DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police say what started as a report of a stolen vehicle quickly turned deadly for three teenagers on Easter Sunday.
Police had previously received information that several brand new vehicles were stolen from a dealership in the metro Detroit area. Officers on patrol in southwest Detroit around 12:55 a.m. Sunday observed a Jeep matching the description of a stolen vehicle traveling westbound on Vernor Highway near Clark Street.
The officers ran a license plate check and discovered the plate actually belonged to another vehicle that was also reported stolen from a nearby dealership.
The officers activated their emergency lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but the driver fled south onto Campbell Street at a high rate of speed. The officers began a pursuit, but lost sight of the Jeep due to the amount of dust and debris it had stirred up.
When police finally caught up to the Jeep, they realized it had crashed through a fence on the I-75 service drive and landed upside down on the freeway below. The officers ran down the embankment to render aid, but instead found three teenage passengers dead inside the Jeep.
The whole incident lasted about 34 seconds, police said, with the Jeep hitting speeds over 100 MPH.
The victims were identified as 17-year-old Charles Miller, 16-year-old Suhali Alvarez and 14-year-old Cynthia Eli-Zaraharas.
“This is a tragic incident that cost the lives of three young adults,” Detroit police said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost a loved one.”
According to reports, the teens had just left a house party prior to the crash. Miller was behind the wheel, police said.
A candlelight vigil was held along the I-75 service drive Monday night. Several people have left teddy bears and other mementoes as a makeshift memorial for the teens.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 313-596-2200.