A family's minivan going in the wrong direction crashed into two cars on a suburban parkway on Sunday, killing eight people, including four young children who were related to each other.
State police Investigator Joseph Becerra said the minivan was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of the Taconic State Parkway in Westchester County, just north of New York City, when it struck an SUV and then careened into a third vehicle. The minivan rolled down an embankment, where it burst into flames.
The minivan's front end appeared to have been almost entirely smashed in, and its shell was scorched and bent. At least one wheel was blown out.
The driver of the minivan and four of the five children inside it were killed, Becerra said. They were from one family, he said, but he wouldn't say how they were related.
The children who died were ages 2, 5, 7 and 9. The fifth child, age 5, was hospitalized; the child's condition wasn't immediately known.
The three men in the SUV were killed, Becerra said. Two people in the third vehicle were hospitalized.
The parkway, which stretches about 100 miles from Valhalla, in Westchester County, to East Chatham, in Columbia County, was closed to traffic in both directions in the area for hours following the afternoon crash.
It was the second wrong-way crash on the parkway on Sunday. Five people were injured in an early morning collision between two vehicles, one of which was headed northbound in the southbound lanes. That accident occurred about 20 miles north of the later incident.
The scenic Taconic State Parkway was built over a number of years in stages beginning in the early 1920s, initially as an extension of the Bronx Parkway from New York City to Bear Mountain Bridge.