An accident that involved a chain reaction of crashes possibly involving up to six cars occurred on the Long Island Expressway in Queens early Wednesday morning. Police have reported that three people have been killed and 11 other persons have been injured.
The crash reportedly occurred between two vehicles in the eastbound lanes of the Long Island Expressway (LIE) near Maurice Avenue at approximately 4:20 a.m. Initial reports claimed that nine people were hurt, but that number changed to 11 as more information was obtained. The police said that the multi-car crash began with the driver of a 2010 Infiniti car losing control, and the car slammed into a guardrail and was literally split in half in the eastbound lane. The car was carrying five persons, and three of them were ejected from the car and killed when it crashed.
Half of the split vehicle then slammed into another car and a large dump truck then apparently tried to avoid that accident and instead three other vehicles collided into each other behind the truck in Maspeth, Queens. One person from the original car was in critical condition.
Of the 11 persons who were injured, only 10 were hospitalized, either being taken to Elmhurst Hospital or Queens Hospital Center. At least two of them were initially listed as being in critical condition, though AM New York reported that police later said they are now in stable condition. One of the injured people who had been in critical condition had actually gone into cardiac arrest after the multi-car crash, and she, along with the other critically injured persons, was taken to Elmhurst.
The three people killed were all pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
At least two of the vehicles involved in the five or six car pile-up crash were severely damaged — a silver sedan and a dark Hyundai Santa Fe were taken away from the site on a flatbed truck. According to NBC New York, the other vehicles involved in the crash were a dark Toyota, a yellow taxi cab, and also a black Acura. One of the victims was treated on site after the crash and revealed that his injuries and damage to his vehicle were secondary to the things that he witnessed in the tangled mess of cars.
“I went into a cloud of debris and hit another car. It was horrible.”
Another man who had witnessed the first crash reported that after spotting the first crash, he pulled over his car and was going to help when he heard “a bam and then another bam.”
“I ran outside, and as I ran outside I hear cars breaking and I hear cars crashing,” he added.
The names of the victims have not yet been released.
Despite the closing down of the LIE, traffic was not severely affected by the crash. The BQE ramps of the LIE were also closed. Authorities were diverting traffic onto a service road until the lanes could be cleared. All eastbound lanes and lower levels of the LIE were closed after the accident, extending from the 48th Street to the Maurice Avenue exits, for about four hours. However, they began reopening by about 7:30 a.m., and by 9 a.m., all the lanes were completely reopened.
During the hours of the shutdown, the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad were on site to investigate the crash, though it was not made immediately clear if speed had been a factor in this horrific crash that left three people killed.
The crash that killed three persons on Wednesday occurred just 10 days after six people were killed and six more injured in a crash on the LIE in Suffolk County. In that case, it is believed that a 26-year-old man, Carmelo Pinales, was going over 100 mph when he lost control of his vehicle. Pinales, his 10-year-old son, and his 21-year-old sister all died in the crash.
[Image via Shutterstock]