Maine Police Investigating Death of 4 College Students Trapped in Car That Erupted Into Flames Following Crash
A fiery car crash led to the death of four college students in a tiny town on the coast of Maine. The driver and two other passengers were able to escape the vehicle.
The victims were among the seven individuals traveling in a 2013 Range Rover when it veered off the road and crashed into a tree shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday in the tiny coastal town of Castine, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. The impact caused the caused the car to erupt into flames according to authorities, and soon the fire engulfed the entire vehicle.
The victims have been preliminarily identified as 20-year-old Brian Kenealy, 21-year-old Chase Fossett, 22-year-old Luke Simpson, and 20-year-old Riley Ignacio-Cameron.
The driver and two other passengers were able to make a quick escape and later taken to nearby hospitals, where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Department of Safety public information officer Shannon Moss tells Inside Edition.
Those three individuals have been preliminarily identified as Joshua Goncalves-Radding, Noelle Tavares, and Dominick Gecoya, according to Moss. All three are 20 years old.
Goncalves-Radding had been driving the vehicle according to preliminary investigations conducted by Maine State Police and the Dept. of Safety. The Land Rover then "left the road and struck a tree before erupting in flames."
Moss tells Inside Edition that the bodies of all four victims are with the chief medical examiner in Augusta, who will determine the cause of death as part of the ongoing investigation.
The four victims and three survivors were all students at Maine Maritime Academy, where classes officially ended for the semester just hours before the crash on Friday.
On Sunday night, students came together to both mourn and pay tribute to their fallen classmates during a vigil at the college's campus.
The president of Maine Maritime Academy, Jerry S. Paul, also attended the gathering and spent time trying to console students.
Paul commented on the tragedy in a statement, saying: "Our community is grieving for these young lives and for their families. While we have lost beloved members of our student body, tonight there are four families who have lost their children. I ask for continued respect and privacy of our Maine Maritime family."
He then encouraged those around him to "hold these young people close to your hearts and in your prayers," while pledging to work with authorities as part of the ongoing investigation and offer counseling support for students, faculty and staff at the Academy.
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