PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A deadly crash in upstate New York marred a holiday weekend for two families.
Three members of a New Jersey family were killed after police said an alleged drunk driver blew a stop sign and hit their car. The accident happened in Sheldon, a town in Wyoming County — southeast of Buffalo — as the family was on a trip, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Monday.
A 4-year-old, her mother and grandmother were killed Sunday just after 6:30 a.m. Police said a pickup truck went through an intersection without stopping at the stop sign and struck the family’s SUV in a T-bone-type collision.
Relatives provided pictures of the two women, identified as 47-year-old Ondina Castro De La Cruz and her daughter, 32-year-old Mayelin Brito-Castro. They were ejected from the vehicle and died, police said. Brito-Castro’s daughter was also killed.
CBS2 has learned the victims lived in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
“They were happy about the trip. I was speaking to him a couple of days ago and he had the plans to go with the family up there,” next-door neighbor Aneudys Peralta said.
Like everyone else who knew the victims, that neighbor was in shock. Nine members of the family were inside the seven-passenger Kia Sedona on their way to Niagara Falls.
“They were very nice people, calm, hardworking,” Peralta said.
Other members of the family were taken to local hospitals — a 55-year-old man, 26-year-old woman and children ages 14, 10 and two 4-year-olds.
Police said not everyone was wearing a seat belt and there were no child seats or booster seats in the car.
The driver of the pickup, identified as 20-year-old Richard Sawicki, was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, DWI and reckless driving.
“We came out here. Me and my son came out here today to say prayers to all parties involved in this horrific accident,” one woman said.
Some people visited the crash site to pray, including those who know Sawicki.
“But I do want to put it out there, Richie is a very good kid. His upbringing is very good. He has no troubled background. So this is a shocker for the whole family as well,” the woman said.
Surviving family members are rallying around the injured at upstate hospitals, trying to process how to go on without three beloved family members.
Sawicki is being held on $200,000 bond and his license has been suspended. The investigation is ongoing and police said additional charges are expected.