RPT-Two children dead after car crashes into Minnesota pond

Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:09am EST

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Nov 22 (Reuters) - Two children died and three others remained in critical condition on Friday after the car they were riding in slid into a near-freezing pond in suburban Minneapolis, a family attorney said.

Alarious Coleman-Guerrido, 7, and Zenavia Rennie, 5, died on Thursday after their family's vehicle veered off a rain-slicked highway ramp and plunged into the pond in St. Louis Park, said Minneapolis attorney Rick Petry, who was representing the family.

Three other young passengers, ages 1, 5 and 6, were in critical condition on Friday at area hospitals, Petry said.

The children's mother and stepmother, 23-year-old Marion Guerrido of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was driving the car and escaped uninjured, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Guerrido was taking the children to drop them off at her mother's house before heading to work when the crash happened an hour before sunrise, Petry said. Her husband was also on his way to work at the time.

"They are just like the typical American family," the attorney said. "They were starting their day."

The children were unresponsive after being pulled from the 1998 Pontiac Grand Am, which slid 40 feet (12 meters) down an embankment into a retention pond, said Jamie Zwilling, spokesman for St. Louis Park, a suburb west of Minneapolis.

They were rescued half an hour after the car went into the water, which was nine feet (2.7 meters) deep where the car sank, police said.

Witnesses said they heard Guerrido calling for help and saw her standing knee deep in the water. Initial attempts to rescue the children were unsuccessful, Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske said.

Police were investigating what caused the car to go off the ramp, which does not have guardrails, and whether the children were in seat belts or car seats, Roeske said.

The three other children were identified as one-year-old Aliyana Rennie, Zarihana Rennie, 6, and Amani Coleman-Guerrido, 5, all of Brooklyn Center, according to the state patrol website. (Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bernadette Baum)

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