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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) – Three people -- including the driver -- were killed Sunday afternoon when their vehicle crashed on an Interstate 55 exit ramp following a police pursuit.

A fourth passenger was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Police say the vehicle fled after the driver was pulled over for a speeding ticket about 12 miles north of Ste. Genevieve. They didn't drive off until the trooper had gotten out of his car and approached the suspect vehicle, a Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The pursuit -- which lasted about 15 minutes -- continued on northbound I-55. When the suspect's vehicle tried to exit on Imperial Main, the driver lost control and ran off the road, ejecting three of the four people inside, a Highway Patrol spokesman confirms.

The three people ejected -- Jeromy Goode, 18, Leon Haywood, 19, and Lavoy Steed, 21 -- were pronounced dead at the scene. Police say none of them were wearing seatbelts. The fourth, Presiada Hayes, was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

Tisha Amer who lives near the scene of the accident heard the crash and says it sounded like a bomb going off.

"To be here right when it happened and to see these firefighters working on these people, it broke my heart," Amer said.

Authorities are still trying to find out why the driver fled.

An investigation into the incident is currently underway.

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