Five men were killed in a “catastrophic” accident that split one car in full in half in Yonkers, New York, during a traffic stop attempt went wrong, according to police.
The accident happened shortly after 9:20 pm. On South Broadway and Prospect Street, when police spotted the driver of a white 2009 Infiniti sedan maneuvering “erratically”, Yonkers police said.
Police tried to stop the driver on Riverdale Street – and for a while he appeared to stop before sprinting with the cops on his tail, the cops said.
Authorities said the driver continued accelerating “beyond precipitous speeds” as he approached the intersection of Culver Street.
Then, at the intersection of Culver Street, the driver collided with a 2006 silver Nissan sedan carrying four 18-year-old Junkers, according to police.
The impact caused “catastrophic damage” to both cars – with Nissan splitting in half.
All four occupants of the Nissan vehicle – Brandon Sierra, Randy Brisbane, Tamari Watkins and Anthony Cruz – died at the scene, according to police.
Police said an Infiniti driver, known as Devon Haywood, 36, was taken to a local trauma center, where he also died.
“I heard a terribly loud collision, it was horrific,” said witness Rafflina Mendes, 56, on Wednesday morning. Wow. I looked out the window and saw one of the cars turning and a dead body in the street
She added, “I saw someone running to check on his body.” “He bent over and held his head, as if he was upset and crying. It looked as if the body had been expelled.”
“I feel bad for these poor little kids. Maybe they didn’t see that coming.”
The four teens graduated from Saunders Trades and Technical High School in June, according to school staff.
Security officer Freddy Bartley said he knew teens from the ninth grade. He said three of them were in college and one got an auto institute.
He said, “I ran into Randy this summer and he was working in a retail store
He was talking about how happy he was to get a job and start saving money for college. I was proud of his work and they are all on the right path to a bright future. They all had so much energy to share with the world and their light dimmed instantly and for whatever reason, I don’t know. “
“I want people to know that they have done nothing wrong,” he added. “They were little kids in a car and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s just horrible.”
School nurse Martha Midranda said she was very upset to hear of the incident.
“We are all family at Saunders,” she said. “You can graduate but you don’t leave. These were really good kids. I have 1,400 kids and to remember them, that’s because they have always been respectful. It’s a shame that this happened.”
John J. Mueller, Commissioner of Yonkers Police, described the incident as “an unspeakable tragedy caused by the reckless behavior of one person who also suffered the ultimate consequences,” adding that a thorough investigation would be undertaken.
“Let this be a lesson for everyone who drives at high speeds – not only endangering your life, but also the lives of the innocent people with whom you share the road,” said Mike Spano, Mayor of Yonkers. “My deepest condolences and prayers to the families of the missing, especially during this holiday season.”