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Two killed in fiery Southeast crash

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Two teenagers were killed when a car in which they were riding struck a telephone pole, splitting the vehicle in half and igniting it in flames in front of the United Medical Center in Southeast, police say.

A car involved in the crash sits mangled on the side of the road. (Photo: K. Simms/ABC7)

The crash occurred at 4:15 a.m. Friday in the 1300 block of Southern Avenue.

Fire officials say the vehicle, a 2004 Mercedes-Benz, was speeding before it crashed into a utility pole, trapping the victims inside. The teens, both female, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Sixteen-year-old Tiasiah Branham was killed along with a 17-year-old girl.

"It already hit me, I already know she ain't coming back, aint' nothing I can do to bring her back. I'm gonna miss her man,” said Tyevell Branham, Tiasiah’s brother.

The crash knocked out power to the area.

"I heard the boom and I came out, ran - by the time I got to the corner, right that's when it ignited,” said Anthony Lewis, who lives nearby.

Neighbors say this stretch of Southern Avenue is frequently used for car racing, but it's unclear if that was the cause of this crash. Southern Avenue was closed in both directions in the area while authorities investigated.

"Just preliminarily looking at the amount of damage it takes to knock down a telephone poll, speed was definitely a factor,” said Assistant Chief Lamar Greene of the D.C. police.

A coroner, D.C. Fire & EMS and Pepco crews were also on the scene.

Tiasiah Branham’s grandmother and father, as well as many other family and friends seemed dazed.

"She was a good student, summer job, went to summer school,” said her father Michael Branham. He said his daughter loved to box.

"I've been ringing her phone but she just doesn't answer reality is about to set in that she's gone. Unbelievable but she' gone," said her grandmother Carrie Coleman.

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