GARY, Ind. – The parents of two high school seniors who died in a car crash say their sons were left along the side of a road for several hours after police overlooked them while investigating the accident.
Brandon Smith and Dominique Green, both 18, were killed in the single-vehicle accident early Saturday, according to the Lake County coroner's office. The two other occupants survived the crash and told police and emergency workers that two of their friends were still at the crash site, said Darren Smith, a Gary firefighter and Brandon's uncle.
Arthur Smith, Brandon's father, said police refused to listen to the two survivors and did not look for his son or Green. He said he found the boys' bodies himself when he went to the scene of the crash hours after it occurred.
"It took me all of five minutes to find the boys dead," Smith said. "They were right there, I didn't look under anything. I just seen my son, I seen my baby."
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Gary Police.
Gary Police Department Commander Samuel Roberts told the Post-Tribune that the officer who responded to the accident did not deviate from departmental procedures. He could not explain why the two teens were left along the roadside and said he did not yet know all the details of the case.
"I don't know if the officer was told there were four people in the vehicle or if the occupant said he had dropped off the other people," Roberts said. "Right now, what I do know is that the police department responded and an accident report was taken."
Jacquelyn Green said she is not blaming anyone for her son's death. But she said that if Arthur Smith was able to find the boys in a matter of minutes, police should easily have been able to find them much sooner.
Mourners held a vigil at the accident scene late Saturday, with some saying that the boys may not have died if police found them sooner. Candles, flowers and a stuffed dog were placed below the damaged guard rails where the vehicle apparently veered off Chase Street.
Mayor Rudy Clay stopped by the crash scene Saturday to offer condolences, but referred all inquiries to Gary Police Chief Thomas Houston.
The two survivors, Darius Moore and DeAndre Anderson, both 18, were taken to the Methodist Hospital in Gary. A hospital operator said the hospital does not release patient information.