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Speed called factor in fatal parkway crash

Left: New York State Police investigate a fatal

Left: New York State Police investigate a fatal single-car crash on the westbound Southern State Parkway in North Merrick. The crash killed 2 people and left 3 critically injured, cops said. (Jan. 27, 2013) Right: Blossom Castro, a 22-year-old victim of the crash, is shown in an undated photo. Credit: Howard Schnapp, Handout

State Police Monday said speed was a factor in Sunday's fatal single-car crash on the Southern State Parkway.

Maj. Patrick Regan, troop commander of the State Police on Long Island, said that while the investigation was continuing, "excessive speed appears to be a significant contributing factor."

The driver, Kervens Boutin, 29, of Hempstead, was charged Sunday with reckless driving, Regan said.

"The investigation will uncover other contributing factors if they exist," he said.

The crash of a 2008 Nissan Maxima carrying five people home from a birthday party in Amityville killed passengers Bryan J. Rivas, 20, and Blossom J. Castro, 22, both of Hempstead, police said.

Boutin and passenger Marlo Cabrera, 19, of the Bronx, remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday. The fourth passenger, Antonio Rivas, 22, of Hempstead, remains in critical condition at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The westbound car ran off the road and into a stand of trees near Exit 23 in North Merrick at about 5:45 a.m. Sunday, police said. The area is on a stretch of the parkway between Exit 17 and Exit 30 dubbed "Blood Alley" by police and automotive safety groups because of its history of fatal crashes. Nearly 40 people have been killed in crashes along that portion in the past six years.

Regan said Sunday's accident, similar to an Oct. 8 crash where four teens died when Joseph Beer, 17, of Queens, lost control going west, "highlights the unforgiving nature of the Southern State Parkway when the rules of the road are not adhered to."

Jason Todeschini, of Ott Lane in North Merrick, said he arrived home from work between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m. Sunday and had just sat down to eat when he heard the crash. When he went outside he saw what he described as a "mangled" car.

Crashes are frequent in the area of the parkway that is just 40 feet from his backyard fence, Todeschini said.

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