A car careened off the road in Elmont on Oct. 31 after being involved in a multi-vehicle wreck and struck four local high school bystanders, leaving two in critical condition.
Police officials reported that the accident occurred at around 3 p.m. at the intersection of Dutch Broadway and Elmont Road, and that the injured teens were all around 15 years old.
Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder in a news conference detailing the incident said it had involved four vehicles and that one had lost control, leaving the road and hitting a tree, utility pole and the teenagers, who had been standing on a nearby sidewalk shortly after leaving class at Elmont Memorial High School.
“There were four kids that were standing there on that sidewalk, they had just left school,” he said, adding that police investigators were searching for a cause behind the accident.
“Our prayers go out to the victims and their families,” Ryder said.
Three of the victims were girls, one of whom was airlifted to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, and another, also in critical condition, was rushed to a hospital by ambulance. A police spokesperson said the department had no additional information on their current status.
The remaining two, a boy and a girl, were also transported to a local hospital, Ryder said, with non-life-threatening injuries.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” Ryder said “… We’re gonna let our guys do their job and hopefully figure out how this accident occurred.”
County Legislator Carrie Solages said that the county had recently undertaken a traffic study of the intersection and is currently in the process of sending out requests for proposals to add additional traffic controls.
He expressed frustration, however, that the process has taken so long, and that he had been pushing the previous county executive administration since at least 2015 to look into traffic issues related to Dutch Broadway, which is known to see a high frequency of accidents.
“It’s unacceptable that the prior administration waited years to look into it,” Solages said, adding that he had forwarded his requests to County Executive Laura Curran’s administration when she took office in 2017, and that it had moved forward with the traffic study. He said that while the County Legislature can earmark funds to improve safety on the road, it falls on the county executive’s office to implement the recommendations that come out of the traffic study.
“They have the results of [the traffic study] and we’re doing all that we can,” Solages said, noting that while his heart goes out to the victims and their families, now is the time for action.
“What are prayers and thoughts without good works?” he said.
An emergency meeting has been scheduled for 8 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Elmont Public Library to address the accident.