Crash victim's kin: We didn't know he was in car
Related mediaFatal crash on Southern State Pkwy kills 4 Friends circle shocked by deaths 4 dead in SSP crash For more on this story visit News 12 Long Island Traffic map, cameras LI car accidents
The call came about 3 a.m. Peter Kanhai told his mother he was heading home to Queens.
Kumaree Kanhai thought her son had gone to the movies with friends to see "Taken 2," said Bryant Barr, who lives with the Kanhais in South Ozone Park and considers himself Peter's stepfather.
Forty minutes later, Peter Kanhai, 18, and three friends were dead, killed early Monday in a horrific accident on the westbound Southern State Parkway in Lakeview.
"The last time she talked to Peter he said he was on his way home," Barr said. "That was all we knew. He was on his way. We didn't know he was getting into a car with anybody else."
Barr and the other victims' families mourned and finalized funeral plans Tuesday. The loss hit hard at Richmond Hill High School, which some of the teens attended and where counselors were on hand to help students cope with their grief.
The crash killed Kanhai, Christopher Khan, 18, Darian Ramnarine, 18, and Neal Rajapa, 17.
Like Kanhai, Khan and Ramnarine were from South Ozone Park; Rajapa was from Jamaica, Queens.
"He was a good kid. Funny," said Khan's father, Somdat Bhawan, his eyes red. "He was a typical 18-year-old. He liked to play video games. He liked to play basketball."
Police said the survivor, Joseph Beer, 17, of South Richmond Hill, was driving with a learner's permit and lost control. He was being treated at Winthrop University Hospital.
Tuesday, New York City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited Richmond Hill High to console students.
"He was really nice," Kayla Valentine, 17, of Springfield Gardens, said of Khan. "If I ever had a problem with something, he would talk to me. . . . It's tragic to lose somebody that you're so cool with and to just realize that they can be gone."
Jonathan Espinosa, 17, of Woodhaven, said he shared a science lab class with Khan.
"He was a funny kid in class. . . . It shocked me," he said. "That shouldn't ever have happened."
Barr said Kanhai, first identified in media reports as Peter Anthony, was Khan's good friend.
"Now," he said, "we're making funeral arrangements. That's all we can do. . . . This is something that kids prepare for their parents. It's unnatural for parents to do that for their children."
With Zachary R. Dowdy