By Alex Robinson
A 16-year-old Oakland Gardens girl who died in a car crash on the Long Island Expressway in Flushing early Tuesday morning was identified by police as Jennifer Gao.
The 19-year-old driver was identified as Jiahao Ling, of Middletown, N.Y., police said.
The pair were traveling westbound in an Audi sedan on the expressway when the car hurtled off the road, tipped over and ran into a tree, according to police.
Gao, who was in the passenger seat, and Ling were unconscious and unresponsive when authorities arrived, and both were pronounced dead at the site of the crash by Emergency Medical Services, the NYPD said.
The crash totaled the car, which was bent in half where it hit the tree.
Gao, who attended Benjamin Cardozo High School, according to her Facebook page, had posted a message and photos implying she would be going to Kissa Bar, a Flushing restaurant and bar, at 133-42 37th Ave, the night of the crash.
The message said she had not had gone out in a long time as she had a toothache.
Friends took to social media to express their grief when the news of her death spread and identified the driver as Gao’s boyfriend, Jason Lueng, but the spelling of his name did not match what police released.
A St. Francis Prep High School student tweeted about the pair, “Rest in peace Jason Lueng and Jennifer Gao. God rest their souls.”
“I miss this girl,” Ronak Domadia said in a Facebook post Wednesday. “In freshman year we were in the same English class and I would get in to small funny fights for no reason. RIP Jennifer Gao. You will always be in my heart. I will never be able to forget you.”
A man who answered the door at Gao’s home Wednesday morning refused to comment.
A Police Department spokesman said speed was likely a factor in the accident, which occurred between the Utopia Parkway and Kissena Boulevard exits, but the investigation was ongoing.
Sports Editor Joseph Staszewski contributed additional reporting to this story.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.