3 teens killed, 6 others hospitalized when Mustang collided with SUV on Staten Island

NEW YORK — The tragic accident on Staten Island has shaken the community. Three teenagers died.

Jenna DeAngelis of CBS2 has also learned more about the drivers who operate the two vehicles.

Police said speed was a factor in the crash that claimed the lives of three young people on Hylan Boulevard on Sunday night. The truly gruesome scenes remained, with people coming all day Monday to pay their respects.

Loved ones lit candles on the sidewalk, where bits of cars and glass were left beside fallen trees and mailboxes.

The uncle of the teenager who was driving one of the cars said through an interpreter that the family was desperate.

Video is consequently difficult to capture. Police said the red Ford Mustang was heading east at Hylan at an “unsafe speed” when it collided with a black GMC Yukon turning left onto Richard Avenue. The collision sent the Mustang crashing into a tree with such force that it split in half, ejecting the teenager from the back seat.

The bodies were far from each other, the car across the street. It was crazy,” said neighbor Nick Manzella. “Lots of cops, lots of people watching, families crying, so it felt like a movie.”


DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez discusses deadly Staten Island crash

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Neighbors who spoke to CBS2 described it as a gruesome sight.

“It was very bad. It was a very bad sight,” said one man. “They had to go fast enough to tear the Mustang in half.”

A police source told investigators CBS2 used slip mark measurements to determine how fast the Mustang was going.

The hospitalized driver, who has not been identified, is 16 years old, was in his mother’s car, and only had a permit, a police source told CBS2.

Another 47-year-old driver of the car has a suspended license, according to sources, who add to the pending charges.

The five people in the Yukon are expected to be fine. Three of the Mustang passengers didn’t make it — 15-year-old Ashley Rodriguez and her siblings Jesie Gil Paez, 15, and Fernanda Gil Paez, 16.

“I was just shocked. I was like, wow, at such a young age. Tomorrow was never promised,” said Tottenville High School student Guillermo Sanchez.

“Great, great, great kids,” said Tottenville resident Anthony Gambino.

Gambino, a family friend, said he was confused.

“The family right now is absolutely heartbroken. They have lost two and another family has lost another and there is one fighting for his life in hospital,” Gambino said.

Transportation Department Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez was at the scene and said some of the passengers were not wearing seat belts. He also discussed plans to make roads safer.

“This should be a real reminder… speeding up life destroys. Drivers, please. Slow down,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and Staten Island Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana detailed a roadwork project in progress on the stretch of highway to improve safety, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

“It has one of the highest accident rates of any road in all five boroughs,” Rodriguez said.

“That would be a bike lane, removing the travel path, but installing a left turn bay,” Caruana said of the repair project.

Transportation Alternatives released a statement calling it an important first step.

“But the government must expand this project to cover the site of yesterday’s crash, and elected leaders on Staten Island must stop blocking its implementation and other infrastructure changes that will slow down drivers and make our roads safer in the region,” the group said.

Police sources said the Mustang had a device that officials were trying to access that would tell them the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Alternative Transport also noted the crash occurred on Sunday, when speed safety cameras were turned off, creating what they call an open invitation to speed.

On August 1st, the speed security cameras will be on 24/7.

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