NY Mom Drives into Hudson River; Kills Self and 3 Kids

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A mother in New York drove her minivan off of a boat ramp into the Hudson River, killing herself and three of her young children. A fourth child managed to escape the sinking vehicle.

According to several published reports, this all began Tuesday evening when police were called to the house of 25-year-old Lashanda Armstrong in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City. There were reports of a domestic dispute. But by the time police got there, Armstrong was on her way to the river.

Police say she drove off of the ramp and into the water. Two boys, ages five and two, and a daughter, 11 months, drowned along with their mother.

"From what we've gathered so far it was Miss Armstrong's intention to drive the car into the water," Newburgh police chief Michael Ferrara said at a news conference on Wednesday.

But police say 10-year-old Lashaun was able to reach over his mother and push the button to roll down a window. He was able to get out and swim for the shore.

A passerby picked up Lashaun and took him to a fire station to get help.

"When he came into the fire station he was having difficulty speaking and was repeating about the car being in the water with his mom and siblings," said Newburgh fire chief Michael Vattar. "He was soaking wet and suffering from hypothermia -- the water was about 40F. This case was particularly tragic. He is obviously very shaken up."

The car was submerged when emergency crews arrived at the ramp.

"If that child had not escaped that car this would still be a missing person's inquiry," Ferrara said.

Divers found the car 25 feet from shore, eight feet beneath the murky water.

"It's a horrible sight, all of them in the car," said Ferrara.

It's not clear what the nature of the initial domestic dispute call was. The Daily Mail reports the father of the children who died was identified as Jean Pierre. He is not Lashaun's father. He also does not live with the family.

There are no reports of previous domestic problems with the couple, but police say they are combing through phone records to see if there is anything there.

Newburgh Mayor Nicholas Valentine said his city has dealt with tragedies before, but this one "is second to none."