A driver going the wrong way on 1-89 in Vermont crashed into a car, killing five high schoolers before stealing a police cruiser and ramming into several more vehicles, authorities said.
The victims, all from Vermont, have been identified as Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury.
The Williston Police Department was the first to respond just before midnight on Saturday after multiple 911 calls reported a driver, later identified as Steven D. Bourgoin, 36, traveling northbound in the southbound lane on I-89 in a Toyota Tacoma. The crash occurred around the Williston exit.
Police arrived at the scene to find a Volkswagen Jetta on fire. As the officers pulled a woman from the car, Bourgoin jumped into a police cruiser and sped off, authorities said.
A Richmond police officer stationed further along I-89 responded to the report of a stolen police cruiser. When Bourgoin saw the officer, he turned around on the interstate and headed back toward the original crash scene, officials said. Bourgoin then struck seven other vehicles, police said.
Bourgoin and several victims from the second crash were taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center to be treated for injuries.
Police said that Bourgoin was taken into custody, but was still hospitalized as of Sunday. Officials said the extent of his injuries was not yet known, but that they were not considered life-threatening.
Four of the five teenagers killed — Mary, Cyrus, Liam and Eli — were students at Harwood Union High School. Janie was a student at Kimball Union Academy.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin ordered the Vermont flag lowered to half-staff on Monday to honor the five teenagers.
State and local police continue to investigate the crashes. Anyone with information is asked to call the state police barracks in Williston at (802) 878-7111.