UPDATE: The mothers of the three teens killed in a hit-and-run crash over the holiday weekend spoke to the press Thursday night following the announcement of charges being filed in the case.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Investigators believe a father and daughter – both intoxicated – are responsible for a crash that killed three teens walking on the side of the road on the city’s northwest side.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has charged 49-year-old Okadema Link and 24-year-old Shantiana Willis in the case.
Their mugshots have not yet been released by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
They each faces nine felony counts in the case. Charges include reckless homicide and causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Link also faces charges for leaving the scene of an accident.
Police say both were traveling at high rates of speed before the crash. Data recovered from the vehicles show Willis was traveling 91.3 miles per hour when impact occurred. Data from Link’s vehicle show he was traveling 71 miles per hour one-half second before the collision.
Statements from witnesses helped police put together what happened.
According to court documents, they were traveling southbound on Kessler Boulevard N. Drive near 38th Street just before 1 a.m. on May 23 when Willis struck a 2013 GMC Acadia, which then crossed the raised concrete median. Willis, in a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu, then veered into the other lane and was struck in the rear by Link’s vehicle, pushing the vehicle driven by Willis into the opposite lanes. Her car finally came to a stop in a yard after striking a parked tow truck.
Link’s vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe, struck the three teens, who were walking on the gravel shoulder.
14-year-old David Evans, 13-year-old Tyjiana Velez and 15-year-old Kierra Brown were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said Link fled the scene, but returned about an hour later and told police he was responsible for hitting the kids.
He told police at the scene that he was not racing the vehicle driven by Willis. Detectives were able to smell alcohol on his breath and had him perform sobriety tests, which he failed.
Willis, hospitalized after the crash, was unable to do sobriety tests. Her blood was taken for test just before 5 a.m.
Online court records do not yet list future appearances for Link or Willis.
The crash has led to community members calling for improved safety measures in the area.
On Monday afternoon, a vigil was held to remember the teens.
An initial release from IMPD stated Willis was 21 years old. Court documents state she is actually 24. This story has been updated to reflect her age as 24.
Below is a video of the mothers’ news conference on Thursday evening. App users can click here to view it online.