RIDGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A driver was in custody Wednesday night after a horrific chain-reaction crash on Long Island.
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, Suffolk County police said five people were killed in the fiery crash, which involved at least three cars and an oil delivery tuck.
The crash occurred around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday on Middle Country Road, also known as Route 25, just west of Woodlot Road in Ridge.
Police closed off Route 25 near the scene for most of the day. Investigators said there will be a lengthy investigation, and they are trying to piece together what exactly happened.
On Wednesday night, tow trucks finally hauled away the mangled cars, some of could barely be made out. At least one car was incinerated, two more were split in two, and another car and the fuel tanker were damaged.
According to authorities, one of the vehicles involved was stolen. A 2018 Camaro lay broken apart with the passenger killed on impact.
His mother rushed to the scene and broke through police tape, identifying him as 19-year-old Lonidell Skinner of Bellport.
Meanwhile, the four occupants of a 2012 Mazda had no chance to escape.
One victim was heard disoriented and crying at the scene.
Loretta Burns lives nearby and says she came upon the horrific scene just before noon Wednesday.
“Someone tried getting them out, I saw him and it was just too much fire,” she told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “He couldn’t do anything.”
Police said moments earlier they were notified of the stolen Camaro and with the help of OnStar, they found it. But Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron insisted that it was not a chase.
“Our patrol cars were some distance behind. That’s going to be part of the investigation,” he said. “But we do not believe our cars were in pursuit.”
The driver of the Camaro, identified as 23-year-old Jamel Turner of Bellport, was arrested and is facing multiple charges including criminal possession of stolen property and false personation.
Skinner’s family was asked if they were surprised their son was in a stolen car :
“I don’t know nothing about this, I’m sorry,” said Retha Williams, Skinner’s great great grandmother.
There is technology by OnStar to kill the ignition of a moving stolen vehicle. Suffolk County police said they were looking into whether that happened in this case.