Five children who died in a car crash in Maryland Saturday morning weren’t wearing seatbelts at the time of the deadly collision, authorities said.
Authorities have identified the slain children as Paris Dixon, 5, and London Dixon, 8, of Bowie, Maryland (pictured); and Rickelle Ricks, 6; Zion Beard, 14; and Damari Herald, 15, of Washington, D.C. The Washington Post reports that the driver, Dominique Taylor, 32, was London and Paris’ mother and has been released from the hospital.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Cornell D. Simon, 23, was a passenger in the minivan and is reportedly in critical condition. WTTG reported that Taylor’s cousin is Rickelle, Zion, and Herald’s mother.
According to NBC News, the five children were ejected from the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica when it inexplicably veered off Route 301 in Bowie at around 5 a.m. and struck several trees before stopping on the left side of the snow-covered road.
Investigators said preliminary evidence suggests the five children were not properly strapped in while the two adults were wearing seat belts. WRC reported that the children were in the backseat but the Pacifica only had one row of seats in the rear.
Maryland State Police Captain Daniel Pickett told reporters Saturday that the fatal crash occurred as the group headed home, though it’s unclear where they were coming from. What caused the crash remains unclear and Pickett was unable to confirm whether ice played a role, according to the Post.
The police captain confirmed that they’ve spoken to Taylor but he didn’t divulge what the conversation entailed.
“Every collision we have where we lose life is a tragedy, simple as that,” he said. “When children are involved, it’s more of a tragedy.”
[Featured image: Paris Dixon, London Dixon/Facebook]