5 teens injured, 3 critically, when SUV slams into tree, police say

Investigators are trying to determine if speed was a factor in the crash.

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Five teenagers under the age of 17 were injured when the driver of an SUV lost control and crashed into a tree Sunday night, police say. Three of them are now in critical condition.

According to police, a 16-year-old girl crashed a Ford Expedition off Johnson Ferry Road around 10 p.m. Investigators said the driver was on an instructional permit.

Channel 2's Tom Regan was in Sandy Springs, where investigators are trying to determine if speed was a factor in the crash.

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Photos police gave to Regan show the Ford Expedition crushed and parts of the SUV scattered across the ground.


Police said the teenagers ranged in age from 15 to 17 years old and several sustained serious injuries in the crash.

"Head injury, one has a couple of broken bones and some cuts and bruises," Sgt. Sam Worsham said.

Police say the 16-year-old behind the wheel should not have been driving with her friends.

"If you have a learner's permit, you have to have a licensed driver age 21 or over, in the front seat with you," Worsham said. "With a learner's permit, that was a violation of the law."

Police said they will examine the wrecked SUV and diagnose its electronics to try to figure out if it was speeding before the crash. The speed limit on Johnson's Ferry Road is 35 mph.

"What we are looking at, if the driver was distracted, and possibly for some reason lost control of the car and overcorrected," Worsham said. "The vehicle went out of control and left the roadway."

Police say they don't think drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash. They say no one in the SUV was wearing a seat belt.

Authorities said charges are pending against the driver. The investigation is ongoing.

Police have not released the names of the teens or what school they attended.