A New York mom, her three children and the children’s grandmother were all killed Saturday night on Long Island when their car veered off the Southern State Parkway, hit a tree and burst into flames, police said.
“It’s absolutely tragic,” North Babylon First Assistant Fire Chief Robert Cabano, told the New York Daily News. “It’s just tragic. It’s horrible.”
The New York State Police said Myriam Lebrun, 37, was driving west on the parkway when her car left the road and entered the woods between exits 38 and 39.
Cabano said when firefighters arrived at the scene, the car was engulfed in flames reaching 10 to 15 feet in the air.
“There was a heavy fire condition to the front of the vehicle and (to) the passenger’s side,” Cabano said.
Lebrun’s three children Marcus Jeanty, 14; Marcel Jeanty, 9; Kayla Jeanty, 8; and their grandmother Moise Yolande, 68, died at the scene, police said.
One witness to the crash, Thomas Bennett, told CBS-NewYork that he tried to pull victims from the wreckage but was overwhelmed by the flames.
He and others “tried to pull the body away from the fire, but it was too heavy,” Bennett recounted. “And then the car was in flames and started popping, so everyone backed up.”
One passenger had been thrown from the vehicle, the other four remained inside, according to police.
Dina Klein, who was nearby the crash site when the wreck occurred, said the highway has a lot of trees and curves and can be hard to navigate, especially at night.
“I just feel the Southern State Parkway is very dangerous due to the curvy, rural roads and winding,” Klein said.
Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
“It looks like a combination of speed, and we're investigating the possibility of alcohol,” lead State Police investigator Charles Knapp said Sunday.
Lebrun was returning home from a party the night of the accident. Relatives who were with her at the party said she had very little to drink and didn’t appear intoxicated when she left.
“She was health-conscious. She doesn't smoke, she eats healthy. She cares about her life,” her cousin, Mayerline Moise, told Newsday. She called Lebrun “a very safe driver.”
One witness reportedly told police that Lebrun’s car had passed her on the parkway. It was traveling at speeds greater than 60 mph when it left the road, according to the report. The posted speed limit in the area is 55 mph.