A family of five killed in a crash in New York on Saturday included a mother, grandmother and three children. The Long Island fatal accident has shaken up residents who consider the victims “family” members.
According to a New York Times news report, Myriam Lebrun, 37, the driver of a 1998 Honda Accord, lost control of her vehicle on a stretch of Southern State Parkway in the late hours over the weekend.
Police say all five occupants died in the single car crash after the vehicle struck a tree and burst into flames at Exit 38 in North Babylon, according to accident investigators with the New York State Police Department.
Although a witness who was driving by rushed over to help at the crash site, flames were too intense to get close. Thomas Bennet described the fiery scene.
Tried to pull the body away from the fire, but it was too heavy. And then the car was in flames and started popping, so everyone backed up.”
When police and paramedics arrived, they observed pieces of the vehicle and personal effects strewn all about the scene of the fatal crash.
The five family members killed in the crash had just left Ms. Lebruns sister’s home in the Brentwood area for a family gathering. Police identified the four other occupants: Marcus Jeanty, 14, Marcel Jeanty, 9, Yolande Moise, 68 and Kayla Jeanty, 8.
Sources say the Haitian-American family members were well-known in the community where everyone looked out for one another.
Moise, who is affectionately called by her French nickname of Soeur-Marie, was the neighborhood caretaker. She baked treats for kids in the area, and prepared meals for anyone down on their luck and were in need of a warm cooked meal.
Many say the children had bright futures: Marcus was very tall of his age — likely with an eye on the NBA — was a talented artist, who drew cartoons for his brother. And Kayla had dreams of becoming a fashion model.
Residents in the Flatbush community recalled the life of the five who were killed in Saturday’s crash.
“They’re my family, not just a friend,” one woman said.
Marlene Thomas’ kids were very close to the children who perished. They could often be seen playing daily in the neighborhood.
“More than terrible. There’s no word to describe this thing.”
“My daughter was close to the little boy that lived there, Marcus. She’s taking it very hard. I’m sorry to hear they passed away there were good people,” said Candice McQueen.
“They are always right here playing hide and seek, running up and down,” said Charlot Salomon.
There is no mention if weather, driver impairment or mechanical difficulties were factors in the tragedy. Additionally, it’s unknown if another driver’s actions resulted in the fatality.
However, police say some of the five killed in the crash were ejected from the car, which could indicate non-use of seat belts.
This story is developing.
[Image via: YouTube]