Three male occupants of a stolen car being followed by a state trooper were killed Sunday night after the vehicle crashed through a fence and overturned in an icy sump pond in Albertson, police said.
The crash occurred just before 6 p.m. at the intersection of I.U. Willets and Searingtown roads in a residential area about a quarter mile from the Northern State Parkway, police said.
State Police Maj. David Candelaria said the marked patrol car was parked on the parkway facing eastbound when its license plate reader picked up a passing 2010 Honda, which was reported stolen Friday in the Village of Hempstead.
The trooper followed the car, but did not activate any lights or siren and called for backup, Candelaria said.
Police did not immediately provide the identifications of the three occupants, pending family notifications.
Rescue divers pulled one victim from the pond, which was riddled with chunks of ice. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Candelaria said. The two others were pulled from the car and transported to the hospital, where they died, Candelaria said.
The speeds of both vehicles was not known, he said.
After the Honda passed the parked trooper, it exited the Northern State Parkway at Shelter Rock Road heading south until it headed eastbound on I.U. Willets Road, Candelaria said. The trooper followed behind at a “safe distance,” he said.
“It was not a chase,” Candelaria said. “. . . He had to make a felony traffic stop. He didn’t want to do it alone. So he was waiting for backup.”
He said at some point, the driver realized the trooper was following him and “accelerated into the intersection” at Searingtown Road before crashing through a chain-link fence and into the sump pond.
Nassau police’s emergency services unit, along with the Albertson Fire Department, removed the Honda from the water, which Candelaria described as “deep, dark and icy.”
Freeport and Oyster Bay firefighters were also on the scene.
Candelaria said the state police Collision Reconstruction Unit is investigating the crash, including whether icy roads or other conditions may have played a role.
Candelaria said the officer was “within rules and regulations” on how to handle pursuits.