ST LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol has identified the fifth person who died in a horrific fiery crash that claimed the lives of five young people.
Investigators say 27-year-old Kedan D. Tillett of Fort Pierce was driving the Dodge Dakota that burst into flames Friday night in St. Lucie County.
Earlier, FHP identified the other deceased individuals as Anthony Victor, 21, of Fort Pierce, Anthony M. Martin,16, of Fort Pierce, Darien L. Douglas, 21, of Port St. Lucie and Alexis Chaney, 17, of Fort Pierce.
"I miss her smile, I miss everything about her because she was the joy of the family," said Shameka Baker, the mother of Alexis Chaney.
Baker is still fighting through the pain and holding her family tight.
"I hate the fact she's not here anymore, it's hurtful, I miss her," said Hydia Anderson, Alexis's sister.
Fort Pierce Police and Courageous Kids paused to honor Chaney Tuesday night at First Step Park near her home. That's where the tenth grader helped feed and support younger kids in the community each week.
"She was the happiest, smartest, intelligent, and loving person, the whole community loved her," Baker said.
According to FHP, a 2004 GMC Yukon driven by 21-year-old Tanner Ray Dashner of Fort Pierce was traveling south on S. 25th Street approaching Midway Road at 10:41 p.m. on Friday when he crashed into the rear of the Dodge Dakota.
The crash caused the Dakota to become fully engulfed in fire, killing the driver and four occupants.
According to FHP, 14-year-old Ari'yonnia Stanberry of Fort Pierce, spent the night in the hospital after being rescued and was released the next day.
"It's hard, I met with the other mothers, talked to them, we are all going through a whole lot," Baker said.
Now, as Baker and her family try to come to grips with this tragedy, they're relying on prayer and one another to keep Alexis's spirit alive.
"I love her, I miss her and she will always rest in my heart," said Annabell Scott, Alexis' grandmother.
"I'm going stay strong and I'm gone go on and my sister will live through me," said Anderson, as tears rolled down her face.
Dashner was critically injured in the crash and a passenger in a third vehicle suffered minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation.
The State Attorney's Office released this statement:
On the evening of November 23, 2018, we as a community suffered a tragic loss of life in a traffic crash which occurred at the intersection of Midway Road and 25th Street in Saint Lucie County. This incident cut short the lives of five of our fellow citizens. Several inquiries have been made of the State Attorney’s Office regarding the status and progress of this investigation.
Immediately upon notification of the incident described above, this office dispatched two Assistant State Attorneys to the scene of the crash to render assistance and legal advice to the Florida Highway Patrol. Those prosecutors along with a State Attorney Investigator, subsequently assigned, have continued to assist the Florida Highway Patrol’s elite Advanced Investigation and Reconstruction Team in the collection of evidence and the thorough and complete investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding this horrific event.
The nature of an investigation of this magnitude is by definition complex and involved. There simply are no short cuts. It is understandable that the families of the victims and members of the community want immediate action, but to take any action prematurely would only serve to jeopardize the search for the truth and ultimately justice in this matter.
This is an active and ongoing criminal investigation and therefore it would be improper to disclose any details regarding the investigative activities engaged in by law enforcement or the State Attorney’s Office at this time. However, the community can rest assured that at the conclusion of this process there will be no question that every investigative avenue will have been aggressively and exhaustively explored. The final investigation, in total, will be subject to the full light of day and will be open for public inspection.
As with every criminal investigation, public assistance is vital to our pursuit of the truth. Therefore, if anyone has information regarding this incident or the events leading up to this heartbreaking loss of life, please contact the State Attorney’s Office Investigator Ed Arens at 772-465-3000.