Four people were killed and one critically injured in a horrific crash sparked by a wrong-way driver on Long Island’s Southern State Parkway early Tuesday, police said.
Marvin Balcaseres, 33, had been careening against traffic for less than a minute on the parkway before he plowed head-on into a Nissan Rogue carrying four people at around 5:10 a.m., New York State Police said.
Just two minutes before the wreck near Exit 29 in the Town of Oyster Bay, drivers on the road had called 911 to report the wrong-way driver, but authorities could not get to the location in time.
Balcaseres, the sole occupant in the 1998 Toyota Camry — and three occupants in the 2011 Nissan – driver Ruben Sanchez-Flores, 67, and passengers Edith Magana, 56, and Ivis Sanchez-Cordova, 34 – all died at the scene, police said.
The Nissan’s fourth occupant, 44-year-old Nadia Sanchez-Cordova who had been sitting in the front passenger seat, was critically injured and rushed to Nassau University Medical Center, according to cops.
Investigators believe “several” people who were in the Nissan were related, Mohl said during an afternoon press conference.
They had all been traveling from their homes in Hempstead to Farmingdale for work, said Mohl.
Following the head-on collision, a 2011 Suzuki SUV that was travelling behind the Nissan attempted to avoid the wreck, but wound up striking the Toyota as well, authorities said.
A motorcyclist also tried to get out of the way, but lost control and hit debris from the crash.
The driver of the Suzuki, Queens resident Steven Miller, 50, who was the only person in the car, escaped without injury, while the motorcyclist — identified as Roberto Mack, 32, of Georgia — was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries, police said.
“It was a chaotic scene,” said Mohl as he explained there was “heavy front-end damage” to the Toyota and Nissan.
A fire had erupted after first responders pulled out the victims from the cars, he added.
Mohl said that when the 911 calls came in reporting a wrong-way driver there were five troopers on the Southern State Parkway, but they could not get to the site in time.
“It was unfortunate that the timeline was so condensed,” Mohl said. “Unfortunately the less-than-a-mile that they traveled was not enough time for us to be on the scene and potentially [save them].”
Police believe the wrong-way driver likely entered the parkway from Exit 30 or 31 – both of which are less than a mile from the crash scene.
The collision shut down the parkway for five hours.
It remains under investigation whether Balcaseres was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.