File photo of a Maine State Police cruiser Credit: Caitlin Rogers / BDN

Maine State police are reporting that four students are dead after a car carrying Maine Maritime Academy students veered off the road shortly after 2 a.m. and into a tree Saturday.

Joshua Goncalves-Radding of North Babylon, New York, was traveling south on Route 166 when his 2013 Range Rover left the road, struck a tree and burst into flames, according to police spokesperson Shannon Moss. 

Four of his passengers died, including Brian Kenealy, 20, of York, Chase Fossett, 21, of Gardiner, Luke Simpson, 22, of Rockport, Massachusetts and Riley Ignacio-Cameron, 20, of Aquinnah, Massachusetts, she said in a press release.

Three people were taken to local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries, including the driver, Noelle Tavares, 20,  of North Falmouth, Massachusetts and Dominick Gecoya, 20, of Middleton, Massachusetts, police said.

In a press release, academy President Jerry S. Paul said the school community was “heartbroken” to learn of the accident.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to all students and their families at this time. Our priority now is to support our campus community and have made counseling available,” Paul said. “As the President of Maine Maritime, and also as a father, I ask for your respect and privacy for all of our students.”

Route 166 was closed for more than eight hours as troopers investigated the wreck, but has since reopened. 

The crash occurred just after 2 a.m. on Route 166 in Castine. The car was traveling south when it left the roadway and hit a tree before “erupting into flames,” according to a press statement from police spokesperson Shannon Moss.

“Our community is grieving for these young lives and for their families. While we have lost beloved members of our student body, tonight there are four families who have lost their children. I ask for continued respect and privacy of our Maine Maritime family. We will of course continue to work with the authorities in the coming days and continue to offer counseling support to our students, faculty and staff,” Maine Maritime Academy President Jerry S. Paul said in a press release.

Police say the bodies of the victims were taken to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner for identification.

Route 166 was closed for more than eight hours as troopers investigated the wreck, but has since reopened.