3 teen girls killed in rollover crash in east Mesa; weather, speed likely to blame
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Three teen girls are dead, and another remains in the hospital after a rollover crash in Mesa Wednesday night. The accident happened on Guadalupe Road between Ellsworth and Signal Butte roads around 9 p.m.
Police say a 16-year-old driver of a blue Ford Mustang lost control while changing lanes. “The Mustang hit the curb, went over the curb into the landscape, then hit a boulder, causing it to roll over and plow into a light pole before coming to a stop,” Mesa police spokesperson Detective Richard Encinas said.
Investigators confirmed that four high school girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were trapped inside the car. The driver and front-seat passenger died at the scene. The two girls in the backseat were rushed to the hospital, where one later died. The 14-year-old survived with minor injuries and remains in the hospital. It’s unclear if the three teens who died were wearing their seat belts. Encinas says the department will not release the girls’ names out of respect for their families.
“It appears that both speed and the weather were the primary causes of the accident,” Encinas said in a news release. Thunderstorms with heavy rain rolled through the Valley Wednesday night.
Neighbors are heartbroken by what happened. “It was horrible, it happened so fast,” Sarah Fears said. She heard the crash and came outside after. “This one we could tell it was weather, speeding, you could hear the hydroplaning of it, and then hitting that big rock,” she continued. “I don’t know what happened,” Tara Turner said. “We heard a crash and I actually thought like lightning had struck something. It sounded like something blew up.”
Rain gauges measured more than a half-inch of rain at Elliot and Signal Butte roads, which is not far from where the Mustang crashed. Elliot Road is the first major street south of Guadalupe Road.
Officials confirmed all four girls were students at Skyline High School. Principal Greg Mendez sent a letter out to students and families about the tragedy.
The intersection was closed for several hours during the investigation but reopened Thursday morning.
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