5 teenagers killed in fiery crash near Kalamazoo

- Authorities in southwestern Michigan say five Kalamazoo teenagers were killed when the speeding car they were in burst into flames after slamming into a tree.

The teens were in a Dodge Charger that police estimated was traveling about 100 mph before crashing shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday in Comstock Township, near Kalamazoo.

A Kalamazoo Township police officer saw the car speed past and began to chase it, but soon lost sight of the vehicle. The officer later came across the burning wreckage in a yard off the street.

Authorities have released the names of the five teenagers killed.

Jaquarius Hegler, Marshawn Williams, Elexus Hillsman, Cortavian Murphy and Deztanee Cobb were positively identified by a medical examiner.

Hegler and Williams were 15, Hillsman and Murphy 16, and Cobb 17.

A makeshift memorial of stuffed animals, flowers and balloons has been started at the crash site.

"It just breaks my heart," Trayona Patton told WXMI-TV about the crash that she said killed one of her son's friends. "It saddens me because his life got ended out of nowhere."

Cobb's mother, Tracey Taylor, described her as loyal, attentive and adventurous. She said the teen was ready to start her senior year in high school.

"Everything for her was go hard or go home. She loved life and people," Taylor wrote in an email to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Cobb played sports and was an Advanced Placement student at Kalamazoo Central High School. She planned to go to college and pursue a master's degree in child psychology, her mother said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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