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Car crash that killed 6 probed

Published: Mon, March 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

City, school district mourn teen victims


The Honda SUV in which six Warren teens were killed Sunday sits at the Ohio State Highway Patrol post in Southington.

By Danny Restivo

and Ed Runyan



The Ohio State Highway Patrol is hoping an investigation will reveal details of what happened before six teenagers were killed in one of the deadliest car accidents in state history.

Lt. Brian Holt, Trumbull County post commander of the highway patrol, said officers were going to complete a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances that led a sport-utility vehicle with eight teenagers to flip into a creek Sunday morning.

Holt spoke alongside Mayor Doug Franklin and Warren schools Superintendent Michael Notar during a press conference Sunday night at the Warren Post of the highway patrol in Southington.

The patrol identified those killed as Andrique Bennett, 14; Kirklan M. Behner, 15; Daylan Ray, 15; Ramone M. White, 15; Brandon A. Murray, 17; and Alexis Cayson, 19, all of Warren. The two injured teens were Brian K. Henry, 18, and Asher C. Lewis, 15. Both were also from Warren.

The OSHP said the two surviving victims suffered only minor injuries and were treated and released from St. Joseph’s Health Center in Warren on Sunday.

According to the OSHP, the Honda SUV was traveling south at a high rate of speed in a 35-mph zone before it veered left, hit a guardrail and went over the guardrail and into a small pond on the east side of the road at approximately 6:50 a.m. Sunday.

The SUV was submerged on its roof in 5 feet of water, the OSHP said. The two injured were able to escape before running nearly a quarter mile to a residence to call 911.

The Warren City Fire Department arrived at the scene shortly after 7 a.m. and removed the five victims from inside the vehicle. Capt. Bill Monrean said it took crews roughly 15 minutes to remove five victims from the water. The sixth victim was ejected during the crash and was found under the roof when the vehicle was removed from the water.

Holt said a coroner’s report would rule whether the teens drowned or died on impact. He said a toxicology report would determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Police said Cayson was driving the vehicle. The OSHP said the Honda Passport could seat five people safely, and there were signs of seat-belt usage.

Holt said one of the questions officers are trying to answer is where the eight teenagers were coming from, and why were they driving a vehicle that didn’t belong to them.

“A preliminary investigation shows that none of the occupants of the vehicle had expressed permission to be in the possession of the vehicle; however, no reports have been filed at this time,” Holt said.

Holt said the Honda SUV belonged to Marquis A. Stephenson, 33, of Youngstown. Holt said the highway patrol was still investigating the connection between Stephenson and the teens.

Warren City Schools confirmed in a press release that two of those killed were students at the Willard K-8 school, two were students at Warren G. Harding High School and one was a former student in the district.

The accident was just north of Burton Street and across the street from the former RG Steel mill near the Warren-Howland Township line.

The patrol had the road closed until 11:30 a.m.

The Trumbull County Dive Team assisted the highway patrol, and a patrol reconstruction team was called in.

Shoes, a hat and other items could be seen in the water and on the bank just off of the street, apparently some of the items that came from the vehicle.

About 1 p.m., dozens of family members and friends were near the emergency room exit at St. Joseph Health Center, where the two survivors were being treated.

One young woman, the sister of one of the dead, cried as she spoke into her cellphone.

“I want him home. I’m lost. I don’t know what to do,” she said. She and others said they didn’t know where the group was headed or where they had been.

“Only the two who survived know that,” another man said of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

Notar said he was notified of the accident shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday. After confirming the identities of the victims, Notar said the school district sent out automatic calls to staffers and families of students informing them of the deaths. On Sunday night, faculty, parents, community members and students gathered at the Willard K-8 building to grieve and offer condolences.

Laura R. Mason is the great-great-aunt of Cayson. Although she had a heavy heart, she thought the gesture of 200 people coming together was a sign of a strong and supportive community.

“We all have to remember that God has a special place for us,” said Mason.

Julie Fabrizi, 13, said she knew all the victims well, but it made it even harder to watch her friends grieve for someone they would no longer see.

