NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators of a horrific Halloween crash that killed three people including a 10-year-old girl are looking at whether a medical problem may have caused a motorist to smash into a group of New York City trick-or-treaters, police said Sunday.
The car jumped a curb in the Bronx on Saturday evening, leaving behind mangled bodies and bloodied costumes as neighbors ran to help. Police were examining whether the driver may have suffered a medical emergency, such as a seizure.
A 65-year-old grandfather, Louis Perez, suffered severe head trauma and died at the scene, police said. His granddaughter, 10-year-old Nyanna Aquil, was pronounced dead at a hospital. The girl’s 3-year-old sister was also hospitalized.
Another man, 24-year-old Kristian Leka, was also killed. His 9-year-old sister and a 21-year-old female friend were also injured but not critically.
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A black Dodge Charger being driven by a 52-year-old man plowed into the pedestrians on a sidewalk and then smashed through a fence in front of a home, police said. The driver was taken to the hospital in stable condition. No charges had been announced as of Sunday afternoon, police said.
Nyanna’s mother, Natalia Perez, told the Daily News that her father had been taking her daughters for some extra Halloween fun.
“It was all because my dad wanted to take my girls for a second round of trick-or-treating,” she said. “Isn’t that crazy? I had already taken the girls earlier.”
Witnesses described hearing a loud boom, followed by screaming and crying, then seeing a trail of mangled bodies in crumpled, bloodied costumes.
“I saw a torso on the sidewalk. I didn’t know if it was a Halloween dummy or a real person,” neighbor Fabio Cotza told the New York Post. “I just grabbed a whole bunch of towels and ran outside.”
Hours after the crash, neighbors gathered for a small candlelight vigil to remember the victims.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities “will leave no stone unturned” in the investigation and offered prayers to the victims and their families.
“We do not accept tragedies like this as inevitable,” he said. “This could be any of our families. Each of us must contribute to making this a city where everyone, especially children, can walk our streets safely.”