Family members identify 13-year-old killed in Hartford crash - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Family members identify 13-year-old killed in Hartford crash

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Jamaire Smith was killed in a stolen car crash Wednesday night in Hartford. (WFSB photo) Jamaire Smith was killed in a stolen car crash Wednesday night in Hartford. (WFSB photo)

Family members have identified the 13-year-old driver, who died in a crash in Hartford. 

Jamaire Smith died late Wednesday night on Windsor Street when the Subaru he was driving slammed into a utility pole and caught fire.

His 15-year-old passenger, Jaden Cooper, suffered minor burns and had to be transported to the Bridgeport Burn Unit.

"He's asking about his friend that passed not too long ago but he's staying strong as much as possible," Jaden's older sister Payton Cooper said.  

Police said the two vehicles were stolen from the Carriage Crossing condominium complex in Middletown. Jaden Cooper and Smith were in a 2006 Subaru 

"These are the inherent dangers that come with that type of behavior and it's a sad situation for the family," said Deputy Chief Brian Foley, Hartford police.

The search continued on Friday for at least one more suspect connected to two vehicle thefts. Investigators said they're trying to piece together the events that led up to the crash in Hartford.

Smith attended eighth grade at Milner School. Pedro Zayas from Hartford Public Schools said they were "very saddened about his death" and will provide support at the school for staff, students and his family.

Jaden Cooper goes to a high school in Plainville. He gets bused out from Hartford. 

Payton Cooper said her brother who is going into his freshman year of high school and will soon have a third surgery at the Bridgeport Burn Unit.

"Minor mistake that you wish you never did that could cause you your life in a split second," Payton Cooper said.

Both teens were good friends and played basketball at the YMCA on Albany Avenue. 

"Both of them are good ball players and good kids," Carl Hardrick, who knew both Smith and Jaden Cooper, said. "But, like anything else everyone makes mistakes. And now this is a mistake people made that choice, and bad decision." 

Hardrick said he hopes other kids learn from their mistakes.

"It's really hard. They are handling it emotional inside," Hardrick said. "They trying to figure out because they know they aren't going to see this kid again, he is so young."

A vigil will be held Saturday night at the crash scene on Windsor Drive in Hartford. 

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