PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Three children were killed and three adults, including their mother, injured on Friday when a carjacked SUV swerved out of control in Philadelphia, striking a sidewalk church fundraiser, police said.
The crash occurred at about 11:15 a.m. after two men used a gun to force a 45-year-old woman driving a white SUV into the back seat and made off with the car, Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark told a news conference.
The suspects were driving at high speed when a tire apparently blew out, causing the car to careen into the family members selling fruit on the sidewalk to raise money for their church, police said.
The mother was critically injured and transported to a local hospital, and all of her three children - ages 7, 10 and 15 - were killed in the crash, Clark said.
An elderly friend of the family also was struck, though she was listed in stable condition on Friday.
The carjacking victim was transported to a local hospital and was in critical but stable condition.
Earlier in the day, police said that five people had been injured in the crash.
“We now have three children who are gone, and their mother is fighting for her life,” Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison told a news conference.
“This is a tragedy for our city,” he said.
The two suspects fled on foot, Clark said. Police were offering a $60,000 reward for information in the case.
Aerial news footage of the scene showed police huddling around the sidewalk fruit stand near a roadway intersection, with what appeared to be tire marks carved through a grassy area nearby.
The investigation was continuing, police said.
Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Bill Trott and Sandra Maler