Two teens killed in I-70 crash were Ben Davis students, police investigate whether they were being chased
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Students at Ben Davis High School are mourning the loss of two classmates who were killed in a rollover crash on I-70 near downtown on Tuesday night. Brandon Gross, 18, and Taylor Parsons, 17, died after they were ejected from their vehicle.
A spokesperson for Wayne Township confirms Gross and Parsons were students at the school, and they released the following statement:
“The MSD of Wayne Township is heartbroken over the loss of two Ben Davis High School students in a fatal accident Tuesday night. This loss will be felt by our entire community. Grief counseling will be available for students and staff at Ben Davis.”
According to Superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts, counselors will be made available at the school today.
The crash occurred around 9:15 p.m. on I-70 near Harding Street on the near west side of Indianapolis.
Police say a Nissan Pathfinder was traveling at a high rate of speed in the far left lane of I-70 when it made a maneuver across all three lanes. Police believe it was an attempt to exit on Harding Street.
The Pathfinder slid into the grass and rolled four or five times before coming to a rest on its side. The officer says all five occupants were not wearing seat belts.
Gross was a passenger in the SUV, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Parsons was the driver, and she passed away Tuesday night at the hospital.
Police released the identities of the other crash victims on Wednesday afternoon. Kristopher Church, 17, remains in critical condition at Eskenazi Hospital. Michael Blackmore, 19, is in serious but stable condition at Methodist Hospital. Olivia Evans, 18, is in serious but stable condition at Methodist Hospital. The school confirms that Evans is a student and Church and Blackmore are former students.
Police are looking into the possibility of another vehicle being involved. They say a vehicle may have been chasing the Pathfinder after an incident at an area park.
From 2011-2015, state police report 1,494 fatal crashes were seat belts were not used. In 2016, they report 287. State Police are stressing the importance of always wearing a seat belt, even if others in the car aren’t wearing one.
“We’ll never know if Brandon and Taylor would have survived, had they have their seatbelt on, but we do know they would have stayed inside the vehicle,” said Sgt. John Perrine.
Police are asking for anyone with information about the crash to call State Police at 317-899-8577.