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1 Dead, Several Injured After Minivan Jumps Curb In Queens

A minivan on the street following the fatal accident on March 11, 2013. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

A minivan on the street following the fatal accident on March 11, 2013. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A teenager was killed and four other pedestrians were injured after a minivan jumped a curb in Queens.

It happened around 10:30 a.m. Monday near LaGuardia Community College on Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long Island City.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, witnesses said the junction is known as the intersection of death. And whether or not directly impacted by the latest incident they’re worried who’s going to be next.

A 2002 Dodge Caravan was headed east on Thomson when its driver lost control and jumped a curb near a bus stop, police said. That was when the van collided with five people on the sidewalk and hit a pole before hitting a tree, police said.

Witnesses said the crosswalk was filled with pedestrians at the time of the crash and the van had swerved to miss the crowd crossing the street, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

“(The driver) did not hit one car on the street,” witness Brandon Gonzalez said. “He hit everyone on the sidewalk.”

“I had my headphones on and everything. I took one step back and I felt it in my knees, that how close it was,” Gonzalez told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond. “He hit the post first, then hit the students, and then hit the tree.”

“He didn’t stop with his breaks for nothing. He just kept going,” witness Samantha Santiago told Diamond. “A lot of panic, a lot of screaming. I went into a panic, I just picked up my phone and I called 911.”

Santiago told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones that one pedestrian took a direct hit.

“He was like gasping for air, you literally saw his body moving like he was in pain and gasping for air. I just can’t imagine that,” Santiago said.

Police said 16-year-old Drudak Tenzin, who was one of the pedestrians, was killed.

Witnesses saw the teenager hit the caravan windshield- and then fall to the ground.

“He had a backpack on lying on the floor on his side,” said Melissa Medina. “I saw the driver come out.”

“The driver came out and screamed, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Help, help!” said Mousdafa Elmor.

The four other pedestrians were seriously hurt and taken to Elmhurst Hospital, officials said. All four were listed in stable condition.

A LaGuardia Community College spokesperson confirmed to WCBS 880 that the four who were hurt are students, but did not provide any other details.

Drudak went to the Applied Communications High School, located in the same complex in Long Island City. The high school released a note encouraging those who need help to see grief counselors being provided.

Those who knew Drudak said he was a “nice kid” who wanted to go into social work. Those who did not said they still feel the sadness.

They said the well-traveled five-street intersection is dangerous.

“More incidents are going to occur, and lead to more people dying, and life is precious,” said LaGuardia Community College student Sam Samson.

The driver of the minivan stayed at the scene and was taken into police custody, police said. So far, no charges have been filed.

The investigation is ongoing.

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