Illegal street racing believed cause of triple fatal crash; passengers’ family ‘deeply sorry’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 24, 2015) --Metro Police say illegal street racing may be the cause of a terrible crash that left three people dead.

A 12-year-old girl was among those killed.

The crash happened just before midnight Wednesday on South East Street near Interstate 465.

Police say a Ford Mustang is believed to have caused the crash.

Witnesses say the driver of the Mustang and the driver of a Corvette were at a stoplight, revving their engines.

When the light changed, the two cars took off like they were racing.

Witnesses said the Mustang started to fishtail, hit the median and flipped into the oncoming lanes, striking a Chevrolet Trailblazer.

All three people in the Trailblazer were killed, including a 12-year-old  girl, who died on the way to Riley Hospital for Children.

The driver of the Mustang and three passengers were taken to the hospital in good condition.

Cindy Tunnell's 20-year-old daughter and 10-year-old granddaughter were two of those passengers. Tunnell said her daughter graduated high school with the Mustang's driver, identified as Connor Tomlinson, and they had been downtown to see the Circle of Lights.

"My daughter just wanted my granddaughter to see the Christmas lights," Tunnell said.

Tunnell said her granddaughter was the only person in the car who remembered the crash.

"She just said that the driver started going really fast and he was racing a car that was beside them," Tunnell said.

Investigators say the Mustang's speedometer was stuck on 60 miles per hour.  The speed limit at that location is 40 mph.

Mike Duckworth witnessed the crash. He was at a bar across the street and said it's common to hear people racing on that stretch of road.

"(It) sounded almost like a plane wreck. ... This is a residential area and it doesn’t need to be going on in this area," Duckworth said.

It's also an area where car enthusiasts often meet. One of them, Hatem Zahran, organized a candlelight vigil at the crash site Thursday night.

"It’s pretty sad. ... I feel horrible for the family," Zahran said.

Zahran planned to organize a fundraiser to help pay for funeral expenses, even though he did not know the victims. He said that he was working to get the car community involved. Zahran also said Tomlinson was known in that community and often frequented the area.

Tunnell believed her daughter and granddaughter were simply bystanders who were caught up in the crash. She said they are still coming to terms with what happened.

"I am deeply sorry. ... Nobody can bring (the victims) back but my heart goes out to each and every one of them," Tunnell said.

Tunnell also had a message for the community after the tragic crash.

"Slow down, people. I mean there (were) three innocent peoples' lives that were taken. This isn't a race track out here. If you want to race, find a track," Tunnell said.

Prosecutors will determine if charges should be filed against Tomlinson or the driver of the Corvette witnesses said he was racing. That driver initially left the scene but later returned with his father.