MUNCIE, Ind. - Delaware County sheriff investigators are trying to determine why an SUV packed with six teenagers left the road and crashed Saturday night.
The white SUV was packed with six high schools students headed southbound on South Burlington Drive, a tricky piece of roadway.
Police say they don't believe alcohol was involved in the crash, but they haven't ruled out speed as a factor. Witnesses say the kids are lucky to be alive.
"They hit the first tree and they took out the pole, and then they hit the second tree," said Heidi Hale, who lives right in front of the accident site.
Hale said she heard the crash and heard kids screaming and crying.
"Oh my gosh, it could have been so much worse. There is no reason why they couldn't all be dead right now," Hale said. "This is an extremely dangerous road. During the day it's extremely dangerous."
Aaren Kelly, 18, a member of Muncie Southside's basketball team, sustained the most serious injury. He was flown by air ambulance to IU Methodist Hospital in critical condition but has since been upgraded to good condition.
Driver DeQuan Blackmon, 18, and all the other passengers were treated and released from IU Ball Memorial Hospital.
"It's amazing that only one of them was seriously injured," Hale said. "I talked to Aaren's girlfriend yesterday, and she says the reason she thinks he was hurt was because he laid across the girls in the back seat. One had stitches, one had a sore back, one had a sore knee. He took the brunt of it and probably saved their lives."
Five of the students attend Muncie Southside High. Counselors were provided to help the kids to deal with the crash, and they'll be available all week.
"A couple of the young ladies did not come to school today," said Principal Rebecca Thompson. "Aaren has a younger brother here, he is a freshman. He was in attendance. I asked (counselors) to be available in case he wanted to talk.
"The driver, DeQuan Blackman, did come to school, but his mother has come to pick him up. He was struggling a little. We're just trying to have a secure place, a safe place and people available for them to talk to."
Students are planning a fundraiser for Kelly's family to help cover some of their expenses while he recovers.
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Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas