Milwaukee officials ID men killed in crash caused by vehicle street racing
Officials say Jerrold Wellinger and Devante Gaines -- both 22 years old -- were killed after they were struck by a vehicle involved in a street race.
"My brother isn't here anymore, my brother can't smile at me no more, none of that no more," Kassie Gaspardo said. She is Wellinger's sister.
"We're like in denial, you know, he's going to call us, he's going to pick up the phone, that's not him and the next moment we have to come to the reality that he's not coming back," C'Pencer Jeffery said. She is Gaines' cousin.
Milwaukee police say two cars were speed racing down Hampton Avenue. One of those cars slammed into Wellinger's blue car.
"I didn’t want to believe, I just wanted to believe it was someone else, that they had the wrong blue car," Julie Wellinger said. She is Wellinger's mom.
Wellinger's sisters say they are devastated by the ongoing reckless driving in the city.
"The people are getting away with killing people because it was speed racing. No, it's not a thing in Milwaukee, not on 60th and Hampton," Kassie said.
Gaines was the the oldest of his siblings, his cousin says the family feels betrayed.
"I feel like they stole from us, a life that should have never been taken," Jeffery said.
The families say Gaines and Wellinger had big dreams. The two just came home from prison earlier this year looking for a new beginning.
"When he came out of prison, his whole mindset was to take care of his mom and that's all he wanted to do was be successful," Jeffery said.
There's a long and dark road ahead for these grieving families, but there is a light at the end.
"I know the people driving that car is going down for my brother's murder and Vante's murder and I am not going to stop until that happens," Kassie said.
The mayor says money has been set aside to deal with reckless driving. He wants the council to act on it.
The driver of the racing vehicle that hit them, a 37-year-old Milwaukee man, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the crash. He was transported to a local hospital and later arrested.
The other racing vehicle hit a parked car and another vehicle. The driver, a 30-year-old Milwaukee man, was also arrested.
Criminal charges are being referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.
Wellinger's family has created a gofundme to raise money for funeral/memorial costs.