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Driver dies after vehicle slams into tree in violent crash in Milwaukee: ‘Didn’t know cars could look like that’

MILWAUKEE -- A violent crash on Milwaukee's south side early Thursday morning, July 12 left one person dead, and prompted neighbors to call for changes to the intersection.

It happened near Whitnall and Howard, where debris was strewn on Thursday.

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

"Like an explosion. Like back-to-back explosions," said Josh Laquee, neighbor.

According to police, the driver of a four-door vehicle lost control and collided with a tree around 1:30 a.m. There were no other vehicles involved, and the driver was the only occupant of the vehicle.

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

Josh Laquee

"It was split wide open. You hear about cars wrapping around a tree. That must have been what happened, but it hit it, wrapped around it, hit so hard it spun out again," said Mark Manthey, neighbor.

Police said speed may have contributed to the crash. The driver suffered severe injuries and died at the scene.

Neighbors who were there during the aftermath told FOX6 News they couldn't believe what they saw.

"I didn't know cars could look like that," said Laquee.

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

"It was a mangled mess. I've never in my life seen anything like it. It was incredible," said Manthey.

A parked car was damaged from the flying parts, while debris was littered across Manthey's lawn. Broken glass even ended up on his front porch.

"We don't let our kids play in the front yard at all. We don't even risk it. They play in the backyard," said Manthey.

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

Despite school speed limit signs posted nearby, Manthey said speeding is a problem on Whitnall Avenue.

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

"Not to this degree of course, but people speed through this street all the time," said Manthey.

"I'd kind of like to see that changed -- it's been an issue," said Laquee.

"Slow down! Now especially for us, it's more personal for us now because our oldest is four. He's going to be starting at the school on the corner," said Manthey.

Fatal crash near Whitnall and Howard

Police have not released the name of the driver who was killed -- and are still investigating this crash.