Authorities begin identifying victims in fiery crash

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Michigan authorities are beginning to release the identities of the five people killed in a fiery, high-speed crash in Kalamazoo Township.

Township police said in a news release Saturday that the five victims were riding in a Dodge Charger traveling about 100 mph when it crashed into a tree and burst into flames about 1 a.m. Saturday.

In an updated release from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, two of the victims were identified as Marshawn Williams, 15, and Deztanee Cobb, 17. It is expected that the remaining victims will be identified later this week.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas says he can’t speculate on the victims’ ages or genders because the scene is so “gruesome.”

A local pastor says the five victims are all believed to be teenagers, including one he had mentored.

An officer who spotted the speeding car turned on his lights and sirens, but quickly ended his pursuit because of safety concerns due to the car’s speed.

He spotted the crashed, burning car along a roadside shortly afterward.

A Michigan pastor says the victims are believed to have all been teenagers.

Strick Strickland is pastor of the Second Baptist Church and leader of the Kalamazoo area NAACP office. He says it’s his understanding that all the occupants of the car that crashed early Saturday were teens.

Police have not identified the five victims.

Strickland says he mentored one of them and he was a teen who attended an alternative school and played football.

He called the deadly crash “extremely tragic” and difficult to comprehend.

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