Man, woman killed in drag racing crash after vehicle hits Detroit church

Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-18 22:24:00-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A man and woman, believed to be between the ages of 20 and 30, died late Saturday after the vehicle they were in crashed into the front of a Detroit church. The vehicle then burst into flames.

"What the heck happened here last night,” said church member Bielinda Jackson. "We didn’t think it was this bad last night but now that we see it in the daylight it’s actually bad.”

Jackson and other onlookers stopped by Second Timothy Missionary Baptist Church on Detroit’s East Side looking over the damage, knowing two people just lost their lives on the front steps.
“It's honestly just a tragedy,” Jackson said.

Video of the crash went viral. The car, a Dodge Durango, burst into flames with a man and a woman, estimated to be in their 20s or 30s, still inside.

“Killin each other, and killin themselves," said one onlooker. "Look, prime example right here.”

Detroit Police say the Durango was drag racing, something they deal with on a regular basis.

“Unfortunately too often," said Detroit Police Captain Jevon Johnson. "This is one of the worst case scenarios, which is one of our biggest fears.”

Cpt. Johnson is a leader in the city’s crackdown on drag racing, a growing problem that he says has gotten worse in recent years.

"We have been dealing with it for a while but it has gotten worse over the last several years,” Cpt. Johnson said. “A lot of the vehicles now are twice as powerful as the vehicles were only 5-6 years ago, that probably has something to do with it.”

Just last month Chief James Craig held a press conference, promising undercover officers and helicopters after a weekend where police impounded 20 cars for drag racing. Within 24 hours of this crash, the driver of the other car involved was in custody.

“I can't go into it, it's a fresh investigation however they are being charged,” Cpt. Johnson said.

“If this was a house right here, yeah that would’ve went through that house,” said an onlooker.

With kids playing just down the road, those passing by say it could have been worse. They hope the horrific video spreading on social media serves as a wake up call, leading to safer streets in the city of Detroit.

“If everybody see that whole video right there, the way that ended, I think they’ll slow down, for real.”

The 2 victims have not yet been identified, and charges for the other driver involved haven’t been announced.