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
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.”
Broward Sheriff’s deputies investigate the wreckage at the CSX railroad crossing on Northwest 15th Street in Pompano Beach.
Friends, family and neighbors gather Sunday for a vigil along Northwest 15th Street in Pompano Beach.