A horrific crash on a Long Island highway left three people dead and five others hurt after police said a vehicle was speeding when it struck several other cars.
The 911 call for the crash came in just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday, police said, as video from the scene in Massapequa showed firefighters at the scene surrounding an overturned car with extensive damage on the Sunrise Highway. First responders had to work on multiple cars, at one point cutting into the metal of one vehicle to get inside.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash, but detectives said all of the vehicles involved were traveling west near a shopping center, with two cars stopped at a red light in the center lane. That’s when a 32-year-old driver of a Hyundai traveling at a high rate of speed plowed into the back of a vehicle that held six family members, including a father and his children and a grandchild.
The family’s vehicle then crashed into the car in front of them, a Chevrolet Malibu driven by an 83-year-old man, then flipped over and crashed into another car.
The driver of the first car hit — 60-year-old Patrice Huntley, of Flushing, Queens — was killed in the crash, police said at a press conference Monday afternoon. His 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, was pronounced dead at the scene, while his 10-year-old son Jeremiah was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Huntley’s 6-year-old granddaughter and another of his children, an 18-year-old, were hospitalized and are clinging to life with what Nassau Police Det. Capt. Steve Fitzpatrick called “extreme internal injuries,” including a brain bleed. Another one of Huntley’s children, a 14-year-old, suffered back and rib injuries, but is expected to survive.
Police said that Huntley and his family had gone out to get ice cream to celebrate the father’s new job when they were struck from behind. The 83-year-old driver in front of them was injured as well, but was treated at the hospital and released.
The driver of the third car struck, a 33-year-old, refused medical attention at the scene.
The driver of the Hyundai that plowed into the family suffered compound ankle fractures and other injuries. No charges have yet been filed in the crash, but police didn’t rule out charges as a possibility, saying speed was the main factor in the crash.
Public works personnel were seen cleaning the area for hours after the crash, which left metal parts and debris scattered across the pavement. The crash and cleanup caused significant traffic jams while the road was closed for police activity.
An investigation is ongoing.
The crash occurred just hours before another deadly incident, this time taking the life of a 6-year-old. The victim’s 26-year-old mom and teenage cousin were injured in the crash as well, police said.
The suspect in that case, 18-year-old Jorge Bonilla Gutierrez, was charged with DWI after his BAC was found to twice the legal limit. He also faces second-degree manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and assault charges. Gutierrez was also allegedly driving without a license.
Attorney information for Gutierrez was not immediately made available.