A Freeport High School basketball star and an Elmont motorist were both killed Wednesday night in separate crashes just over an hour apart on the Meadowbrook State Parkway, authorities said.
Danyel Saint-Louis, 17, a senior and the school's starting point guard, died after he was struck about 7:14 p.m. by a passing vehicle near the Southern State Parkway exit after losing control of his car and crashing into a center median, according to State Police.
Just over an hour later, a vehicle heading south on the parkway was hit by northbound driver Jake Lonigro, 17, of Merrick, after he lost control between the Babylon Turnpike and Sunrise Highway exits, crossed the center median and continued into oncoming traffic, police said.
Jagdeo Ramdayal, 70, of Elmont, the driver of the southbound vehicle, was killed. Ramdayal’s vehicle struck a third vehicle traveling southbound, police said. A passenger in Ramdayal's vehicle suffered serious injuries and was taken to the hospital, according to police.
Both crashes occurred on a rainy night, although law enforcement did not indicate if weather was a factor.
The first collision occured when Saint-Louis lost control of his vehicle on the northbound parkway, struck the median and came to rest on the right shoulder.
Two vehicles stopped to assist Saint-Louis, with multiple occupants getting out of their vehicles. A fourth vehicle traveling northbound struck two of those pedestrians, one of the parked vehicles and the center median.
Saint-Louis was outside his vehicle when he was struck by a fifth vehicle traveling northbound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Five others were taken to Nassau University Medical Center, with one pedestrian suffering serious injuries.
In a letter to the community Thursday, Freeport School District Superintendent Kishore Kuncham said Saint-Louis was planning a career in nursing and hoping to continue playing basketball in college.
"Danyel will be remembered as someone who was well liked with boundless energy and a positive attitude," Kuncham said.
Freeport varsity basketball coach Larry Steimer said Saint-Louis was a selfless and well-liked teenager who would have likely been All County this season.
"He had really physically built himself up over the summer and was knocking down his shots," Steimer said. "I’m really going to miss him and the opportunity to watch him perform."
The team held a ceremony Thursday in Glacken Park, where Saint-Louis' friends wrote messages on balloons and released them.
"Basketball was his life," said Jonathan Bloom, director of athletics at Freeport. "He was taking part in our preseason workouts and was totally into his game and always trying to improve. He was the one kid who always picked up the other kids to put together a game or a work out."
Both crashes remain under investigation.
With Ted Phillips