NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) – Two people have died following an early morning, single-car crash on Route 146 North near Pound Hill Road.
State Police arrived on the scene just after 2:15 a.m. Tuesday. They said the car lost control, flipped over, struck the center median guardrail, and then landed on its back wheels.
Police said all three occupants were ejected from the vehicle. Two people – now identified as Karissa Harrison, 24, of Johnston and Henry Feliz, 30, of Providence – were pronounced dead at the scene.
A third person in the car – who police had not identified as of Tuesday morning – was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital with injuries police described as serious.
State Police Capt. Matthew Moynihan said it is unclear who was driving the vehicle. He said speed appears to be a factor and none of the occupants was wearing a seatbelt.
“We don’t want to speculate whether seatbelts would have made a difference in this crash or not but studies have found that obviously if you stay within the confines of your vehicle and your vehicle rolls over you have a much greater chance of surviving the crash,” said Moynihan.
Moynihan said troopers from the State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit and the Scituate Barracks are investigating the crash.
Traffic was slow through the area for a few hours. Police cleared the scene just before 5 a.m.
According to the State Police of the 36 fatal accidents in Rhode Island so far this year, at least 12 of them were not wearing seatbelts.
“It is the law,” Moynihan said. “When people are found not to be buckled up they will be cited, they will be issued summons by law enforcement.”
Seatbelt violations are a primary offense in Rhode Island. From Jan. 1 to June 1, State Police have issued 2,848 citations for seatbelt violations.
“We stress over and over again for people to buckle up before they leave the driveway, before they get moving on their travel, it’s very important,” said Moynihan.