Four young girls were killed in a car accident along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Florida in the early evening hours of Memorial Day, authorities said.
The Florida Highway Patrol identified the driver Tuesday as Latorya Brown, 34, of Leesburg. Officials said Brown was driving a Dodge Durango when she lost control and crashed at about 6:40 p.m. The SUV was carrying 10 passengers at the time, authorities said.
According to Fox 35 Orlando, all northbound lanes of the highway were closed for about an hour as paramedics worked to treat the victims. Some of the injured were taken to Wuesthoff Hospital in Melbourne by a helicopter. The conditions of those who were injured weren’t immediately known.
Troopers said that a toddler in a car seat was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and sent over a 30-foot tall barrier wall. Authorities said the toddler survived and was taken to an Orlando hospital in stable condition.
Steve Montiero, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, said a preliminary investigation determined that a front tire may have malfunctioned causing the SUV to flip.
Fatalities reported in crash that shut down I-95. 3 sisters, all under the age of 18, were killed in the accidenthttps://t.co/tv28lOYC8C
— Fox 35 News (@Fox35News) May 31, 2016
“It may have either blown or something else may have gone (wrong) with that tire,” he said. Montiero also said it was a single-vehicle accident.
He added that four of the 10 passengers were ejected from the vehicle and three of the girls were pronounced dead at the scene. The rest were transported to hospitals.
Montiero said it was clear that some people weren’t wearing seatbelts in the over-stuffed vehicle.
“We’re looking at at least six rear passengers, two up front. There’s a mess-up in numbers here,” Montiero explained. “Obviously someone was not belted. We’re going to begin to look into that and determine what kind of charges will go from there.”