A family of five tragically died after their SUV crashed into the Tempe Town Lake overnight, according to KTAR. Arizona police officials received a call from a fisherman around 12:15 a.m. on Sunday claiming to have witnessed a vehicle “driving into the north side of the lake, underneath the Scottsdale Road Bridge.” When police arrived at the scene, they discovered the inverted vehicle submerged in the lake with four occupants.
Officers, along with several witnesses, jumped into the murky waters and tried to save the passengers. Two adults, 27-year-old Glenn Edward Baxter and his wife Danica, 25, and their two children – Nazyiah, 2, and one-year-old Zariyah – were unconscious as they were each pulled out of the lake. Sources say that Glenn was located in the driver seat while his wife sat in the passenger seat. Their two children were found in the middle seat of the vehicle.
Tempe’s police spokesperson, Michael Pooley, said that after the family was pulled from the lake, “Our guys did as much CPR as they could” until paramedics arrived at the scene and rushed the family to a local hospital. Not long after their arrival, both parents and their daughter Zariyah died. Nazyiah held on a little longer, which led police officials to believe the child was going to survive, but he died later that night.
It was reported that the Arizona family drowned after their vehicle crashed into the lake, but their bodies will be turned over to Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner for an autopsy and toxicology tests to confirm actual cause of death.
Meanwhile, police officials made a shocking discovery while working to identify the family. Not only did they learn that the adults who pulled from the lake were married, but they had three children. Pooley said “At that point we realized” that there was one child unaccounted for, which was 3-year-old Reighn. “We called the dive team with the worst fear that we had was that little boy was in that vehicle.”
Divers searched diligently for the third child in the submerged vehicle at around 9 p.m. and soon after discovered his body “in the rear third row of the SUV,” strapped to his car seat in which officers described it as a “horrible” scene. According to 12News, he did not survive the horrifying crash.
“This is one of those ones that is extremely difficult,” said Pooley. “It’s one of those things that’s going to stick with us a long time. This is a very horrific thing…It touches all of us.”
“We don’t know exactly what happened. We don’t know what led the driver to do this. You can’t help but feel heartbroken.”
Witnesses who were on the opposite side of the lake said they heard the loud crash as the vehicle hit the dark waters, and they were able to see the SUV’s “headlights on at the embankment.”
Investigators are analyzing the vehicle for mechanical issues and evidence to uncover if the father, who was reportedly driving the vehicle, intentionally drove into the lake or if it was it an accident. Detectives were unable to determine how fast the vehicle was going, but are looking into it.
Relatives of the Baxter family will also be questioned to learn what type of relationship the couple had and to see if the couple could have been involved in a verbal or physical altercation prior to crash.
“There are a lot of things we’ve got to look into,” Pooley said. “What they were doing last night, where they were supposed to be, those types of things and hopefully, we can come up with some answers.”
This is a developing story.
[Image via YouTube screen capture]