families involved,” police said in the statement.
On Sunday, several vigils were held in honor of the four deceased passengers, who were identified as Omarion Rieves, 17, Nathanial Phillips, 17, Destiny Giera, 16, Jemerrio Rieves, 15, WGN-TV reported.
“Everything in me wants to just lay down,” Kenneth Roberts, the father of Phillips, told the Chicago NBC News affiliate, WMAQ-TV on Sunday. “I just want to cry. If I do that, I’ll never get up, so I’ve got to stay strong for his brothers and sisters. They miss him dearly right now.
“When we broke the news, it was kind of devastating,” he added. “They were great kids, all four of them.”
The driver was taken into custody following treatment and charged with reckless homicide and other traffic citations in connection to the incident.