Drugs and excessive speed may be to blame for a double fatal accident in Cass County.
Around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department says a red Saab convertible crashed into a row of trees alongside a rural stretch of Chapel Hill St., just east of Baldwin Prairie Rd., in Porter Township.
The driver, Gabriel Spencer-Forsyth, 19, of Antioch Tenn. and his front seat passenger, Kevin Shupert, 20, of Elkhart died instantly. However, the back seat passenger, Ross Gambill, 19, of Osceola survived and was transported to Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
According to police, Gambill told a 19-year-old Good Samaritan, he and his friends had been smoking marijuana while "joy-riding." Although he didn't know how the Indiana trio ended-up in eastern Cass County, he said their bright red convertible was traveling nearly 120 mph down the gravel road, when Spencer-Forsyth lost control and crashed.
"It was hard on us and we felt bad for their families. I hope their parents are doing well; we’ve been praying for them,” Chapel Hill St. resident Jody Komins said after seeing the carnage firsthand.
Komins and her neighbors say the Saab had buzzed up and down the roadway a few times before the wreck occurred. It's their belief, the teens were using the hilly terrain to get the vehicle airborne, all in the dark of night.
"When you come down the hill here, at that kind of speed, there is no way you're going to make it to the bottom of the hill, no way. I've seen people come down at 25 mph and they’ve totaled their cars at the bottom of this hill,” Ryan Wolf remarked.
Wolf said if there's any silver-lining, it's that no car was traveling in the opposite direction. After all, the roadway is so narrow, a head-on collision would have been physically unavoidable.
"If you have two cars that are going 25 mph, they've got to slow down in order to pass each other. You can't otherwise, I mean there's no room to pass on this road,” Wolf added.
Investigators are now awaiting toxicology results to confirm or negate drug use. They say that evidence will be a major factor in determining whether Gambill will face criminal charges in the crash.
"When I was a kid, I did stupid things too. They did a stupid thing and unfortunately it didn't turn out so well for them. Again, at least they didn't take an innocent person's life that had no control over it,” Wolf concluded.
Police say Gambill and Shupert were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, Spencer-Forsyth was not.
The Porter Township and Edwardsburg Fire Departments assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Department in the emergency response.