The Illinois community of Hickory Hills is reeling after a serious car crash took the lives of four teens over the weekend. As the neighborhood mourns those lost, the teen driver allegedly responsible for the wreck now faces severe charges.
Authorities say the accident happened around 2:30 pm on Saturday, July 17. The teen driver was reportedly behind the wheel of a 2008 Mercedes SUV along with five passengers, including the four victims.
According to a police statement, the teen driver was trying to “go airborne over the crest of the hill” on a neighborhood street.
“After traveling through the intersection at 86th Avenue, the vehicle did go airborne, as described by witnesses,” the police statement read.
While police are unsure of exactly how fast the car was traveling, it was fast enough that, upon hitting a tree, the vehicle split in two.
Two passengers died at the scene, while two more died later from their injuries. The car’s driver and one passenger were taken to the hospital but later released.
The four victims have since been identified as 17-year-old Omarion Rieves, 17-year-old Nathaniel Phillips, 16-year-old Destiny Giera and 15-year-old Jemerrio Rieves.
Remembering The Crash Victims
Friends and family of the deceased gathered with community members at the scene of the crash for a memorial vigil on Sunday, July 18. Attendees lit candles and released balloons while sharing memories of the young victims. Kenneth Roberts recalled having to tell his family that his son, Nathaniel Phillips, had died.
“They miss him dearly right now — and when we broke the news last night, it was kind of devastating,” said Roberts.
Meanwhile, others remembered brothers Omarion and Jemerrio Rieves.
“I knew Jemerrio and Omarion — they were one of my closest friends,” said attendee Rachel Grau. “They were always full of joy, and they were always full of laughter; like they were fun to hang around with. Everyone knew them.”
Friends of Destiny Giera also turned up to mourn the 16-year-old’s untimely passing.
“It’s honestly really sad because she could have done so much more,” attendee Yeneliz Delmoral said. “She was so smart and capable of so much more, but I don’t know.”
Police are reportedly investigating the crash alongside the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team. The driver, who remains unidentified due to being underage, faces charges of reckless homicide along with traffic citations.