INDIANAPOLIS — Friends and family of three teenagers killed in a car crash over the weekend gathered for a prayer vigil on Memorial Day.
The fatal crash took place early Saturday morning on Indy’s near northwest side.
Those who live near where the crash happened believe the area is far too dangerous and has been for a long time.
They lobbied for safety improvements, like adding sidewalks, to try and prevent any more deaths.
Holding balloons and wearing masks while standing six feet apart, a large group gathered responsibly to honor the victims.
“These babies were just walking, minding their business, having fun like teenagers do, and their lives were just taken within a split second,” said Kashonna Brown.
Kashonna’s 15-year-old daughter, Kierra, and two others died Saturday morning during a chain reaction crash.
Police believe a car was traveling south on Kessler Boulevard when it hit another car. The second car was thrown into a third vehicle, and the three teens were killed while simply walking along the road.
Monday’s vigil and balloon release did little to ease the pain of the victims’ mothers.
“She will be missed by everybody. She’ll always be in my heart,” said Kashonna.
“I just wake up crying. I go in her room lay in her bed. It’s unbearable,” said Lashana Martin.
Lashana’s daughter, Tyjiana Velez, also died in the crash. During the rally, neighbors who walk the area on a daily basis claim drivers often go far faster than the posted speed limit.
“I’ve seen so many vehicles racing to get in front of the other one,” said one neighbor. “I just wanted to affirm this is a very dangerous area.”
Police confirm speed did play a role in the crash. Kierra’s mother also insists the lack of sidewalks forces people to walk in the street, only adding to the danger.
“The whole area over here on Kessler is terrible. I’ve seen so many accidents,” said Kashonna.
Police added that the case is still being reviewed for possible criminal charges. All the drivers involved were located and submitted to toxicology requests.
Officials have not identified the third teen who died.
We reached out to the city about why there aren’t any sidewalks in this area and if this is something being considered. This was their response:
“No project to add sidewalks at this location is included the 4-year capital program presented to/approved by the Council for 2019-2023, nor specifically in 2020’s capital program. (Though this year’s projects do include 21,870 linear feet of new sidewalk and 31,276 linear feet of sidewalk rehab: https://www.indy.gov/activity/major-transportation-projects)
Our Engineering division regularly receives, evaluates and maintains records of requests for new sidewalks, which are prioritized and added into our capital program as DPW is allocated appropriate funding.”