4 Killed in Crash on LI Parkway
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Friends and family were still reeling after a group of close young friends from Queens were killed in a horrific parkway crash on Long Island Monday.
The father of one of the 18-year-olds killed in the crash off the Southern State Parkway, Christopher Khan, was still in shock.
“It’s a very, very hard situation right now. Very hard,” Somdat Khan said at his Jamaica home. “I can’t explain it.”
The pain was just as profound at the crash site in West Hempstead. Young mourners stopped there through the evening, contributing to a growing memorial and struggling to understand the sudden loss of lives.
“I can’t believe it,” said friend Chris Doodnath. “Even till now, I couldn’t believe it. I can’t believe they’re gone.”
“I started crying. What else can I do?” said Ravi Lutchman, another friend of the victims as he visited the crash site. “I grew up with them.”
Friends of the 18-year-old victims said they were childhood pals who went to the same school in Richmond Hill. While Khan was identified by his family as one of the victims, State Police did not immediately release the names of the four people killed in the crash.
The teens were all passengers in a Subaru Imprezza when it slammed into trees just off the westbound Southern State Parkway before dawn. The victims were all ejected from the vehicle, killed instantly in a crash so powerful it rocked homes in the neighborhood.
The car’s driver, 17-year-old Joseph Beer, was the lone survivor. A friend said he had just gotten the car.
“You know everybody, when they get their brand-new car, they love being in it,” said Alex Maharana. “Maybe they were just taking a cruise.”
State Police said Beer shouldn’t have been behind the wheel in the first place: Beer only had a learner’s permit, and according to DMV regulations, should not have been driving been 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. without a parent, guardian or driving instructor who was over 21 years old.
Buchanan said the area is the site of frequent accidents. “I’ve lived here for 10 years and there has been an accident almost in that exact spot every year, but never as one as horrific as this.”
The parkway was reopened shortly before 10 a.m.
Prosecutors have not said whether they plan to pursue charges against Beer.
“Even though he wasn’t supposed to be driving, nobody deserves this. At all, ever,” said Doodnath. “You can’t wish this upon anybody. He made a mistake, but they don’t deserve this.”
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York