As they drew near, she saw what was left of a crushed Chevrolet Tahoe that had slammed into a telephone pole late Thursday and debris spread across the pavement.
“We saw shoes. We saw hats. We saw socks,” Harris said through sobs in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. “We saw our loved ones’ items on the ground.” The dead included the father of her aunt’s 1-year-old son and another man.
“We’re trying to take it in,” Harris said. “It’s hard. We didn’t just lose one person. Not two. We lost three people.”
Police in Prince George’s identified those killed as Samuel Moss, 35; Shyra Harris, 24, Antonio Price, 27; and Jasmine Davis, 21. Moss is from Capitol Heights. Harris, Price and Davis are from District Heights.
Ikia Harris said the group had been to a club to celebrate Davis’s 21st birthday, which was April 15. She described the outing as a buildup to Saturday, when Shyra Harris and Price’s son turns 2. They had planned a kids party and then an outing for the adults.
Ikia Harris, 29, said her aunt — Shyra — and Price were ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. She said her cousin, Davis, was trapped in the wreckage for two hours before firefighters could free her body. Moss died at a hospital.
The crash occurred about 10:30 p.m. on Sheriff Road between Cedar Heights Drive and Cypresstree Drive. Police said the SUV was traveling west when it crossed the centerline and hit the pole.
County police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said the driver of the Tahoe was trying to get around a car trying to make a left turn. The Tahoe flipped several times before slamming into the pole, Donelan said.
“We’re looking at speed as a major contributing factor,” Donelan said Friday. The posted speed limit in the area is 40 mph. Police said that other possible factors are being investigated and that it could take weeks before toxicology tests on the victims and a thorough review from the scene — including vehicle speed — are completed.
Donelan said those ejected from the vehicle had been sitting in the back seats and were probably not wearing seat belts. Police are trying to find the driver who was making the left turn or anyone who witnessed the crash.
The fatal incident comes as Prince George’s officials push safe-driving campaigns in the aftermath of several recent deadly crashes.
In December, three children were killed when, according to police, a man rear-ended their vehicle on Indian Head Highway as the family headed home from church. The man has been charged with driving under the influence.
“I hope that another accident with another four people who’ve lost their lives wakes people up,” Donelan said. “We don’t want to see another family grieve anymore.”
Relatives of Price and Moss could not be reached on Friday. Ikia Harris said that she did not know Moss but that he was acquainted with one of the SUV’s occupants.
The tragedy has deeply affected a close-knit family that grew up in Prince George’s.
Harris, her cousin and her aunt all were around the same age and stayed in touch daily in a chat group.
The matriarch of the family, in her 70s, lost a daughter in Shyra Harris, who worked at a food stand at Nationals Park, and a granddaughter in Davis.
Shyra Harris also had an 8-year-old son from a previous relationship. Davis had a 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old twin boys.
“We had just been planning two birthday parties — we were all on the phone together — and now instead we’re planning three funerals,” Harris said. “We’re all still young. We grew up together. We partied together. We had a whole weekend set up, first the kids, then us.”
She added, “We are a strong family, and we will get through this. We love each other.”
Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report