3 teens killed, 1 injured in crash near Gwinnett high school

Three teens were killed and another teen was critically injured Friday night in an automobile accident near Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Gwinnett police said.

The accident happened about 10:15 p.m. on Steve Reynolds Boulevard when a Toyota 4Runner with a driver and three passengers apparently swerved to avoid a collision, left the road and went down an embankment, police said.

The car was severely damaged, according to a news release from police spokesman Jacob Albright.

Killed in the accident were the driver, Brandon Martinez, 18, and two passengers, Nelson Umanzor, 18, and Naseer Alwakeel, 16.

The other passenger, Mesiah Allen, 17, was in critical condition at Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville.

The people in the vehicle were students at Meadowcreek, according to Gwinnett school district officials.

The Gwinnett school district issued a statement Saturday about the incident.

“We have been notified that four Meadowcreek High School students were involved in a car accident last night. Tragically, three of the students did not survive and the fourth has been hospitalized,” the statement read.

“The students involved in the accident, three seniors and one junior, have been very involved at the school. We know the loss of three of these young, promising lives will be difficult for students and staff, alike.”

The accident happened shortly after Meadowcreek High School’s football game against Parkview High School.

Speed is being investigated as a contributing factor, Albright said.

The SUV was traveling south in the left lane after leaving the game when it approached a slower vehicle, police said.

“Based on witness accounts and evidence collected on scene, it was determined that Martinez swerved to the right to avoid a collision, and lost control of the vehicle,” Albright said in the release. “The Toyota 4Runner veered to the right and went airborne after striking a guardrail, then colliding with a tree.”

Meadowcreek will have counselors and emergency response teams at school Monday to assist those who need help coping with this loss, according to the Gwinnett statement.

“In the meantime, our prayers are with all of these students' families and the Meadowcreek community as they deal with this loss.”

Know what's really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC's crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.