2 Wisc. 10-year-old boys killed in accident after father stopped traffic and ran away

A traffic stop in Wisconsin led to a high-speed police chase Wednesday that resulted in the tragic deaths of two 10-year-old male passengers.

Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy Detective Patrick Esser called the incident a “heartbreaking situation.” A press conference shared on the department's Facebook page Thursday.

A car driven by a 25-year-old man was pulled over by authorities Wednesday night, according to Esser. After trying to flee the spot, the car overturned and overturned, killing two of the six passengers.

Esser identified the passengers as two 10-year-old boys. They were traveling with a 14-year-old and a 6-year-old girl in the backseat of the car, who were both taken to a nearby children's hospital.

The names of the dead and the other passengers have not been released by police. As of Thursday, both the driver and the 29-year-old woman sitting in the front passenger seat were in stable condition at a nearby hospital, Esser said.

Officials did not confirm the relationship between the passengers during the press conference, but several outlets included NBC News The driver is reported to be the father of two 10-year-old boys. PEOPLE has reached out to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department for comment.

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In his press conference, Esser described what led up to the crash.

“One of our deputies was out on the interstate, observed a vehicle, developed probable cause to stop the vehicle, and ultimately attempted to stop the vehicle,” Esser told reporters. “The vehicle initially stopped and before the deputy could make contact, the driver fled the scene at a high rate of speed, causing the deputy and another deputy to pursue.”

Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson shared at the same press conference that “probable cause” for the vehicle stop was determined based on speeding and the absence of license plates.

As it fled the scene, Esser said, “the suspect vehicle crashed completely on its own, resulting in the overturning of the vehicle and the death of the two juvenile occupants of the vehicle.”

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“It was a terrible traffic accident,” Severson said of the incident. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the children lost. This is an incredibly difficult event to learn about.

“Looking at this incident from a policy and a practical standpoint, we have to make sure we've done our job as best we can,” he added. “We don't appear to have any evidence to believe that laws were violated on behalf of the sheriff's deputies involved — or policies. It appears that they did their job properly.

Severson said the “potential” charges the driver could face include more than a dozen offenses including “causing death” and “causing great bodily harm,” “reckless driving” and “fleeing and eluding.”

He also noted that the driver had an “outstanding warrant for possession of a firearm,” so “bail jumping” was another potential offense.

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