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New evidence released in crash that killed five in St. Lucie County

Tanner Dashner faces 10 felony charges
Posted at 7:33 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 04:27:47-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — It has been nearly six months since a crash in St. Lucie County claimed five young lives.

NewsChannel 5 has obtained new evidence prosecutors plan to present in their case against Tanner Dashner.

It was Nov. 23, 2018, the night after Thanksgiving when the calls came into 911.

“He just ran into something and a huge fire happened!" was one woman's description.

“Hit them, they hit me… pushed me the rest of the way," said a driver who was at the end of the three-car crash.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say an SUV, driven by 21-year-old Tanner Dashner, heading south at 97 miles an hour, rear-ended a truck, that then was pushed into a BMW.

Video of the crash shows the truck catch fire.

Alexis Cheney, Anthony Martin, Anthony Victor, Kedan Tilett and Darien Douglas were all killed.

Ari’yonnia Stanberry, 14, was pulled alive from the wreckage thanks to bystanders.

“Pretty much just reached out and everyone just grabbed her at that point," said one woman who ran to help.

Even the first arriving deputies had a tough time getting close to the scene.

“The heat was so great, I couldn’t get to anyone," said one deputy.

Dashner was arrested on five counts of both vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.

It is later discovered his blood alcohol level is .274 at the time of the crash, more than three times the legal limit.

Investigators found open bottles of liquor in his SUV.

A friend of Dashner’s, who had been fishing with him the day of the crash said he saw Dashner mixing drinks in his vehicle.

“Had he been drinking before you met him?" a prosecutor asks the friend.

"He told me he had … didn’t tell me how much," was the reply.

Prosecutors questioned others with Dashner the night of the crash who had differing recollections.

“Tanner was fine. Wasn’t slurring a word. Wasn’t walking everywhere," said one woman who was with him for several hours up until the crash.

“There was a lag in him if that makes sense, how when someone is drunk the way they’re looking or acting, there’s a lag in it," is the opinion of another woman who saw Dashner that night.

Social media may also play a role in this case. A picture from Dashner's Snapchat account shows him at a Fort Pierce bar before the crash with the word 'sloshed' at the bottom.

One of Dashner’s friends told prosecutors he saw Dashner’s dad the next day at the hospital.

”Did Tanner Dashner's father say his son was drunk or admit his son was drunk?" is the question from the prosecutor.
"He didn’t say anything like that. He said I should have done something, I should have taken his keys away or something like that," is the response from the friend.

Friends, family, witnesses, all scarred from this fateful moment.

“You got to realize I didn’t sleep for 3 or 4 days after that. It was very harsh," one witness told prosecutors. "Kind of like I've been trying to forget it."

Dashner’s next court date is set for August.