GLEN RIDGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A fatal single-car crash that claimed the lives of two young men in New Jersey earlier this week began as a police pursuit, authorities announced Friday.
Essex County prosecutors say Montclair police officers tried to stop 25-year-old Galo Flores on Monday night, but Flores sped away. Authorities did not indicate why police attempted a vehicle stop.
The officers followed him with their lights on, before Flores slammed into a light pole and tree on Bloomfield Avenue in Glen Ridge.
The car then burst into flames.
Flores and his passenger, 20-year-old Carlos Nieves, were killed.
The destruction was so great authorities initially believed more than one vehicle was involved.
"It's a shock," Flores brother, Angel, said. "I don't know what to feel. You know, I don't...my mom is devastated. Heartbroken. But now I got to, you know, live. Without him. Every time I was in problems, he'll come. He'll come and always, you know, protect me. If I was in trouble, he'll come, help me, no matter what the problem was."
Nieves lived with his mom in Newark, where his building superintendent says Nieves was a kind person who would have turned 21 Friday.
After learning the news of the police chase, Flores' family said they were devastated by his loss and outraged at the circumstances.
"Why did it take three days?" one relative asked. "You guys brought pain to our family."
It may never be known why Flores fled from police, a fact of the case his family finds hard to believe.
"He was just a person who gets up in the morning and goes to work," another relative said.
The investigation is ongoing.