NORTH BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two adults and three children were killed in a fiery crash on Long Island Saturday night after their car veered off the roadway, struck a tree and burst into flames, authorities said.
A 1998 Honda Accord driven by 37-year-old Myriam Lebrun, of Brooklyn, was traveling westbound on the Southern State Parkway when it left the roadway east of exit 38 just before 11 p.m., police said.
The car was left in pieces, and a trail of debris was left behind, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
State police identified the other victims as 68-year-old Moise Yolande, 14-year-old Marcus Jeanty, 9-year-old Marcel Jeanty and 8-year-old Kayla Jeanty.
Lebrun was the children’s mother and Yolande was their grandmother, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
Authorities said the group was returning to Brooklyn following a family gathering.
Police said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Witnesses told Burrell some of the victims were ejected from the vehicle.
Thomas Bennett, who was driving by, said he rushed toward the crash to try to help, but the flames were too overwhelming.
“Tried to pull the body away from the fire, but it was too heavy,” he said. “And then the car was in flames and started popping, so everyone backed up.”
Neighbors in East Flatbush, where the victims lived together and the children played, are grief stricken, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.
“They’re my family, not just a friend,” one woman said.
“More than terrible,” said Marlene Thomas, whose children played almost daily with Lebrun’s kids. “There’s no word to describe this thing.”
“My daughter was close to the little boy that lived there, Marcus. She’s taking it very hard,” said Candice McQueen. “I’m sorry to hear they passed away there were good people.”
Charlot Salomon told Langford his family was very close to the young victims.
“They are always right here playing hide and seek, running up and down,” he said.
Michelle Pepito, who was riding her bike in a park near the crash site, said she got goosebumps when she learned that the five people were killed.
“It’s terrible,” she told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “It makes you feel sick. You just never know.”
Dina Klein, who was also riding her bike, 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.
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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)