3 killed in Richmond Co. crash were 80+ years old

3 killed in Richmond Co. crash were 80+ years old
Three people killed when their car struck a tree in Richmond County were all at least 80 years old, according to Virginia State Police. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND CO., VA (WWBT) - Three elderly people are being mourned after their car ran off the road, crashed and caught fire.

Lewis R. Ashton, 80, was driving west on Route 360 near Route 607 around 8:14 a.m. when the car ran off the road, hit a tree and caught fire. Troopers and Deputies pulled Ashton out of the burning vehicle, along with his two passengers, Garnett W. Wilson, 83, and his 80-year-old wife, Mabel. Crews administered CPR, but all died at the scene.

Ashton and Garnett Wilson were wearing a seat belt. Mabel was not, according to investigators.

Speed and alcohol are not considered factors in the crash which remains under investigation, according to police.

All that's left of the morning crash is a shattered front fender, broken glass and a torn up tree. One witness said she turned her back just for a second, and in a blink of an eye, the car had run off the road.

"It must have started here because my mailbox was busted and down," says Debbie Mulvena motioning to the point of impact. She is still in shock after Monday morning's crash. She was inside her home getting ready when she looked out the window and saw her husband. "I see a commotion and he's dragging the first guy out of the vehicle."

Police say Ashton's car traveled more than 550 feet before crashing into an evergreen.

"The front end of the car was on fire and they were trying to put the fire out," she said. "It took them a while to bust out the windows to get them out. It was jammed."

She says emergency responders were there before she knew it. And, even though she's not professionally trained, she says she was able to offer one of the victims a little comfort before he passed:

"I had peace over me and I was able to sit down and pray with the little guy because his eyes -- you could tell he really didn't know what was going on," says Mulvena.

Police continue to investigate the crash.

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