UPDATE: 3 killed in street racing incident identified

Photo courtesy: IFD
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Three people died in a crash on the city's south side Wednesday night. Two vehicles were racing when one lost control, hitting another vehicle and killing three people.

The victims were identified Monday night as 52-year-old Rebeca Rodriquez-Gomez, her daughter, 12-year-old Jasmine Alday-Rodriguez, and an acquaintance from church, 59-year-old Rogelio Legorreta.

The crash happened in the northbound lanes of South East Street near I-465 around 11:45 p.m. Both directions of East Street along with exit ramps for I-465 were closed for almost two hours during clean up.

Officials say that a Ford Mustang, driven by 20-year-old Conner Tomlinson, was traveling southbound on East Street when it crossed the median and struck an SUV traveling northbound. Investigators say they believe the Mustang was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash.

Witnesses said that the Mustang floored it at one point, causing its rear to fishtail. The Mustang crossed in front of the Corvette, struck the median and flipped into the northbound lanes, hitting a Trailblazer.

Three people inside the Trailblazer - Rodriguez-Gomez, Alday-Rodriguez and Legorreta - died.

Nick Zimmerman and his friend Shawn Kirkpatrick were in a car about 15 feet behind the crash.

"They pulled out, they were already going down the road, so they were in front of us, we pulled out behind them," Zimmerman said. 

The roads were dark and slick after a long night of storms. Zimmerman and Kirkpatrick say the accident happened on the overpass right before I-465.

"When [the Mustang] accelerated, he fish-tailed, the back end slid out, and when he did that he was in the right lane, but he pulled forward in of the Corvette. He fish tailed, he hit the median, and when he hit the median it shot him up in the air and he came down, and he came down in front of the other car," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman's car was hit with flying debris, damaging his driver's-side mirror.

"We were behind the Mustang when it happened and then we ended up being next to the Corvette, and I guess something flew off," Zimmerman said.

"You have the capability, the wherewithal, and even within your power to drive in a manner that's illegal. But just because you can, doesn't mean you should," said Officer Christopher Wilburn, with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. "Unless you have the background and are familiar with how to operate a vehicle in that type of environment, you're putting yourself into a ticking time bomb."

Witnesses say that section of East Street is commonly used for racing because it is a long, straight stretch.

"Just trying to race, especially in bad conditions, when it's been storming all day, and then knowing a Mustang, they already have too much power as it is, normally, just tried to be cool," Kirkpatrick said.

Four people were inside the Mustang, including at 10-year-old child.  All told police they could not remember what happened.

Tomlinson and one of his passengers were taken to Eskenazi Health. Two female passengers were both taken to Methodist. All four occupants of the Mustang are listed in good condition.

Zimmerman and Kirkpatrick said they tried to help after the crash.

"When I walked up, I saw the whole left side, the whole corner panel, engine, driver's side smashed in," Kirkpatrick said.

"I was talking to the passenger and his head was bleeding pretty good, so I took off my shirt and gave it to him and he got my jacket. And then I went over to the Trailblazer and it wasn't too good over there," Zimmerman said.

"Bad way to end it. They shouldn't have even tried racing, especially in slick conditions," Kirkpatrick said.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will determine whether charges will be filed.