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BOWIE, Md. — The Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) released new information Sunday morning regarding a deadly car crash that left four people dead after the car engulfed in flames in Mitchellville Friday night.
Relatives of the victims told WUSA9 that the four victims were teenagers and that three of them were students at Charles Herbert Flowers High School.
Police say before the crash, officers saw a Kia Sorento on Lottsford Road and Palmetto Drive with expired temporary tags and attempted a traffic stop with the Kia. However, the car sped off, officials say.
Officials say officers tried to pursue the Kia, but after losing sight of it, police disengaged. Following this, police got word that the tags of the Kia did not match the car, and they attempted to relocate the car. However, police were unsuccessful, according to officials.
According to police, witnesses say that about four minutes later, the Kia attempted to pass a driver on the shoulder of the roadway in the 12800 block of Woodmore Road. However, the driver of the Kia lost control of the car and crashed into a tree where the car burst into flames, according to officials.
Neighbors describe what they believed to be an explosion, and said that other drivers tried rescuing the four teens. Multiple neighbors said they did not hear a breaking sound before the crash.
The incident happened about 2.5 miles away from the original attempted traffic stop. Following the crash, officials found that the Kia was taken in an armed carjacking earlier in Greenbelt, according to police.
Family members of two of the victims gathered at the scene of the crash in prayer. They say Serenity Sellman, 15, was the only girl in the vehicle.
“Serenity was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Serenity’s aunt Sheila Hamilton told WUSA9.
Hamilton said she does not believe that Serenity or her 17-year-old cousin Dartrell Beyer, who was also in the car, knew the vehicle was stolen.
“If she knew the vehicle was stolen, she would not have gotten in that vehicle, and that’s a promise,” Hamilton said. “And her little cousin Dartrell wouldn’t have gotten in that vehicle either. The guys that stole that vehicle came to the house and picked them up.”
Serenity’s mother said her daughter’s personality matched her name perfectly.
“We are definitely going to miss the smile,” Serenity’s godmother, Latasha Hamilton, said. “That’s all we got from her. Serenity was never upset.”
The Sellman family has created a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses.
“I just wish this never happened,” said the younger sister of another victim, who family identified as Marquay.
PGPD says this incident is subject to an administrative review. After notifying the Maryland Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division (IID), the IID found that the “incident did not meet the parameters of an officer-involved fatality,” officials say.
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