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Driver in Meadowbrook crash arrested, charged with manslaughter

On Friday, June 8, 2018, News 12 chopper video shows a fatal crash closed part of southbound Meadowbrook Parkway.  Three people were killed in the crash involving a stolen vehicle driven by a 15-year-old girl, State Police said. Credit: News 12 Long Island; Howard Schnapp

The 15-year-old girl who was the driver in an SUV crash that killed three teens is facing a half-dozen criminal charges, including manslaughter.

State Police arrested the girl Saturday and charged her with three counts of second-degree manslaughter and three counts of criminally negligent homicide. She is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Nassau County Family Court, officials said.

Authorities identified the girl as Cindy Sanchez, who suffered a fractured elbow in the crash. Her 13-year-old brother, David Sanchez, died. Her 18-month-old son was also in the SUV but wasn’t injured.

Her arrest came as another victim’s father reflected on life without his only son.

William Carbajal is struggling with the very thought of staying in his home now that Marlon is gone.

Carbajal spoke of his grief Saturday morning. Marlon, 15, had been in his family’s SUV filled with eight other passengers — seven teens and the toddler — when it overturned on the Meadowbrook State Parkway. His father had reported the 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer stolen.

Carbajal’s loss is so overwhelming that he is already planning to move his wife, their only other child, daughter Gissell Carbajal, 20, and her little girl.

“I can’t continue living here,” said Carbajal, 47, standing on his lawn with his daughter, the sun shining bright. “Whenever I step in the house, I’ll see my son going out of his room, coming out of the dining room. It’s not going to be easy.”

Dozens of loved ones and friends came over to console the Carbajals late Friday. After they left, around 2 or 3 a.m. Saturday, Carbajal went to his bedroom, “sat down for a bit and something came to my mind and I thought, ‘I need to go see Marlon and tell him something.’ I went to his door and it was closed.”

Carbajal’s voice cracked and his eyes started to water.

“Then I realized, ‘He’s not going to be there anymore.’”

Marlon and the two others killed — David Sanchez and Herbert Leo Aviles-Maravilla, 16, — hadn’t been wearing seat belts and were ejected, State Police said. Six other teens and the driver’s 18-month-old son suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.

Gissell Carbajal’s daughter is 18 months old, too.

“I thought, ‘That’s crazy,’ ” she said. “How could you put your own child in that situation? I would never put my daughter into that situation.”

Marlon had mentioned playing video games with David Sanchez, but Carbajal wasn’t familiar with the names of the other teens. The group had been headed to Jones Beach, State Police said.

“I’m thinking about the parents on the other side,” Carbajal said of the Sanchez family. “How are they feeling? I know what I’m feeling. I lost my son. They lost one and now they’re thinking what will happen to the other one. It breaks my heart. It’s a terrible situation.”

Carbajal said he noticed his SUV was missing when he came home from his construction job Thursday afternoon. He said his wife and daughter noticed the vehicle was gone around 11 a.m. Thursday but assumed it was getting repaired.

Carbajal saw Marlon get on the school bus early Thursday and Friday mornings, but he doesn’t know if Marlon was in school all day Thursday.

“The million dollar question is, ‘Did he know about it? Was he involved with it?’ ” Carbajal said of his son.

Carbajal said his son didn’t go out often and was usually at home or nearby, playing video games with friends inside, soccer on his driveway or the lawn or basketball down the street.

“When he was a little boy, he said he wanted to be a professional soccer player,” he said. “He loved to play soccer. He was always kicking the ball around.”

The grief over Marlon’s death enveloped Fraternidad Cristiana in Hempstead, the church he attended most Saturday nights with his mom and dad.

“It’s so unexpected and so terrible,” pastor Osman Peñalba said in Spanish. “There’s so much sorrow because they were so young.”

Peñalba described Marlon as quieter than most teenagers. “He was a good kid.”

The third victim, Herbert Leo Avilés Maravilla, was “very friendly” and popular and dreamed of being a model, said Damaris Aragon, 15, who described herself as a close friend of the boy everyone called Leo.

“He got along well with everyone,” she said in Spanish.

Leo was friends with everyone else in the SUV and the group sometimes hung out together, she said.

Damaris and Leo had a class the final period of every day. She didn’t see him Friday but she didn’t worry because a close friend of his — a girl — wasn’t in school either. They were often together, she said.

“If he had been in school, none of this would have happened,” Damaris said.

The crash occurred shortly before noon Friday in the southbound lanes of the parkway, south of Merrick Road in Freeport. The SUV was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic when it flipped several times, landing in the marsh along the parkway’s west shoulder, State Police said.

The teens injured range in age from 13 to 17 and all live in Uniondale, State Police said.

The Uniondale school district is making grief counselors available at the high school and by telephone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday and when school resumes Monday.

The district, a message on its website said, is “heartbroken over the tragic loss of young lives from our community.”

With Ellen Yan

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