Taconic Crash Kills 8, Including 4 Children

A family's minivan traveling in the wrong direction crashed into two cars on a suburban parkway just north of New York City on Sunday, killing eight people, including four young cousins and a woman in the same family, The Washington Post reports.

State police Investigator Joseph Becerra said the minivan was southbound in the northbound lanes of the Taconic State Parkway north of New York City when it struck a sport utility vehicle and hit a third vehicle before rolling down an embankment and bursting into flames.

The children who died were girls ages 2, 5, 7 and 9. A 5- year-old boy was hospitalized.

Three men from Yonkers in the SUV were killed, Becerra said. Two people in the third vehicle were hospitalized, The Denver Post reports.

Peter Deduvaj of Yonkers was heading north on the Taconic Parkway to visit his uncle in Mahopac. He was among the eight or so drivers who immediately pulled over to help the car in flames. His sister, Katrina, first saw the minivan whizzing past her the wrong way, moving at what she estimated was more than 70 mph.

"I looked in my rear-view mirror and all of a sudden, I see a head-on with the other car," she said. "And all you see is one car going in one way and the other car going the other way."

Why the minivan was driving the wrong way on the parkway is unclear. State police Capt. Michael Realmuto said the case is under investigation. Weather conditions yesterday were normal, Lower Hudson Journal news reports.