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THE COURIER/Photo by Tonia N. Cimino
THE COURIER/Photo by Tonia N. Cimino

Five people died — including an 8 and 9 year old — when the car they were traveling in flipped and ignited in flames in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 22.

According to police, the 2008 black Mercedes Benz SUV, with eight people inside, was traveling eastbound on Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of the Van Wyck Expressway at about 3 a.m. when the vehicle struck a concrete stantion. The collision caused the car to flip and roll over, subsequently coming to a rest on its passenger side and igniting in flames.

FDNY and EMS personnel responded and once the fire was extinguished, five victims were pronounced dead at the scene: an 8-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and three adult females.

The driver of the vehicle, a 45-year-old woman, a 7-year-old boy and a 26-year-old man were taken to Jamaica Hospital.

Hours after the accident, police and fire marshals were still on scene, where a perimeter was set up.

According to Basdeo Narine, who lives about a mile from the accident and passed by as he was driving his wife to work, the Mercedes was completely smashed on its passenger side. He said he saw the five bodies, covered in sheets, laid out near the vehicle.

“It was mind crushing,” he said of the gruesome scene.

Narine said that though he doesn’t consider the intersection dangerous, people do take the turn at the Van Wyck and Atlantic and Archer avenues at a high rate of speed.

“I live here, so I know,” he said. “People can get up to 60 mph from light to light. But if you have kids in the car you are supposed to be cautious.”

In order to avoid such tragedies in the future, Narine said, the area needs a traffic light and a speed bump.

He said he’s not averse to contacting area politicians regarding the matter.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

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