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FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBS) — Police say an infant and nine teenagers were piled into a stolen vehicle that crashed Friday on the Meadowbrook State Parkway, killing three.
The 2005 Chevy Trailblazer went off the roadway and rolled several times around 11:40 a.m. near exit M9 in Freeport.
“We have witness statements that reported that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed and driving erratically,” New York State Police Maj. David Candelaria said. “The vehicle did lose control, overturn several times, and came to final rest on the west shoulder into the marsh.”
The SUV was reported stolen Thursday in Roosevelt.
Police said 10 people were inside when it crashed, including an infant that was strapped into a car seat and survived. Three teens that were ejected during the wreck died.
The deceased were identified as Herbert Leo Aviles Maravilla, 16, Marlon Carbajal, 15, and David Sanchez, 13.
Police said the unlicensed driver, 15-year-old Cindy Sanchez, had been weaving south of Merrick Road, where the straight open highway leads to the beach.
“The vehicle kind of veered to the left. Looks like the operator over-corrected,” said Candelaria.
Many of the victims were from Uniondale where word spread about the death toll.
“The Uniondale Union Free School District is heartbroken over the tragic loss of young lives from our community this afternoon. The Board of Education and Central Administration offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the students who lost their lives, and we wish those who were injured a speedy recovery and safe return home,” the school district said in a statement.
“I don’t understand why kids do these crazy things, especially if they’re going to get in danger,” one resident said. “Now three kids are dead. I don’t know how their families must feel, but this is honestly a very sad moment.”
“Kids lost their life when they’re supposed to be in school? That is so sad,” said another.
Police said excessive speed appeared to be a contributing factor in the crash and charges are pending against Sanchez, who was among the seven people sent to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.