Three 21-year-old men killed in Sarasota crash

Photo courtesy Sarasota Police Department.

SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) — Sarasota police say three young men were killed in a single-vehicle crash early Monday morning. A fourth person in the car, the only survivor of the crash, turned 21 on Monday.

Officers say it’s one of the worst crashes they’ve ever seen. Police say the vehicle split in half when it struck the tree. “The scene was very chaotic,” Sarasota police spokeswoman Genevieve Judge said.

Police say the crash happened around 3 a.m. on University Parkway near Desoto Road. A 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis slammed into a the tree. The driver of the car, 21-year-old Wesley McCurley, of Sarasota, died in the crash. The other two passengers, both 21, were also killed. They have been identified as Michael Duffy, of Sarasota, and Dane Custer, of Bradenton.

The fourth victim, Thomas Bentley, of Sarasota, is at Sarasota Memorial Hospital with injuries but is expected to survive.

The men were celebrating Bentley’s birthday. Ethan Weaver had been invited.

“It’s super, super weird,” Weaver said. He worked at the Guitar Center with Custer and Bentley. The gravity of the situation is just settling in, Weaver said.

“It’s really weird knowing that Dane is no longer with us anymore. It’s really weird. It’s really strange. It just feels like there’s a big hole in the middle of Guitar Center,” he said. “He really was a very, very friendly guy. Super easy to talk to, I always talk to him. Just very personable … I don’t think it really hit me yet.”

The pair often talked and joked, even parking right next to each other at work. “It’s gonna be really really weird not seeing Dane here, and not getting that big hug,” Weaver said.

A statement was posted to Bentley’s Facebook. It says, in part, (Dane, Wesley and Michael) should be remembered as the good people that they were. Great musicians, great people and amazing friends. I’m so thankful to be here today, but they’ll never be forgotten.”

The cause of the crash is unknown however, police say speed is believed to be a factor. It’s unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs were involved. Judge said the story should serve as a reminder to other drivers about speeding.

“If you’re driving, whether it be in the middle of the day, middle of the night, keep an eye on your speed because unfortunately in a situation like this it can have a horrible outcome,” she said.

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