3 victims ID'd in crash near Franklin Mills Mall

Pictured: Tony Christensen and Lucrecia Santamaria

January 5, 2012 8:10:18 PM PST
Action News has learned the names the three people killed in a crash near the Franklin Mills Mall.

The driver was 20-year-old Anthony Christensen of Bensalem. The passengers were 15-year-old Lucrecia Santamaria and 17-year-old Christopher Alcalde.

The crash happened around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of Franklin Mills Circle.

Christensen and Alcalde were ejected from the 1995 Grand Am.

Santamaria was found belted in the passenger seat and had to be cut from the wreckage.

All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends and relatives gathered outside a Bensalem apartment this afternoon remember the victims.

"[Lucrecia] was nice. She was just very sweet. She made everybody laugh," friend Savannah Acevedo said.

Friends say 20-year-old Christensen had just left work and picked up Santamaria from her job at the Franklin Mills Mall.

"[Lucrecia] was nice. She was just very sweet. She made everybody laugh," friend Savannah Acevedo said.

Anthony's father Bruce told Action News of the last conversation he had with his son.

"I drive him to work most of the time, but I didn't feel like doing anything yesterday so I told him to take the car and relax. I wish I would've taken him," Anthony's father Bruce Christensen said.

Investigators believe speed was a factor and the driver likely lost control in the parking lot.

Three wheels were torn off the vehicle and the battery was thrown from the engine compartment.

Nicole Thomas had passed the car just minutes before it slammed into a grass and concrete island, flipping over. She described what she saw by saying, "Flying, like he must have been, from my own perspective, maybe [going] about 75 miles per hour flying by me."

Police say they are reviewing surveillance footage, and also say they only found one set of tracks leading up to the accident site, indicating only one vehicle was involved. Police do not believe it was some sort of race that led to the death of three young people.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told Action News, "Our accident investigation district officers will go through the vehicle as well as the possessions of the bodies to determine if there were any drugs or alcohol or both involved."

Christensen's father says his son had his license for only a few months.

He'd recently graduated from Lincoln Tech and the car was a Christmas gift from his family.

His father says Anthony was an affectionate, fun-loving young man.

"How many 20-year-olds do you know give their father a kiss on the cheek when he leaves and comes home? Not many," Bruce Christensen said.

Lucrecia Santamaria was good friends with Anthony Christensen's sister Martina.

"She was really nice; she was always energetic. She was always funny. She cheered me up," Martina Christensen said.

Santamaria was a freshman at Bensalem High School.

The school district was stunned by news of her death and says it will provide grief counselors in the coming days.