Police Investigate After Fiery Car Crash In New York Leaves 5 Minors Dead, 1 Injured

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Five young Connecticut residents were killed when their vehicle veered off a New York parkway and hit a tree Sunday, leaving a 9-year-old boy as the sole survivor, police say.

The 2021 Nissan Rouge SUV was traveling on the Hutchinson River Parkway in Scarsdale when it veered off the road, according to the Westchester County Police Department (WCPD). The evidence indicates the 16-year-old alleged driver was distracted or fell asleep, police said. A 9-year-old managed to escape through the trunk of the car and was brought to Westchester Medical Center for medical attention, WCPD wrote in a press release.

“The driver did not turn with the roadway, it continued in a straight line. We believe it hit a boulder and then hit a tree head-on, and the car was engulfed in flames at that point, and the five passengers who perished were unable to exit safely from the passenger component front and back seat of the car,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer said during a media briefing Monday. (RELATED: Watch As Drivers Rush To Rescue Woman From Burning Car On Highway)

The driver did not have a valid driver’s license or learning permit, Latimer said. A junior, permitted driver is not allowed to drive a car at night under any circumstances, and may only do so during the day with an adult in the vehicle, according to New York State law. The 16-year-old had apparently gotten behind the wheel before, despite close family members advising him not to, his father told CBS New York.

The section of the tragedy on the Hutchinson River Parkway does not frequently see accidents, Latimer said, but WCPD is considering guardrails to prevent future incidents. 

“So we hope to learn about the accident. What we need to know in order to do whatever it is we can do to try to avoid this happening in the future,” Latimer continued.

WCPD suspects the minors had been driving from New Jersey or New York back to the passengers’ home in Connecticut.

“They wasn’t cousins, they were more brothers. Brothers and sisters, that’s how close they are,” the 16-year-old’s father continued, according to CBS.

State Rep. Kara Rochelle shared the family’s GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.