The scene after a horror crash that claimed the lives of five people, including three children, was “complete carnage” with bodies laid in the road and a car reduced to a crumpled mess of metal, according to neighbours and police.
A 12-year-old, two 15-year-olds, a 24-year-old and a 28-year-old died after a stolen Renault Clio hit a tree on Stonegate Road, in the Meanwood area of Leeds, on Saturday night, West Yorkshire Police said.
Two of the deceased were pronounced dead at the scene and three died a short time later at hospital.
Three of the victims have been named locally as brothers Ellis and Elliott Thornton, aged 12 and 15, and Darnell Harte who is thought to be 15.
One man who lives close to the crash site said: “It was unbelievable. You couldn’t even recognise it as a car. It was just a crumpled mess.”
His wife said: “There were bodies laid about, it was awful. It was as bad as that.”
She said: “We were just sat here and we just heard an almighty crash
“We sat here and thought ‘what the heck was that?’.”
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said it was not possible to tell whether the dead and injured had been in the car or walking along the street at the time.
Another woman said her husband ran up the road and could not believe what was left of the car.
She said: “It was just a lump of metal that was not recognisable as a car.”
All those who died were male, said officers, who confirmed two more 15-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remain in custody.
On Sunday, floral tributes to those who died began to accumulate opposite the tree.
One tribute pinned to the flowers read: “Darnell (gone too soon). It just doesn’t make sense.
“Hope now you’re at some peace. Will remember you for your cheekiness.”
One of the mothers of the deceased visited the scene of the crash on Sunday afternoon, clearly distressed and did not talk to waiting media.
And a number of teenagers arrived at the police cordon during the day, many in tears.
The crash happened at 9.54pm.
The vehicle was removed from the suburban road by mid-morning on Sunday but a large gash could still be seen on the tree.
Police cordoned off a quarter-mile section of the tree-lined street, which is about three miles north of the city centre and lined by semi-detached houses and grass verges.
The road was re-opened at about 6pm on Sunday.
A police spokesman said officers were confronted by a scene of “complete carnage” when they arrived at the crash site.
He said that just one vehicle had been involved but it was not yet clear whether the five victims and two suspects had all been in the car.