Matt Conway, the director of schools in Derby, described the incident as “unimaginable.”

Police reported that five children, ages 8 to 17, were slain on Sunday morning when the SUV they were riding in veered off a New York highway and struck a tree.

According to a statement from Westchester County Police, the Nissan Rogue was thought to be being driven by a 16-year-old boy when it overturned on the Hutchinson River Parkway in Scarsdale at around 12:20 a.m. local time. No other vehicles were engaged when the SUV crashed into a tree and caught fire.

The only survivor was a 9-year-old boy who was presumably riding in the hatchback area and made it out of the back of the car. With non-life-threatening wounds, the child was taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

According to ABC 7, the 16-year-old driver Malik Smith and the occupants, Anthony Billips Jr., 17, Andrew Billips, 8, Zahnyiah Cross, 11, and Shawnell Cross, perished in the collision.


“They weren’t cousins; they were more brothers. Brothers and sisters, that’s how close they are,” the driver’s father, whose name is also Malik Smith, told CBS 2.

New York highway crash scene. EYEWITNESS NEWS ABC7NY/YOUTUBE

“That’s his thing. He goes to the mall. He goes to get his ice cream with his cousin. They go to the movies. They walk around the mall. They do what teenagers and kids do, you know. So that’s, it’s just, I didn’t know he was driving by himself,” Smith said in a phone interview with the outlet.

Smith added that his kid lacked a valid driver’s license. When asked if Smith knew that his son was driving in general, he responded, “Yeah, I was. And I told him his mother and his older brothers told him to stop driving without a license or a permit. If anything happens, you get pulled over and in trouble for these things. Stop doing this.”

According to ABC 7, the driver had neither a license nor a permit, which was confirmed by the authorities at a news conference on Monday.


The children were members of the same family, according to Matt Conway, the superintendent of schools in Derby, Connecticut, who initially told the Associated Press that he had reached out to the father for support.

“It’s unimaginable,” Conway said. “Having to make arrangements now for five of your children to be buried is difficult for anyone. You’ll have to make arrangements for one child now, never mind five.”

New York highway crash scene. EYEWITNESS NEWS ABC7NY/YOUTUBE

Additionally, a family member verified to Hearst Connecticut Media Group that the kids were all related, but they would not elaborate.

A state representative, Kara Rochelle, shared the GoFundMe website created for the family and added, “You are all in my heart, in all of our hearts.”

According to a police statement, the collision is still being investigated, and officers from the General Investigations Unit and the Westchester County Police Accident Investigation Team are cooperating.



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