Victims' families react to deadly St. Pete crash - WFLA News Channel 8

Victims' families react to deadly St. Pete crash

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Left to right: Grace LaShawn Collier, Jamesia Chera Santoria Lang, Briana LeQuinda Campbell Left to right: Grace LaShawn Collier, Jamesia Chera Santoria Lang, Briana LeQuinda Campbell
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

A horrific, fiery crash took the lives of two St. Petersburg mothers and left their aunt fighting for her life.

It happened just before 3:00 a.m. Thursday on the 800 block of 16th St. South. Investigators believe Grace LaShawn Collier was driving her nieces, Briana LeQuinda Campbell and Jamesia Chera Santoria Lang, when it happened.

Investigators told WFLA someone was speeding in a 2012 Chrysler, FL tag R641LW, and was southbound on 16th Street South in the northbound lanes. Collier turned left to go into a parking lot at 882 16 Street South. As the Saturn crossed the northbound lanes, the front of the Chrysler struck the left rear of the it.

“It was no way possible for them to know this was going to happen,” said an eyewitness, who identified himself as Bay Boi Peoples to WFLA. “The car looked like movie-type stuff you’d see on a movie. It jumped and boom! It hit poles, spun, and as soon as it stopped … flames. It engulfed in flames.”

Investigators said as the vehicle spun, the force threw Campbell from the right front seat into the rear seat, on top of Lang. The force threw Collier across the car. It partially ejected her through the passenger window.

The fuel tank of the Saturn “was compromised,” as St. Petersburg Police put it, and the vehicle burst into flames.

Collier ended up outside of the car, but had massive internal injuries and major burns across the lower portion of her body. Medical teams airlifted her to Tampa General Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Campbell and Lang died in the car. The driver of the Chrysler left from the scene.

“How can you just leave somebody like that to die and you know the car is on fire,” said Brittany Campbell, who is a cousin to Briana and “Mesia,” as they call Lang. “You just jump out and run? How can you do that and leave somebody like that?”

On Thursday night, family members were trying to cope with loss. Briana was supposed to turn 24 next week. The St. Pete High graduate was planning her birthday party, sending out invites to all of her friends and family on Facebook. They will still throw the party in her honor.

She had three children who depended on her, two twins (a boy and a girl), and a one year old son.

Mesia had a 5 year-old son at home. Family members said she worked 2 jobs to support him: one at Penny’s in Tyrone Mall and another at Wendy’s.

Family members say the 3 women were coming home from a night out together.

“I just didn’t believe it at first,” said cousin Michael Campbell, who was in tears Thursday afternoon. “Right now I still don’t believe it. It just doesn’t feel real, you know?”

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

 
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