Cousin: Victims in fiery crash had just gotten car

By Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — One of three victims who died in a fiery car crash Wednesday on the city's east side had just bought the Mercury Marauder.

"My son just got his car today," said Cynthia Bridges, mother of Ramone Bridges, 26, whose car crashed into a tree on Lakewood at Charlevoix on Wednesday afternoon. "I talked to him earlier. I don't know what happened.

"I'm just overwhelmed," she said.

Family and friends of the victims said in addition to Bridges, his cousin Raheem Akbar, 24, and their friend Sedric Whaley, 24, died in the crash.

According to witnesses, the Marauder lost control about 4 p.m. on Charlevoix, caught fire, hit a tree, spun around and came to a stop near the porch of a vacant home.

The bodies remained in the car when a tow truck removed the vehicle at 8 p.m., four hours after the crash. A blanket draped over the mangled car blew away, exposing the bodies and resulting in wails and cries by onlookers, including family members.

"I saw the charred body of my brother hanging out of the side of the car," said Artissha Graves, Akbar's sister. "I do not like the way the scene was handled. They could have covered the car up."

A cousin of Bridges and Akbar surveyed the wreckage before the car was towed.

"It's sad," said Lakeatha Daily. "They just got (the car) today. This is crazy."

Daily said her cousins, who were like brothers, lived in St. Clair Shores, but grew up near the crash site.

"They were respectful boys," she said.

DeMea Roberson, 43, said she heard a "vroom vroom" and a speeding car shortly before the crash.

"It's just so sad. It's terrible," Roberson said. "This is the Christmas season. My heart is just breaking."

A neighbor who did not give her name said she was coming home from work when she saw the crash scene.

"This is sad," the neighbor said. "Those boys burned."

Staff writer Joel Kurth contributed to this report.