Tragedy struck in Maryland Saturday when five children died in a horrifying single-car accident, NBC News reports. A 2005 Chrysler Pacifica went off the road and smashed into several trees, ejecting all five children from the vehicle. "Every collision where we lose life is a tragedy," says a Maryland state trooper. "And where children are involved, it's more of a tragedy." Police have identified the children as Damari Herald, 15, Zion Beard, 14, Rickelle Ricks, 6, London Dixon, 8, and Paris Dixon, 5. Dominique Taylor, 32—the driver and mother of the two youngest children—survived but her condition is unknown; police tell the Washington Post that passenger Cornell Simon, 23, remains in critical condition.
Seems the children were unrestrained in the back seat while the adults were wearing seatbelts. The cause is unknown, but NBC Washington notes that roads were icy statewide when the crash occurred northbound on Route 301 in Bowie, Md., just before 5am. Kashmere Cooper, who knew Taylor back in middle school and high school, says she began crying when she heard about the crash. "I am still heartbroken," says the District Heights resident. "I know how much she loved her kids. I've never lost a child. I can't even grasp it." (In January, a 12-year-old girl died in the most unexpected way.)