MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – As friends and fellow classmates mourned the four 18-year-olds who were killed in a crash Monday on the Southern State Parkway, stunning new details on the crash have emerged.
Sources told CBS 2, the driver, 17-year-old Joseph Beer, told police he and the other victims were smoking marijuana prior to the crash.
Meanwhile, grief counselors were on hand Tuesday at Richmond Hill High School in Queens where two of the teens, Darian Ramnarine and Christopher Khan, were recent graduates.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
“I couldn’t believe it because I used to see him every single day and now he’s gone,” said senior Kavita Jainarine. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Khan, Ramnarine and two others — Neal Rajaba and Peter Anthony — died Monday when a Subaru being driven by Beer went out of control and careened into a wooded area in Malverne near Exit 17, police said.
The impact was so intense, it split the car into pieces. The four teens were killed when they were ejected from the vehicle.
Beer, who also recently graduated from Richmond Hill, was the youngest person in the car and the sole survivor. He is being treated for his injuries at Winthrop-University Hospital.
Friends said the five were childhood buddies who grew up together in Queens.
“It’s kind of hard right now,” said senior Fabbiha Chowthury. “I’m so sad.”
Beer had recently gotten the 2012 Subaru Impreza as a reward, friends said, for academic success.
But state police said Beer should never have been behind the wheel. The teen only had a learner’s permit which requires someone 21 or older in the car at all times.
He was also driving on one of the deadliest roads in the country, according to AAA.
The agency blames the Southern State’s dangerous curves, poor lighting, heavy traffic and frequent speeding for an alarmingly high rate of crashes compared with other parkways in New York.
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports
Khan’s devastated family is begging police and politicians to take a closer look at the roads and the laws.
“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,” said Khan’s aunt Jaya Bhawan.
Criminal charges have not been filed in connection with the crash, but state police said it’s possible Beer may face charges. State police are continuing to investigate whether alcohol was involved.
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