HAMMOND, In. — Two teenage girls were killed Monday night in northwest Indiana after the car they were riding in ran through a red light and crashed into a semi-tractor trailer, according to police.
Candles at the corner of 108th Street and Indianapolis Boulevard in Hammond, IN mark the spot where the young women lost their lives. Officials say 17-year-old Emely Perez and 18-year-old Mia Rodriguez were inside a four-door sedan when it crashed into a semi around 10 p.m. Monday.
“The females driving the car were traveling at a high rate of speed and ran a red light at the intersection,” Hammond Police Lieutenant Steve Kellogg said.
Kellogg said it appears the car ran into the semi as it made a legal left turn, although they're still working to understand what went wrong.
Perez and Rodriguez were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car, said to be a sister to one of the victims, was airlifted to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. The semi-truck driver suffered minor injuries.
Friends and loved ones in their Far Southeast Side community are overwhelmed by the scale of the tragedy.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t wrap my mind around it,” one friend said.
Rodriguez was taking night classes to graduate on time, friends say, with dreams of going to Harold Washington College and becoming a flight attendant.
A girl who identified herself as Rodriguez's best friend said she was, "the friend that always checked up on you." A GoFundMe page has been started on behalf of Rodriguez's family.