Philadelphia

Witness to Deadly Car Crash: ‘I Tried To Do Everything I Could’

A fiery crash in Northeast Philadelphia claimed the lives of three people, including two young women, early Sunday morning.

Police said a driver and two passengers were traveling in a black Chevrolet Camaro northbound on Torresdale Avenue toward Rhawn Street, in Holmesburg, just after 2:40 a.m. The car was traveling at a high speed when the driver lost control, careened into the oncoming traffic lane, and crashed head-on into a parked tractor-trailer, according to investigators.

Witnesses to the crash called 9-1-1, and when police arrived at the scene, they found both the Camaro and the tractor-trailer in flames, NBC10's Matt DeLucia reported.

A witness to the crash who sprung into action in an attempt to free the people trapped in the burning car told NBC10 that he smashed the passenger window, but couldn't get inside.

"Before I knew it, the entire car was engulfed in flames. There was nothing I could have done," the man said, holding back tears. "I just want the families to know, of whoever these victims are, this close to Christmas, that I tried. I tried to do everything I could to get them out of that vehicle. I tried. And I'm sorry that I couldn't."

Police at the scene said it appeared that speed played a factor in the deadly crash, and that the car went airborne over the crest of a hill near the intersection of Rhawn Street and Torresdale Avenue.

All three people in the Camaro died at the scene, police said. No one was in the tractor-trailer at the time of the crash.

Officers remained at the scene investigating the crash late Sunday morning. The intersection was closed several hours as hazmat crews cleaned up herbicide that spilled from the tractor-trailer. Police said the leaked herbicide does not pose a threat to anyone in the area.

"With the holidays coming up, it's a tragic loss of life, and for what?" Philadelphia Police Capt. Anthony Ginaldi said at the scene.

While police say speed was a factor in the crash, neighbors worry the trucks parked along the road may have also played a role.

"These trucks, I always look at them when I ride by," said one resident. "They really shouldn't be there."

Police are investigating whether or not the trucks were illegally parked.

Friends and family of the victims gathered for a vigil Sunday night.

"She was just the sweetest person," said a friend of the one of the victims. "I miss her so much." 

We are not releasing the identities of the victims until all family members are notified.

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