“I don’t know how to feel right now, but I hate seeing my friends cry,” she said. “It’s just hard on everyone right now.”

Aaron Schwab, communications coordinator at Warren City Schools, said there will be licensed counselors at Warren G. Harding and the Willard K-8 building this morning to provide support for grieving staff and students. Schwab said there will be a press conference at 10 a.m. today at the district’s administration building to answer questions and provide an update.

“It’s going to be a rough week and a rough rest of the school year,” said Notar.


1obie(1 comment)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

ok bgreen and danikytn

. People are going to buy the paper regardless of what photo they see on the front page of the paper. as a fellow photo journalist who has cover crashes like this. editors and us in the field who cover these things WE do try to be as moral as we can be. Remember this has made the national news outlets, as well. just saw on some of those sites photos of the car. it is time now to pray for the families of these 6 kids who pass in the accident and not complain about what newspaper photos are being ran right now. i my self posted on my facebook asking peeps to pray for these kids's families and friends in the days and weeks to come again i say to heck in what photo was ran just think of the families and what they are going through. also as i read in a coupleother stories about it today some of the fathers of these kids went and saw the car already as well..

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2Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the picture. This is real life and no need to sugar coat it. America needs to quit being pampered and show the cold hard facts. The real world.

With that being said, my prayers go out the families of the teenagers that died to soon.

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3kensgirl(988 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

You're right zz3. Why are kids out at 2,4 or 6a.m.? What's the story behind the story? Parents need to step up and be parents. We weren't coddled and sure as hell beat if we misbehaved. Where are all the fathers today? It's such a tragedy to see this happen. Totally unpreventable. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and society too. These kids could have grown up to be productive members of society. Never had the chance.

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4DwightK(1495 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Why were these kids out at 6am?

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5Ytownsuks(1 comment)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Where's the accountability factor of these kids families? A Warren councilman says that we should get together as a community and pay for these funerals.

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6steelwagon(284 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Hella I remember those films from
Drivers'Ed.class too.
"Signal 30" and "Mechanized Death"
Very graphic !!!
Scared the hell out of us.

Sure made us think twice before doing something foolish behind the wheel.

While now isn't the time to be critical the rest of this awful tragic story will come out.
One of the victims was only 14 years old and you have to question why a 14 year old kid was out all night.
Who is responsible for loaning or giving these kids the car ?

Did the parents know where their kids were and what they were doing ?
6 young lives were lost so there's bound to be questions and there should be accountability.

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7Attis(1052 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Here's some valuable information from one of the survivors, Brian Henry:
1. the driver, the only woman in a 5-passenger car packed by 8 teen boys, was going over 75mph in that dangerous 35mph zone in the dark. Why?
2. He repeatedly asked her to slow down. She did not. Why not?
3. Why stuff only teen boys into the car the keys to which were taken from the sleeping male owner in his sister's house where the driver evidently lived?
Anyone got the answers or any good suppositions?

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8rickking123(323 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like some people would have preferred a picture of the vehicle being driven down the road before the accident.

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9Jersey0511(1 comment)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

My question is what are 5 kids under the age of 16 doing out all night with 17 and 18 year olds. Where are the parents??? My heart goes out to the families but this could have been avoided.

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10endthismess(434 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Thought I heard on the news the 19 year old driver's sister say the family wanted Cayson to move out to learn how to become responsible..and did this future move out include her and her four year old...so was she acting up because she was mad at someone? So...she was already living with a family member of the party who's car she stole? And did her sister know Cayson was maybe on a self destructive path? Her sister said on the news if you are troubled call home or talk to someone before you do something or words to this effect. Sounds like Cayson was very troubled? No license. Driving a very stolen car. Out all night with minors and was she trying to impress juveniles out past curfew? Who was taking care of her 4 year old all night long? Going 80 plus mph. Deliberately swerving on the road. Being repeatedly told to slow down. What's this sound like? Someone who's on a total destructive power trip, who won't yeild and can't see the errors of their ways.

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