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Family of Southern State crash survivor: It's a 'miracle' she survived

A makeshift memorial lies at the base of

A makeshift memorial lies at the base of a lamppost between Exits 29 and 30 on the eastbound Southern State Parkway Thursday near North Massapequa, where four people were killed in a wrong-way collision on Tuesday. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

A Uniondale man whose brother and niece were killed this week after a wrong-way driver on the Southern State Parkway struck their SUV head-on, said it's a "miracle" one relative survived the collision.

Tuesday morning’s crash resulted in four deaths when a 1998 Toyota Camry going the wrong way on the eastbound parkway hit a 2011 Nissan Rogue between Exit 29 and Exit 30 in North Massapequa, New York State Police said.

Jorge Sanchez-Flores’ family is coping with the deaths of his older brother, Ruben Sanchez-Flores, 67, who was driving the Rogue, and Ruben's daughter, Ivis Sanchez-Cordova, 34, who was a passenger. Nadia Sanchez-Cordova, 44, who is Ruben’s other daughter and Jorge’s niece, survived, police said.

"It is a miracle she survived. We are hoping she recovers," Jorge Sanchez-Flores said in Spanish Thursday during a telephone interview. However, he said he feared that she might never walk again.

Nadia Sanchez-Cordova remained at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow Thursday, Jorge Sanchez-Flores said. There she had undergone several surgeries after sustaining major organ damage, including to her lungs and kidneys, her uncle said.

Jorge Sanchez-Flores, 53, said his niece was aware that she had been in a major accident. He considered it a good sign that she did not appear to have sustained serious cognitive damage.

Police said two others were killed in the crash. They include the driver of the Camry, Marvin Balcaseres, 33, of Farmingdale, and, Edith Magana, 56, who was the third passenger in the Rogue.

After the initial collision, according to 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 suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police.

Relatives told Newsday this week that Ruben Sanchez-Flores was driving his daughters and their co-worker to their factory job when the collision happened.

A GoFundMe page was created Wednesday to help the Hempstead family with funeral-related expenses.

The page, which had a goal of raising $20,000, had garnered $12,316 from 244 donors as of Friday evening.

On the page, family matriarch, Nidia Cordova de Sanchez, explains the family’s difficult circumstances and said they would like to send the bodies of those killed to Honduras "since this was always my husband's desire to return to our native country."

State police are investigating the circumstances leading to the deadly collision, including attempting to trace Balcaseres’ route up to where his Camry entered the Southern State. They are also awaiting toxicology results to determine whether drugs or alcohol were factors.

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