COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Authorities have released the names of five teenagers killed in a fiery weekend car crash in southwestern Michigan.
Jaquarius Hegler, Marshawn Williams, Elexus Hillsman, Cortavian Murphy and Deztanee Cobb were positively identified by a medical examiner, the sheriff’s office in Kalamazoo County said in a release Tuesday.
Hegler and Williams were 15, Hillsman and Murphy 16, and Cobb 17.
The teens were killed shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday after the Dodge Charger they were in slammed into a tree in Comstock Township, near Kalamazoo.
Just before the crash, a Kalamazoo Township police officer saw the car speed past and began to chase it, but soon lost sight of the vehicle. The officer later came across the burning wreckage in a yard off the street. Police say the car had been traveling about 100 mph.
A makeshift memorial of stuffed animals, flowers and balloons has been started at the crash site.
“It just breaks my heart,” Trayona Patton told WXMI-TV about the crash that she said killed one of her son’s friends. “It saddens me because his life got ended out of nowhere.”
Cobb’s mother, Tracey Taylor, described her as loyal, attentive and adventurous. She said the teen was ready to start her senior year in high school.
“Everything for her was go hard or go home. She loved life and people,” Taylor wrote in an email to the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Cobb played sports and was an Advanced Placement student at Kalamazoo Central High School. She planned to go to college and pursue a master’s degree in child psychology, her mother said.