INDIANA COUNTY (KDKA) — State police and Saltsburg firefighters found a car crushed against a tree around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Five passengers, ages 18 to 21, were riding in a Dodge Neon when it slammed into a tree on Saltsburg Road.

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“The vehicle, we believe, was travelling at a high rate of speed the operator failed to negotiate a right hand curve in the roadway the vehicle exited the roadway and impacted head on into a tree,” explained Trooper Clifford Greenfield.

“When I came on scene I saw one patient in the roadway, two patients in the roadway and two additional milling around,” said Chief John Dice with Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Dept.

21-year old Luke White, a front seat passenger, and the driver were trapped and had to be extricated.

White died from his injuries, three others were taken to local hospitals for various injuries

Authorities said skid marks could be seen on the road and some alcohol was found in the car.

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Chief Dice said they know the passengers who are all from Saltsburg.

“One of our firefighters is just a few years older and he was helping with the extracation it’s a difficult situation when there’s people you know,” Dice said.

Chief Dice is hoping this accident sends a message to young people that alcohol and speed don’t mix.

“I would love for them to see what we see so that they slow down and maybe do a little less partying it would be a blessing for all of us,” he said.

State police say two of the less seriously injured passengers got out of the vehicle and ran away but they were apprehended later. They are waiting for toxicology results before deciding whether to charge the driver with homicide while DUI in Indiana County.

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