3 camp counselors killed in Meadowbrook crash mourned

Jim Malone, father of victims Jamie and Page, Jim Malone, father of victims Jamie and Page, outside Floral Park home Thursday. (July 15, 2010) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Three Floral Park young people - all counselors at a summer camp for disabled kids - died and two others were hurt Thursday when the car they were riding in left the road and crashed into a tree along the Meadowbrook State Parkway in Roosevelt, State Police said.

Michael Mulhall, 22, of Beech Street, Paige Malone, 19, of Primrose Avenue, and her sister Jamie Malone, 22, were driving south on the Meadowbrook on their way to work at Camp Anchor in Lido Beach when they were killed in the 8:50 a.m. one-car crash, said Trooper Frank Bandiero, a State Police spokesman.

"We lost three great kids from this town today, two from my family," said Jim Malone, father of the two young women. "Wonderful kids. Never in any trouble. It's terrible. We're just devastated."

Two others, driver Justine Mulhall, 20, Michael Mulhall's sister, and Kelly Murphy, 20, of Larch Avenue in Floral Park, were hurt and taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

Hospital spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said Mulhall and Murphy were listed in stable condition.

Bandiero said the accident is under investigation, but alcohol has been ruled out early, said State Police Troop L Commander Maj. Walter Heesch.

"Our prayers go out to the families in this tragedy, and also to the community of Floral Park, where all three of these young people were from," said Heesch. "These were three young adults doing something positive for the community."

The 2010 Honda Civic was traveling south in the left lane of the Meadowbrook just south of the Southern State Parkway and north of Exit M7 when it crossed to the right lane, onto the shoulder and struck a tree, demolishing the vehicle and ejecting at least one rider, investigators said.

Murphy was sitting in the backseat behind Justine Mulhall, police said. The locations of the two Malone sisters and Michael Mulhall are not known.

"There are no words to say how devastated my son and my wife and my daughter and I are," Malone said.

Thursday night, residents, family and camp employees packed Our Lady of Victory Church in Floral Park to celebrate a Mass presided by the Rev. Bruno Dekrem, associate pastor. The stairs outside were filled with people throughout the service as latecomers discussed the loss. Once the service ended, another group of people went inside.

After hearing of the crash, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray rushed to the camp, where she held an impromptu news conference.

"Members of the Town of Hempstead family are devastated by the tragic car accident that claimed the lives of three young, vibrant and caring counselors from Camp Anchor," she said. "At the same time, we pray for the recovery of the two surviving counselors and the families and friends of all of the victims of this tragedy."

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano also issued a statement, saying the county "mourns the loss of these three young adults who helped serve our community. My thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of the victims."

The road near the accident was closed for several hours as police investigated.

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