MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Four people were killed in a single-car crash Monday on Long Island when their car split in half after it veered off the road and slammed into some trees, New York State Police said.
The family of one of the victims is also speaking out, saying they’re appalled a teen without a driver’s license was behind the wheel.
The horrifying wreck happened just before 4 a.m. on the Southern State Parkway when a Subaru went out of control and careened into a wooded area in Malverne near Exit 17, police said.
New York State Police identified the driver of the car as 17-year-old Joseph Beer of Queens. Beer had only a learner’s permit and was being treated for his injuries on Monday at Winthrop-University Hospital, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria Reports
Four passengers — all of them 18 years old — died instantly when they were ejected from the vehicle, D’Auria reported. Authorities said the accident occurred because the driver failed to negotiate a curve on the slick Southern State.
The car barreled off the road and careened into a tree with such force that the vehicle broke into multiple pieces, police said.
The dead have been identified as Christopher Khan, Neal Rajaba, Darian Ramnarine and Peter Kanhai.
Khan’s family is devastated and said they had no idea that he had even left the house. His aunt, Jaya Bhawan, said the accident could have been avoided.
“My nephew can’t come back, and they have to do something about the law — give them licenses when they’re 25 years old or something. Don’t give them while they’re young,” she told CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider.
“When I got the news I didn’t expect this. I just thought it was a minor accident. It was a bad, bad situation,” Khan’s father, Somdat Bhawan, said.
Residents in the area said the impact of the crash shook their homes.
“I heard the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in my life — like an explosion, like TNT blew off,” Jeffery Vicari said.
“I heard the initial impact, I had the window open. Literally, the minute they hit the tree, the house shook,” another resident added. “We started hearing a bunch of popping sounds and we thought there were explosions or gun shots or something, but what it turned out was all the debris in the street, all the cars passing kept hitting it.”
WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reports
Police said speed was a likely factor in the crash.
“Normally you would hear screech marks — the sound of a car trying to stop. That car went full speed into it,” said neighbor Kevin Canton. “There was no screeching or anything. It went straight into there at full speed.”
Police shut down the westbound lanes of the parkway between exits 17 and 19 and spent hours cleaning up a scene that troopers called particularly gruesome.
Residents who live near the site of the crash said the stretch of road where the accident occurred is dangerous.
“It’s always happened here, we’re always hearing crashes here on 18 – between 18 and 17 because of the curve,” neighbor Maryam Bayatt said.
Anyone with any information about the crash is asked to call New York State Police at 516-561-8492.
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