The car that hit and killed two teenagers and critically injured a third in New Jersey Saturday night was traveling 74 mph when it jumped a curb and slammed into the teens, police said.
The driver of the vehicle, 23-year-old Eric Patterson, faces two counts of death by auto and one count of assault by auto in the wreck on John F. Kennedy Boulevard on Union City that left 17-year-old Noel Herrera and 16-year-old Brian Rodriguez both dead and a third teen, 17, critically injured.
Patterson pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held on $1 million bail. Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available.
Patterson was additionally charged with aggravated manslaughter on March 10 after investigators say he tested positive for PCP shortly after the crash.
Authorities said that Patterson was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. Law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York earlier in March that toxicology tests were being performed because investigators had heard that Patterson had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend and may have taken drugs before getting behind the wheel.
Victor Sanchez, one of the bystanders who raced over to try to save the boys, told NBC 4 New York he pulled Patterson from his car after the crash.
"I smacked him across the head and tried to wake him, and dragged him out of the car. He was knocked out and didn't say one word to me at all," said Sanchez.
The teens were walking home at about 9:15 p.m. Saturday when Patterson's car crossed over two lanes in a 25 mph zone, hit a curb and struck them on the sidewalk, surveillance video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows.
Herrera and Rodriguez were both pronounced dead at the scene. The third teen was taken to the hospital with multiple leg fractures and other injuries. He remained hospitalized and in stable condition Monday.
Evelyn Rogers heard the sound of the crash from indoors.
"There was a bang, like something hit," she said
When she came outside, she saw the boys on the ground, she said.
Sanchez said, "I'm traumatized. When I close my eyes, I could see these two kids dead on the ground."
"He should be locked up. I'm sorry. A person who has a suspended license should not be on the road," he said of Patterson.
At a vigil for Herrera and Rodriguez at the crash site Monday evening, family and friends released balloons into the sky and cried. One of the boys' mothers fainted and was taken to a hospital.
Students said the school wasn't the same Monday.
"Today at school, it's been really depressing," said Ismael Machado. "Everybody was sad, all our classes, it's been quiet."
Authorities said they set up speeding checkpoints on the roadway Sunday and Monday, ticketing 38 drivers for going to fast. One motorist was traveling at 54 mph.