Five children from same family killed in crash as teen relative drove them home from mall
Five children who were all related to each other lost their lives after a tragic car accident in New York.
Six siblings and cousins were heading to Derby, Connecticut from a mall when their vehicle, a Nissan Rogue, veered off the Hutchinson River Parkway in Scarsdale, Westchester County and struck a tree around 12.20am on Sunday.
Soon after the collision, the vehicle burst into flames.
The five killed in the crash were aged between eight and 17.
Police said the only surviving member from the vehicle in which the extended family was travelling was a nine-year-old boy.
Westchester County police believe the car was being driven by a 16-year-old boy who may have fallen asleep during the drive.
“A short distance past [the exit], the vehicle strikes this tree and catches fire,” Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O’Leary told the New York Post.
The nine-year-old boy who survived the crash was sitting in the vehicle’s cargo area at the time.
The lone survivor was “apparently riding in the rear hatchback/cargo area and escaped out the rear”, said a Westchester County police statement.
The boy was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors ensured that his injuries were not life-threatening, said the statement.
“Lord Jesus I don’t understand why you had to take our babies from us,” Nicole Cross, the mother of some of the victims, wrote on Facebook.
“Please give us the strength Lord God,” Ms Cross added. “These kids didn’t deserve this like why is this happening please keep my family in your prayers... don’t know what to do or how to handle this God please help us.”
Police said there were no other vehicles involved in the crash.
Matt Conway, the superintendent of schools in Derby, Connecticut, was quoted as saying by ABC7 that the children were part of a family that had recently moved to New Haven County from New York but had yet to enrol in the district.
“It’s unimaginable. Having to now make arrangements for five of your children to be buried is a very difficult thing for anyone – one child, never mind five that you’re going to have to now make arrangements for,” Mr Conway said.
CBS New York quoted the father of the teen driver as saying that his son should not have been behind the wheel as he didn’t have a permit.
“They wasn’t cousins, they were more brothers. Brothers and sisters, that’s how close they are,” said Malik Smith, the driver’s father.
“That’s his thing. He goes to the mall. He goes to get his ice cream with his cousin. They go to the movies. They walk around the mall. They do what teenagers and kids do, you know. So that’s, it’s just, I didn’t know he was driving by himself,” Mr Smith said.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help families raise money “to help bury our children” and for “giving them a great home going service”.
“Terrible, heartbreaking news emerging of five Derby children lost in a crash in New York... Please keep these children and their family in your prayers,” Kara Rochelle, a Connecticut state representative, wrote on Facebook.