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Funerals held Saturday for 5 family members killed in Southern State crash

Mourners stand outside St. Martha's Catholic Church in

Mourners stand outside St. Martha's Catholic Church in Uniondale on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, as coffins are carried out after a funeral service for five family members from Brooklyn that were killed in a crash on the Southern State Parkway last month. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hundreds of mourners attended funeral services Saturday for five family members killed late last month in a single-car crash on the Southern State Parkway as they were headed home to Brooklyn.

Some mourners wept and others wailed as they entered, then filed out of St. Martha's Catholic Church in Uniondale for the services for Myriam Lebrun, 37, her mother and three children, who died Aug. 23 shortly after leaving a family function in Brentwood.

"I don't want to see, I don't want to see," one woman cried in Creole as she approached the church before services started. Another woman began to scream, then dropped to her knees as the five gray hearses pulled up to the curb.

Inside, the church was filled with up to 600 family members, friends and supporters. Some hugged any one of the five coffins lined up in the center.

"There are no words that can take away the pain or extent of this tragic loss. What do you say at a funeral for five souls?" Msgr. Francis J. Caldwell said at the beginning of the funeral Mass. "Life has changed, not ended. Not only for these five human beings, but also for you family and friends."

Services were held in both English and Creole for the friends and families of the victims, who were of Haitian descent. The Rev. Rony Fabien delivered the Creole portion of the services.

In addition to Lebrun, who was the driver, killed were her mother, Marie Rose Yolande Moise, 68; and Lebrun's children, Marquis Jeanty, 14, Marcel Jeanty, 9, and Kayla Jeanty, 8, all of Brooklyn.

The cause of the crash -- in which Lebrun's westbound 1998 Honda Accord veered off the road near Exit 38, Belmont Lake State Park in North Babylon, and erupted into flames on impact with a tree shortly before 11 p.m. -- remains under investigation, said Frank Bandiero, a spokesman for the State Police.

A State Police investigator had said authorities were trying to determine whether speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.

Relatives at the party told investigators that Lebrun had a few drinks during the night, but they did not think she was intoxicated, the investigator said.

The funeral Mass was followed by a burial at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale. The family was able to raise the money they needed to cover the cost of the burials.

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