Relatives of Ruben Sanchez-Flores spoke to Newsday about him and their family's grief on Wednesday. Sanchez-Flores died early Tuesday morning, along with his daughter and a family friend, after a driver heading the wrong way on the eastbound Southern State Parkway crashed into them. Another of Sanchez-Flores' daughters is in critical condition. Credit: Newsday / Reece T. Williams

This story was reported by John Asbury, Matthew Chayes, Matt Clark, Antonio Planas and Dandan Zou. It was written by Planas, Zou and Chayes.

The wrong-way crash that killed four early Tuesday "destroyed" a Hempstead family that must now cope with the loss of a much-beloved and hardworking patriarch as well as one of his daughters.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jorge Sanchez-Flores stood on the staircase of his deceased older brother Ruben's Hempstead apartment and said the large extended family is devastated but has many questions so far unaddressed.

"Our family has — broken heart," he said as he spoke in English and Spanish.

Nadia Sanchez-Cordova, left, was critically injured in a wrong-way crash on the...

Nadia Sanchez-Cordova, left, was critically injured in a wrong-way crash on the Southern State Parkway on Tuesday. Her father, Ruben Sanchez-Flores, was killed, as was her sister, Ivis Sanchez-Cordova. Credit: Jorge Sanchez-Flores

The day before, Ruben Sanchez-Flores, 67, and his daughter, Ivis Sanchez-Cordova, 34, were killed when a Camry being driven west on the eastbound Southern State Parkway in North Massapequa hit their Nissan Rogue head-on, New York State Police said.

Along with his brother and niece, the fiery crash also took the lives of two others: Edith Magana, 56, of Hempstead, who along with Sanchez-Cordova was a passenger in the Rogue as Ruben Sanchez-Flores drove them to their factory jobs, and the driver of the Camry, Marvin Balcaseres, 33, of Farmingdale.

A 10-mile stretch of the parkway near the crash, roughly from Exit 17 to Exit 30, has earned a nightmarish nickname: "Blood Alley" due to numerous sometimes deadly crashes over the years.

In 2012, a Newsday report called the Southern State the deadliest parkway in Nassau County.

"We need answers," Jorge Sanchez-Flores said. "We need to know what’s going on."

A third passenger in the Rogue, Nadia Sanchez-Cordova, 44, also a daughter of Ruben Sanchez-Flores, suffered critical injuries and was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Relatives said she has undergone three surgeries since the crash.

State Police said the collision happened about 5:10 a.m. Tuesday when Balcaseres hit the Rogue between Exits 29 and 30. When troopers arrived at the crash, they found a "chaotic scene," said Acting Troop L Commander Capt. George J. Mohl at a news conference several hours later.

Debris and motor oil from the wreck was spread across the parkway. Smoke from the flames billowed up and drivers did their best to go around the crash before troopers shutdown the eastbound parkway.

After the initial collision, according to the state police, Steven Miller, 50, of Queens, driving a 2011 Suzuki sport utility vehicle, struck Balcaseres' Camry while trying to avoid the crash. He was not hurt. Roberto Mack, 32, of Conyers, Georgia, riding a 2000 Honda motorcycle, also attempted to go around the wreckage but struck debris and lost control. Mack sustained injuries that were not life-threatening, according to State Police.

A woman at Balcaseres’ Farmingdale home Wednesday night said: "The family is grieving right now."

She declined additional comment.

The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation, according to Trooper Daniel Ahlgrim, a State Police spokesman, who said Wednesday afternoon that investigators were awaiting the results of toxicology testing, tracing the route of the wrong-way driver before the crash and analyzing other aspects.

In the interview with Newsday, Jorge Sanchez-Flores, 53, of Uniondale, said the family is from the northern Honduras port city La Ceiba, and his older brother has lived on Long Island for more than three decades.

Ruben Sanchez-Flores worked as a cabbie. When he failed to show up to work Tuesday in West Hempstead, his dispatcher tried calling two or three times.

No one answered.

A fellow cabbie later told the dispatcher, Walter Gomez, what had happened after seeing Sanchez-Flores' name in television news coverage.

Gomez said Sanchez-Flores would usually drive his daughters to their jobs in the morning before reporting to work. At the end of a shift, the cabbie’s send-off was the same: "I will be here tomorrow."

"He’s always taking care of his kids and everything," said Gomez, who worked with Sanchez-Flores at Taxi America on Woodfield Road for at least six years. "He’s always on time. He’s nice, always respected people, always respected the customers."

Fatal wrong-way accidents are rare on Long Island. According to the federal government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System database, a driver traveling the wrong way on a one-way road was listed as a factor in only four of the 2,117 fatal accidents occurring on Long Island between 2009 and 2018, the most recent data available.

Eighty-six of the fatal crashes during the 10-year period were on the Southern State Parkway and none of them listed a wrong-way driver as a factor.

During the 10-year period, an average of 225 people died on Long Island roadways each year, including an average of 10 on the Southern State.

On Wednesday, where relatives of the crash victims gathered outside Ruben Sanchez-Flores' apartment, his niece, Dorcas Cordova-Sanchez, 45, of Hempstead, said her uncle doted on his children.

"He died with one of them," she said, "and I hope the other stays alive."

Ivis Sanchez-Cordova left behind two children, relatives said.

Dorcas Cordova-Sanchez said Nadia Sanchez-Cordova, her hospitalized cousin, has four children.

"She is a person that served God. She cares about people. I hope God can give her another chance."

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