BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) — A woman and her four passengers, including three children, were returning home from a family gathering when their car veered off a Long Island highway, crashed into a tree and burst into flames, killing all of them, authorities said Sunday.
Myriam Lebrun, 37, was traveling on the Southern State Parkway toward Brooklyn just before 11 p.m. Saturday when her Honda Accord left the westbound lanes near Exit 38 in Babylon and smashed into the tree, state police said.
All five people in the car died. State police identified the other victims as 68-year-old Moise Yolande, 14-year-old Marcus Jeanty, 9-year-old Marcel Jeanty and 8-year-old Kayla Jeanty.
It was unclear why the car veered off the road, and an investigation was ongoing.
Emergency responders and witnesses described heavy fire, with flames shooting into the sky.
"The front of the car was pretty much engulfed in flames," Robert Cabano, North Babylon first assistant fire chief, told Newsday. He said one passenger was found outside the car.
Thomas Bennett told CBS New York that he stopped his car, ran to the crashed vehicle and "tried to pull the body away from the fire, but it was too heavy."
He added, "And then the car was in flames and started popping, so everyone backed up."
Charlot Salomon told Newsday the family had lived next to him in Brooklyn for the past several years and that they were in Long Island for a birthday party.
The crash shut down the area of the road for several hours. The westbound lanes of the highway, which were closed after the crash, reopened just after 3:30 a.m., the police said.