Dayton police seek answers after 4 family members killed, 4 hurt

Dayton police are still looking for answers after a Christmas Day crash that left four people dead and four people critically injured, all apparently from the same family.

Renee Jones-Blevins, 49, Quaishia Jones, 28, Tae’Kwaun Jones, 10, and Mae’lah Jones, 5, were killed in the crash, according to Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger. Four others in the vehicle remain in critical condition at an area hospital.

The single-car crash happened around 11 a.m. on West Third Street near Abbey Avenue. A white Dodge Avenger with eight people inside was being driven west at nearly 70 mph on West Third when it crossed the center line and hit a tree and an RTA pole.

Dayton Police Lt. James Mullins said it is still too early to determine what caused the crash.

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“There’s a lot of follow up the detectives are going to have to do to see if there was some sort of external cause or something that happened in the vehicle or a mechanical issue with the vehicle,” Mullins said.

Mullins said that there were too many people in that car to be traveling so fast.

“That vehicle was made for five people,” Mullins said. “It was not made for any more than that.”

Relatives who showed up at the crash scene said there were several family members in the car. Mullins said he wasn’t sure if the people in the car were extended family or immediate family. The people involved in the crash were local, he said.

Jones-Blevins was driving the car. She and a woman passenger, Quaishia Jones, were pronounced dead at the scene, as was a boy, Tae’Kwaun Jones. A girl, Mae’lah Jones, later died at the hospital.

A 12-year-old, another 5-year-old, a 2-year-old and 1-year-old remain in the hospital in critical condition, according to Mullins. The names of the critically injured children have not been released.

The car’s frame left behind was barely recognizable. After hitting the tree and pole, it split in half and burst into flames.

A metal bench was toppled in the impact, a tree damaged and a fire hydrant knocked over in front of a Wireless Connection Store. On Thursday, the fire hydrant had been replaced and a small memorial had been put at the crash scene.

Leslie Boyd and Willie McDowell rushed to Dayton from Indiana after hearing about the crash they said involved several of their relatives.

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“It’s Christmas, we were planning to come down here Friday to celebrate, you know. Now we’re coming here for tragedy,” McDowell said.

A longtime police officer said this was the worst crash he’s ever responded to.

The victims’ relatives are now at a loss for words.

“The whole family is gone, man,” McDowell said.

In surveillance footage obtained from the Cricket Wireless store on the corner of Brooklyn Avenue and West Third, the car can be seen driving faster than the other cars on the road before it.

Just before the white Dodge goes out of frame it can be seen crossing the center line. Dayton police investigators estimate that the car was going at least double the speed limit, which is 35 mph on that part of West Third Street.

“Traveling at that kind of speed on that roadway is not safe,” Mullins said.

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Dayton police asked the public for help in this investigation.

“Please contact the Dayton Police if you have any information about this, if you were a witness, or saw anything before this happened,” Mullins said. “We still don’t know where this started.”

This is not the first Christmas Day fatal crash in the area.

On Christmas Day 2009, a 25-year-old was killed and six others were injured in a car crash, according to Dayton Daily archives. Mohammed Shaikh of Miamisburg crashed on I-675 near the Wilmington Pike exit.

New numbers obtained from the Ohio State Highway Patrol show 12 people were killed in eight different crashes across the state between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Four of those deaths were in the Dayton crash on West Third. That was the only fatal crash in the Miami Valley.

A double-fatal crash was investigated in Van Wert County. Fatal crashes were reported in Hamilton County, Wayne County, Cuyahoga, Muskingum, Madison and near the border of Stark and Carroll counties.

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