PALMETTO, Fla. (AP) — As authorities on Florida's Gulf coast investigate the horrific fatal crash of careening SUV into a shed where two people were sleeping, they have yet to say what caused the driver to veer off the road.
Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler said the driver in Wednesday's early morning crash is cooperating with investigators.
Ivan Carlos, 21, and his girlfriend, Brenda Avilez, 18, were killed. Avilez was nine months pregnant. Her unborn baby also died.
A relative said the couple had been using the shed as a makeshift bedroom, sleeping inside on a mattress and hoping to save money.
The SUV driver, 35-year-old Christian Crawford of Bradenton, was taken to a local hospital with injuries that weren't considered life-threatening.
Officials said he consented to drug and alcohol tests.
The crash reverberated through the small, nearby trailer of Ivan Carlos' brother Christian, waking the people inside.
"It was like a big explosion," said Cristian Carlos. "It moved the whole trailer."
He ran outside, screaming.
"I was calling for him," Carlos said Wednesday as he paused from clearing wreck debris out of the driveway. "I tried to bring him back to life."
Christian Carlos said his brother Ivan was a barber and construction worker who grew up in Manatee County, a suburban area between Tampa and Sarasota.
Ivan Carlos and his girlfriend had just come to stay at the Lone Oak Mobile Home Park about three weeks ago, Carlos said, and had planned to move out soon.
Carlos' entire family — about eight people — owns the small, lime-green mobile home. The park has about 134 trailer homes packed on the property, mostly working-class families and a handful of retirees.
The Carlos family home is in a row of trailers closest to a busy road. Park owner Chrissy Jackson said she's owned the property since 2010 and that Wednesday's crash was a first — no one had ever hit a building or even the park's fence before.
"It's just horrible," Jackson said.
Palmetto police Chief Scott Tyler grimaced Wednesday as he looked at the twisted metal of what was once the shed.
"I've worked at the Palmetto Police Department for 20 years, and we've never had a crash like this," he said.
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