WASHINGTON - D.C. police have confirmed that the suspects they’re looking for in connection with a deadly crash involving what family members say was a stolen car in Northeast appear to have been minors.
Earlier on Monday, the victim’s sister told FOX 5 she believed that a young car thief had been behind the wheel during the crash – part of an endemic of vehicle crimes involving young suspects in D.C.
Initially, police had declined to say how old the suspects were, saying FOX 5 would need to submit a Freedom of Information Act request.
"They told me yesterday, this is the beginning of the investigation and, I’m just really concerned about what’s happening with the youth and legal system that you let them out so very quickly. And you’ve taken someone’s father away from them," said Sandra Johnson in a phone interview with FOX 5 D.C. on Monday.
Johnson tells FOX 5, after speaking with detectives, she was told two juveniles and a stolen car are behind the early Sunday morning crash that killed her brother, 30-year-old Brian Johnson.
D.C. Police say the crash happened just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday near C and 14th Sts. Northeast, involving a red Nissan Altima running a red light and striking a silver Toyota Camry. Police also said the two people in the Nissan fled the scene. The two people in the Camry were transported to a local hospital, where Brian Johnson was later pronounced dead.
Will Handsfield, whose home was struck by one of the vehicles, shared on social media: "At 1:30 AM, teens who had stolen grandma’s car ran a red, crashed into another car, and into my house."
The impact was so intense, one vehicle caught fire. One of the photos shared from the early Sunday morning scene showed a red Nissan Altima with flames coming from the engine. This appears to be the suspects’ vehicle.
Sandra Johnson told FOX 5 her brother was trying to turn his life around. She also said he was a father, preparing to have another child.
"I think I’m aware of at least three other incidents in the last seven-to-10 days were people have been killed or injured because they’re letting the juveniles get away with pretty much murder. I mean, they’re not doing anything to them. And their parents also need to be responsible for this," Johnson also said over the phone.
Karen Handsfield, whose home was damaged in the fatal crash, called C St. NE a "speedway" and says their ANC Commissioner has been petitioning for safety changes there.
"We’re devastated to hear that a man involved died. We met his wife on the scene. She was here to retrieve the baby groceries and Easter baskets out of the back seat of the car. So obviously, my heart goes out to her most of all."
Sandra Johnson told FOX 5 that was her brother’s significant other seen on the scene.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help ease the financial burden of his passing.
DC Police are asking anyone with knowledge of this fatal crash to contact their tip line at: (202) 727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.
Crime Solvers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.