The fatal crash occurred Monday shortly before 3 p.m. in Wilton Manors, a city just north of Fort Lauderdale in South Florida.
According to a preliminary investigation, a man driving a 2009 Honda Accord failed to allow a bus in front of him to merge back into a lane. The driver passed the bus, almost hitting the front driver’s side, and then veered right off the road and onto the sidewalk, striking multiple children, according to authorities.
The driver then sped up and fled the area, the sheriff’s office said.
Two children, Andrea Fleming, 6, and Kylie Jones, 5, were pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff’s office said. Four children were hospitalized: Draya Fleming, 9; Johnathan Carter, 10; Laziyah Stokes, 9; and Audre Fleming, 2.
Stephen Gollan, battalion chief at Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, said at a news conference Monday that some of the injuries were critical. He called the crash a “horrific event.”
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Wilton Manors Police officers and Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded to the scene. Gollan said there were people providing aid at the scene before emergency crews arrived.
Sheriff’s office spokesperson Miranda Grossman told reporters the vehicle struck the children in a residential area and she urged homeowners to look at their doorbell cameras for any clues about the suspect and vehicle.
“At this point detectives are still investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident and are looking for any information,” she said. “This is still all part of the investigation, figuring out the suspect’s car, going through video, going through evidence, talking to witnesses,” she added.
Aerial footage from CNN affiliate WPLG showed the incident occurred on a four-lane road with a separated bike lane to the right. The scene appeared to be outside an apartment building and near a 40 mph speed limit sign, video from the ground showed.
The video also shows a pedestrian crossing within the area marked off by police tape.
Of all states, Florida has the second-highest pedestrian fatality rate in the country, behind New Mexico, according to 2019 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.