2 Omahans die after car hits tree near Hummel Park

A 21-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman died early Sunday after their car struck a tree near Hummel Park.

The woman, Rylee Thornton of Omaha, who was in the rear seat, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, Ellijah Griffin of Omaha, was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition and later died.

A second passenger, Deyonna Griffin, 20, of Omaha, who was in the front seat, suffered a head injury. She was taken to the medical center and was listed in serious condition Sunday. She was expected to survive her injuries, police said.

Investigators determined that Ellijah Griffin was driving a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant north on John J. Pershing Drive about 1:30 a.m. when the vehicle went out of control just south of Oakridge Road. The Mitsubishi left the roadway, went down an embankment and hit a tree.

It was the second crash that killed two people in the Omaha area since Friday afternoon, when two Waste Management workers were killed in a garbage truck-dump truck crash in Elkhorn.

The Sunday deaths bring the state’s traffic fatalities so far this year to 166, according to the State Department of Transportation. That’s fewer than in the past five years. But September was a bad month for crashes, with 28 deaths, more than 20 percent higher than the average of the previous five years.

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