WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- A car was cut in half after smashing into trees along a Long Island parkway Monday morning, killing four 18-year-old passengers, New York State Police said. The 17-year-old driver, who had a learner’s permit, was taken to a hospital.
The accident on the westbound Southern State Parkway happened at about 4 a.m., closing the roadway for more than five hours on a quiet Columbus Day holiday.
Backpacks and other personal items could be seen inside the wreckage.
Glass, debris and other car parts were strewn along a wooded area adjacent to a nearby neighborhood street, where one neighbor said she was awakened by the sound of a loud explosion.
"Just a loud boom," said Amy Buchanan, who lives on nearby Taylor Road. Her home is about 50 yards from where the late-model Subaru came to rest. She said other neighbors told her one apparent survivor of the crash was seen walking near the wreckage.
State Police identified the driver as 17-year-old Joseph Beer of Queens. His four passengers were not immediately identified.
Police said those killed were thrown out of the vehicle after the driver failed to negotiate a curve in the road and crashed into the woods.
The front and rear parts of the vehicle were loaded separately onto a flatbed truck and carted away from the scene.
Buchanan said the area is the site of frequent accidents.
The parkway was reopened shortly before