Mother drives minivan into Hudson River with three kids

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2011 11:11 AM
Mother drives minivan into Hudson River with three kids

NEWBURGH, New York (Reuters) - A mother and three children were found dead in a submerged minivan she drove into the Hudson River after a 10-year-old son escaped and alerted authorities, officials said on Wednesday.

A drenched and shaken Lashaun Armstrong, 10, stumbled into the Newburgh Fire Department at about 7:50 p.m. local time on Tuesday, police said.

"The boy reported that his mother had driven the car into the river," said Newburgh Police Chief Michael Ferrara.

It appeared she "intentionally drove the car into the river," he said.

After an hour-long search and rescue effort by police and fire department dive teams and a helicopter, the car was found submerged in 8 feet of murky water about 25 feet off shore near a boat ramp.

Dead in the vehicle were Lashandra Armstrong, 25, her sons Landon Pierce, 5, and Lance Pierre, 2, and daughter, Lainaina Pierce, 11 months, authorities said.

Her son, Lashaun, who has a different father from the three other children, escaped the submerged car by opening a window and was picked up by a passerby, who drove him to the fire department.

A short while earlier, at 7:43 p.m., one of the mother's relatives had alerted police about a possible domestic dispute at Armstrong's home.

"There was tussling in the background but also a history of domestic problems in the past," Ferrara said.

Authorities said the children's father, Jean Pierre, did not live in the home. They are seeking him for questioning, police said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg, additional reporting by Mike Segar in Newburgh, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)