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SUV in Ohio crash that killed 6 teens is reported stolen

Scott R. Galvin / AP

Dominique Ellison, left, and Rickie Bowling, of Warren, Ohio, bring stuffed animals Sunday to a memorial in honor of their friends who died in a car crash.

The SUV that sped off a two-lane road in Ohio and flipped into a pond over the weekend, killing six of the eight teenagers crammed inside, has been reported stolen by its owner.

The owner, identified by the Ohio State Patrol as Marquis Stephenson, filed a theft report on the SUV on Monday afternoon. Police said that none of the teens was related to him or had asked to use it. It was not clear how the teens got the vehicle.

The SUV hit a guardrail, came to rest upside-down in swampy water and sank early Sunday with five teens trapped inside. A sixth  was thrown from the SUV and found under it when the vehicle was pulled from the water. Five boys and a young woman, ages 14 to 19, were killed.

Two boys managed to smash a rear window, crawl through, swim away and run a quarter-mile home to call 911, authorities said.

One of them, Brian Henry, 18, told Youngstown TV station WYTV that he tried to get the 19-year-old young woman, who was driving, to slow down.

“The car had jerked out of control,” he said. “I don’t know if she did it on purpose, or how fast she was going.”

The father of one of the dead said the teens were coming home from a sleepover at a friend's house, but the mother of another boy killed said that her son and his best friend had lied about staying over at each other’s homes that evening. She told The Associated Press that she thinks they went to a party.

“If only he had listened,” said Lisa Williamson, mother of 14-year-old Brandon Murray. “I told him, ‘Don’t you go nowhere.’ But they’re kids.”

The crash happened on what locals call Dead Man’s Curve in the small city of Warren, about 60 miles outside Cleveland.

Investigators say speed was a factor but have not specified how fast the SUV was going. The speed limit on the road is 35 mph. Authorities are awaiting drug and alcohol tests on the dead teens, and have said no one was wearing a seat belt.

About 100 people gathered Monday night in Warren to console each other and share memories of the victims, NBC affiliate WKYC in Cleveland reported.

“He was just a 15-year-old man. He was everybody’s baby,” said Charlene Blackwell, whose nephew, Ramone White, was among the dead.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.