FLORISSANT, Mo. — Three children died after a vehicle crashed into a tree on New Florissant Road Monday morning, and the lone survivor was the 13-year-old driver, police said.
The Florissant Police Department said in a Facebook post that four people were in the vehicle at the time of the crash. One person was transported to the hospital.
In a statement later on Monday, the department said all four people inside the car at the time were boys, three of whom were 13 and one of whom was 9. The lone survivor was a 13-year-old who was driving the car.
The 13-year-old driver is now facing manslaughter charges. He is in the custody of St. Louis County Family Court.
"This is such a tragedy for everyone involved and we offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims during this difficult time," the department said in the statement.
Tuesday afternoon, 5 On Your Side’s Robert Townsend talked on the phone to a friend of one of the 13-year-olds. The friend said his buddy was going to celebrate his 14th birthday next month and going to the ninth grade in August.
The department said an initial investigation found speed was a contributing factor in the crash.
Officers attempted to perform life-saving measures, according to the department's post.
Neighbors said crashes happen all the time because of a dangerous curve in the road.
“I heard a boom and I thought it was something in my house and maybe my son had done something,” neighbor Dwayne Elliot said.
That's when Elliot said he came out of his house just before 2 a.m. Monday and saw a car had crashed into a tree a few houses down.
“I got about halfway down the driveway and the car just exploded. It just exploded and I heard a guy saying I think there's someone in the car,” Elliot said.
Investigators believe the car immediately caught fire after hitting the tree.
“I woke up this morning and I hear there were three people who passed away. It's tragic. It's horrible,” Elliot said.
A neighbor two doors down from Elliot said crashes happen all the time on this stretch of the very busy road especially down by the library.
“It's a daily occurrence to hear cars squeal of tires, skidding to keep from hitting somebody because where this guy’s getting ready to turn out there now and that guys turning in. They almost hit right there just now,” neighbor Tim Wright said.
Elliot said his heart goes out to the families affected by this tragedy.
“I pray for those families and people who are in the car. You just got to be careful. I'm always careful coming around that edge and always slowing down no matter what,” Elliot said.
Florissant Police have not released the names of the victims in this crash and are still investigating the exact cause.
This is a developing story. More information will be added as it is confirmed.