NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three people were killed early Wednesday, and several others were injured in a chain-reaction crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, police identified the victims late Wednesday afternoon, and also what caused the accident.
Authorities say the accidents occurred at around 4:20 a.m. Wednesday near Maurice and Borden avenues in Maspeth.
The accident caused the eastbound side of the lower level of the highway to close, with delays extending as far back to the BQE.
A preliminary investigation indicates the 25-year-old driver of a black Infiniti sedan – identified as Michael Fabre – was speeding and lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a guardrail, splitting the car into two, police said.
The cars looked like crushed up cans in the aftermath of the crashes.
Fabre, Oakland Gardens, and two passengers were ejected from the vehicle and killed, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. The other two victims were identified Giovanny Sanchez, 24, of Brentwood, and Christina Formato, 24, of Franklin Square.
Two other passengers in the car were rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where one is listed in critical condition and the other in stable.
Police said the front portion of the Infiniti landed in the left lane of the eastbound lower LIE roadway. Another car, a 2012 Acura TL, then struck that car debris near the Maurice Avenue exit.
The driver of the Acura, a 27-year-old man, had only minor injuries.
Later, police said a dump truck could not stop in time and collided with five other vehicles that were stopped at the crash site.
Witnesses said they were coming over to help after seeing the initial crash when the other wrecks followed.
“As I’m coming up the hill I hear, ‘bang, bang bang.’ I double stepped it up the hill to see if I could help, to see what was going on. There was two other accidents after the first accident,” a livery driver told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “There was a taxi cab that caught fire, the people got out, they were injured. The other car, I don’t know what happened with that, but that was a pretty bad accident. It was pretty serious.”
“While we were trying to stop traffic from coming to the accident scene, the dump truck was coming too fast and we heard him braking and he just ran into cars,” witness Carlos Rocha said said. “I had to jump over the divider to avoid getting hit by a car.”
According to police, up to 11 others were injured in the crashes.
The NYPD shut down the east bound lanes as first responders helped victims, and investigators processed the scene. All lanes of the LIE reopened shortly after 8:30 a.m. with residual delays.
Christine Pardo works right near the crash site – and says she would not be surprised if speed played a role.
“This area is extremely dangerous. You have regular drivers speeding through here and truck drivers speeding through here also,” Pardo said. “My heart goes out to the families of the three people who died. This is awful.”
The cause of the crash remained under investigation late Wednesday by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad.