Three youths ages 12 to 15 were killed when a car driven by a teenager without a license hit ice and slammed into a tree in central Maine early Sunday morning, according to authorities.
State police say the crash killed 15-year-old Thomas Porfirio, 14-year-old Emily Baker and her 12-year-old sister Ashland Baker, all of Clinton.
The 16-year-old driver and another passenger in the car, 12-year-old Naveah Wilson, were hurt in the crash. Both Clinton residents are being treated at Maine Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.
Troopers say the Toyota Corolla they were traveling in struck an icy patch on Hinckley Road around 7:15 a.m., went into an uncontrolled skid and struck a large tree on the passengers side of the car.
State troopers and the Clinton police and fire departments responded near the intersection of True Road after the crash was reported by another driver.
“It came right in here sideways,” said Norman Prosper, as he gestured towards the tree damaged by the car.
Prosper lives in the area of the crash his grandchildren knew the victims.
Based on a text and social media message chain between the kids the night before the crash, police believe they had stayed at a house until the early morning and made a plan to take the car out.
“I think it was just an idea they had after midnight that they were going to get together and ride around,” Chief Stanley Bell of Clinton’s Police Department said Monday.
Authorities say driver inexperience and speed likely caused the crash but the investigation is ongoing.
The driver's name is being withheld as investigators and the district attorney's office review the crash investigation.
"I personally did the notifications yesterday and spent time with both families," Bell said. "I went back three hours later to meet with them again, to reassure them we’re here and we understand we gave them the most devastating news."