Two young girls — 6-year-old cousins who relatives described as “best friends” — were killed in Ohio over the weekend when a 32-year-old man in a stolen police cruiser crashed into the minivan they were in, at a speed approaching 100 mph.
Dayton Police held a press conference Tuesday about Monday’s fatal crash.
Investigators confirmed Penelope Jasko and Eleanor McBride were killed in the crash, moments after Penelope’s mother had picked them up following the first soccer game of their team’s season.
Penelope’s mother, Melissa Jasko, was at the wheel of her minivan, with six of her children and one of her sister’s kids seated behind her.
Police allege as she was pulling away from the curb outside the the library where they’d just dropped off a book, Raymond Walters Jr., in a stolen cop car, ran a red light, colliding with the minivan and another car.
According to Dayton Police, there were a total of 10 injuries from the accident and the two fatalities.
Walters allegedly stabbed his father in a pickup truck before crashing that vehicle, leaving him with severe injuries he survived. Police allege Walters then stole a police cruiser from Riverside.
Police were not in pursuit of the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Speaking to the Dayton Daily News, the girls’ step-grandfather, Ted Blackshear, called them “best friends.”
Blackshear added: “They were born nearly together, they did most everything together, and they left together.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
A GoFundMe campaign established for the girls’ funerals said Penelope and Eleanor “have always been inseparable and are now in the joy of heaven, together as always.”
It adds: “While the family grieves for this loss of life and light, two of their children continue to recover at the hospital. No amount of money can return those sweet girls to life. What is needed most is prayers for the healing of bodies and souls.”
Walters, who has a long criminal history including arrests for aggravated robbery, assault, and menacing, was released from prison earlier this month, police said.
Investigators are discussing possible charges against Walters, including murder. No charges have been filed in the case yet.