COLUMBUS, Ohio — A family member of one of the teens who was killed while traveling in a stolen Hyundai this weekend described the incident has horrific and like a scary movie that just played in front of their eyes.
"It was something you wouldn't even picture little kids doing, or something you couldn't imagine a car doing with kids in it,” said Jayaonia Armstrong who says her little brother, Jayvon Reed was one of the boys who did not survive.
The crash happened Sunday evening in the area of St. Clair and East 5th avenues.
Police responded to the area after a caller told police the teens were breaking into a Kia Optima and then left the area in a Hyundai Elantra, which was reportedly stolen.
Officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop but the teens continued on at a high rate of speed. Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said officers did not pursue.
The police helicopter followed the car until it crashed, ejecting two of the boys.
Three 14-year-old boys were taken to nearby hospitals. Two were taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital and one to Grant Medical Center. Two of the teens were pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m.
In an update Monday, police said the third teen is listed as stable.
“My brother, he's a good kid, definitely. He just brings life to the party. He's the funniest out of all of us. He's just goofy,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong contends her brother is not a “Kia Boy,” and has never been in trouble.
This deadly crash is hard for her to understand.
“He just hung with the wrong crowd. He hung with the wrong crowd after we told him multiple times, watch who you hang with because the wrong crowd can get you in trouble,” she said.
“We've had these boys associated with our Kia boys, two of them at least. Two of them were missing, they are in missing reports. For two of them, we had police reports with stolen autos. One kid had nothing in our system,” explained Columbus Police Commander Duane Mabry.
Mabry says of the nearly 6,000 cars that have been reported stolen in the city of Columbus this year, 40% are Hyundais and Kias. Many are stolen by kids.
“They are doing it intentionally to get likes. They are intentionally driving reckless. They are intentionally crashing these vehicles,” Mabry said.
Bryant says Columbus police will arrest the car thieves, but everyone needs to be held accountable to stop this deadly trend.
“It's not just the children, it's the parents. They have to be equally involved in this effort. We have to make sure they are on board and we have to hold them accountable as well,” Bryant said.
For the families who saw the violent way their loved ones die, they can't help but think about their last minutes.
“How they felt at that moment? Just hitting something and not knowing what was going on the next minute, then you lose your life. That's tragic,” said Jayvon Reed’s sister, Chrishawna Reed.