2 girls die, 5 kids in­jured as stolen car crashes

All in the car were ages 12-14; dozens show for vigil at wreck scene

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Su­san­nah Bryan and Aric Chokey Staff writ­ers

POM­PANO BEACH – Two girls be­tween the ages of 12 and 14 were killed and five kids were in­jured af­ter a stolen car crashed and flipped over onto rail­way tracks in Pom­pano Beach early Sun­day, the Broward Sher­iff ’s Of­fice said.

Deputies said the driver of the ve­hi­cle, a Toy­ota sedan, was head­ing west on North­west 15th Street when the car veered off the road, slammed into a metal cross­ing arm and landed up­side down on the CSX tracks west of In­ter­state 95.

Ev­ery­one in the car was be­tween the ages of 12 and 14, deputies said.

Two of the girls are dead. The other five — one boy and four girls — were taken to Broward Health Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Fort Laud­erdale.

Po­lice de­clined to dis­cuss where

the kids had been, where and when the car was stolen, who was driv­ing or how the kids knew each other.

Traf­fic homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into the cause of the crash.

The Sher­iff’s Of­fice did not re­lease the iden­ti­ties of the chil­dren Sun­day night. Fam­ily mem­bers out­side the hos­pi­tal iden­ti­fied one of the de­ceased girls as 12-year-old Chayanna “Cha Cha” Ne­smith. Her 13-year-old sis­ter, Teeana Ne­smith, was also hurt in the crash, her fam­ily said.

“I’m just here pray­ing for Teeana, as she re­cov­ers and is able to deal with com­ing to grips with los­ing her sis­ter,” De­bra Le­sane, the girls’ grand­mother, told TV sta­tions.

Cars lined the road Sun­day evening near where the crash hap­pened as nearly 70 fam­ily mem­bers, friends and class­mates of the chil­dren hosted a candlelight vigil.

Peo­ple cried as prayers were re­cited for the chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. Some lit can­dles and tied bal­loons to a nearby util­ity pole.

“All our hearts are bro­ken,” said Teresa Black, a mem­ber Ad­vo­cates for Cit­i­zen As­sis­tance, a non­profit that helps peo­ple who have lost a rel­a­tive find grief coun­sel­ing.

Broward Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Robert Run­cie tweeted con­do­lences Sun­day. “Our prayers and con­do­lences for our fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity griev­ing this ter­ri­ble loss,” his tweet said.

North­west 15th Street re­mained closed to ve­hi­cles be­tween the 900 and 1200 blocks on Sun­day but was re­opened just be­fore 7 p.m.

Rail traf­fic on the tracks was also halted un­til the car could be re­moved.

At noon, an Am­trak train slowly made its way along the tracks as crews worked to re­place the dam­aged sig­nal mast that was knocked down in the crash.

Pom­pano Beach res­i­dent Otis Hunter said he knew the par­ents of one of the chil­dren who’d been killed in the crash.

“I heard the mother dropped the kids off at the movies,” he said. “Some wild kids picked them up. And they never made it home.”

JOE CAVARETTA/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Broward Sher­iff’s deputies in­ves­ti­gate the wreck­age at the CSX rail­road cross­ing on North­west 15th Street in Pom­pano Beach.

JIM RASSOL/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Friends, fam­ily and neigh­bors gather Sun­day for a vigil along North­west 15th Street in Pom­pano Beach.

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