An inexperienced driver died when she failed to maneuver a curve on Centerport Road and her car struck a tree, police said Wednesday.
Dominique Kantor, 17, who went by Nikki, was killed Tuesday night in Greenlawn when her car crossed over the opposite lane of traffic and slammed into a tree, Suffolk County police said.
The Centerport teen had her driver's license for a month, said Lieutenant Tom O'Heir of the Suffolk County Police Department when she failed to make a slight curve in the road. Speeding, alcohol and drugs were not factors in the accident, O'Heir said.
She was driving a 2006 Nissan Altima north on Centerport Road at 11:05 p.m. when her car veered across the opposite lane, went off the road and then struck the tree on Centerport Road, police said.
When Second Precinct officers responded to the crash, they found Kantor trapped inside the car, which was on fire. Police and the Greenlawn Fire Department used fire extinguishers and water from garden hoses of neighboring houses to keep the flames from advancing as rescue workers freed Kantor.
She was taken to Huntington Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said. Her family couldn't be reached.
Wednesday, Kantor's friends gathered at the site of the crash, bringing flowers, balloons, and posters to memorialize her. Many of their cars had "R.I.P. Nikki - We love you" written across the rear windows.
Kantor, who friends said excelled academically, was set to begin her senior year at Harborfields High School in Greenlawn this fall. She was planning to graduate early in December, friends said.
She had been a dancer since she was 3, said Malorie Cox, Kantor's dance teacher and the director of Elite Dance Centre in East Northport. Kantor had joined the studio's traveling competitive team in 2005 and studied tap, lyrical, jazz, ballet and hip-hop. She was also an assistant teacher to young girls at the studio.
"She was so involved with the team, and dancing was just something she loved to do," Cox said. "She was such a good kid and a great presence in the studio."
Kantor planned to attend Suffolk Community College in January to study nursing.
"Nikki was such a happy person," said Samantha Makris, 18, a 2009 graduate of Harborfields who gathered with Kantor's friends at the site. "She was friends with everyone, and she could make anyone smile."
"She was bubbly, fun," added Kierstyn Horne, 18, who graduated Harborfields in June. "I just can't believe she's gone."