Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her sport utility vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Three children, all siblings, were killed, and at least two other people were critically injured.
The accident occurred late Friday morning about a mile from where the carjacking occurred.
Homicide Capt. John Clark said the carjackers may have blown a tire as they turned a corner at high speed. The car ended up in a wooded area, its front end smashed against a stand of trees.
The two dead brothers were ages 7 and 10, and their sister was 15. Police said their mother, 34, was in extremely critical condition. Their identities weren’t immediately released.
The carjackers fled the scene on foot and remained at large.
Also helping the children and their mother sell fruit was a neighbor, who also was struck. The neighbor, 65, was reported in stable condition, police said.
Police said the carjacked woman, a 45-year-old real estate agent who was forced into the backseat of her SUV, also was critically injured.
Police were offering a $60,000 reward for the carjackers’ capture. They also asked businesses with surveillance cameras to provide footage and asked anyone with information in the case to come forward.
Employees at Education Works, an educational nonprofit across the street from the site of the wreck, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that they ran to try to help the victims. One boy had no pulse and another’s was barely there, said Karen Payne, who runs a summer camp at the nonprofit.
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said the mayor was heartbroken.
“The prayers of the city go out to this family,” he said.
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