Local News

Teens killed in Capital Blvd. crash were traveling in car stolen last month

Posted October 19, 2021 12:25 a.m. EDT
Updated October 20, 2021 8:09 a.m. EDT

— Raleigh police on Tuesday said the car in which five teens were killed in a Capital Boulevard crash had been stolen. It was not clear which of the teens was driving or how they came in possession of the car, but a police report showed the car was stolen in September.

A 13-year-old, two 14-year-olds and two 17-year-old boys were killed in the crash, according to police.

Investigators say the vehicle they were in was traveling at 80 mph in a 35 mph zone when it hit a concrete barrier on Capital Boulevard.

According to a 911 call recording released by police, the individual who called in the wreck couldn't even tell if anyone was in the car due to the damage.

Raleigh police confirmed the vehicle, a gold 2013 Lexus RX300, was reported stolen from a home in Northeast Raleigh in September.

At this time, it is not known who took the car or how the boys came into possession of the car.

The boys, 13-year-old Mi-Keal Freeman, 14-year-old Lebron Staton, 14-year-old Zymeer Dennis, 17-year-old Jeremiah Williams, and 17-year-old Kamari Strayhorn were remembered at a vigil last night, and the families have set up Go Fund Me pages to help with funeral expenses.

Family members of the crash victims tell WRAL News they are seeking answers too in this unimaginable tragedy.

"Everybody is taking this really hard," said Kimberly Brown, the aunt of Lebron Staton. "It's just bad. We don't have a lot of words. We don't really know what to say."

Four of the teens who died were enrolled in Wake County schools.

• Freeman attended Carroll Middle School
• Staton went to Ligon Middle School
• Dennis was a student at Wake Forest High School
• Strayhon went to South Garner High School

Williams attended Lumberton Senior High School but had previously attended Wake schools.

"The number of our students involved adds another layer of difficulty and really shock," said Wake County Superintendent Cathy Moore. "It's a tragedy that we're all connected to. We are providing counseling and support for the school families that knew these students."

During Tuesday night's Wake County school board meeting, school board member Monika Jonson-Hostler gave remarks about the students who died in Sunday's crash.

Johnson-Hostler said she wanted to remind adults who may be addressing who these students were or weren't to model good behavior and keep in mind there are families who are grieving.

"It's not a call any parents want to receive and I would ask all adults to think about that before you start talking about what those students may have doing and why it occured," said Johnson-Hostler. "[I'm] begging our community to be thoughtful and kind during this time to those families and those communities."

Local therapist Jasmine Griffin has been organizing the vigils, including another one planned for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Raleigh’s Martin Luther King Memorial Park.

"It's the praying time. We have to sit together as a community," said Griffin. "I grew up in Southeast Raleigh and it was very tragic, you know. Five teenagers."

Griffin thinks young people in her community need more support in the way of positive programs and mentors.

"We need a lot of leaders right now, and this is the time we will need a lot of leaders, a lot of people to speak up. I feel like if that is done, we can prevent it from happening again," said Griffin.

Hundreds gathered on Tuesday night to release balloons and speaks about the boys.

"My baby cousin was 14 years old. He had so much life to live, so much more mistakes to make and so much more lessons to learn," said a speaker at the vigil. "I just want to tell everyone out here, I am so sorry for all y'all's loss."

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