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4 dead in Yaphank crash caused by reckless driver, Suffolk police say

Two vehicles are removed Tuesday, July, 5, 2016,

Two vehicles are removed Tuesday, July, 5, 2016, from the site of a crash on Yaphank-Middle Island Road in Yaphank that killed four people. Credit: James Carbone

A fiery head-on crash on a Yaphank road late Monday night left three people dead — possibly from the same family — as well as the driver of a pickup truck who slammed into them, Suffolk police said.

Two other passengers in the 2014 Nissan Altima sedan, a woman and an 11-month-old boy — possibly mother and son — were pulled from the still-burning wreckage following the 10:46 p.m. crash and taken to area hospitals, police said.

Gustave Geyer, 25, of Ridge, the driver of the 1990 Chevrolet pickup, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The identities of those in the Nissan were not released.

Investigators said police received five 911 calls about the pickup after the crash, including one from a witness who told them the truck drove “in a wild and crazy manner” before the collision.

“Based on the witnesses to this crash and the physical evidence, it appears that the driver of the pickup, Gustave Geyer, caused the accident and he was driving excessive speeds and driving recklessly,” said Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini.

The injured woman, in her 30s or 40s, was treated for life-threatening burns and head injuries at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, police said.

Officials described the infant’s survival as “miraculous” given the extent of the other passengers’ injuries. He was treated at Stony Brook University Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The three people killed in the Nissan included the driver, who appeared to be in his late 30s or early 40s and was possibly the infant’s father, as well as a man and a woman in their 70s, police said.

The driver was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. The two fatally injured passengers were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they believed the driver and the four passengers were related but had not confirmed it Tuesday night.

Geyer, driving over the 40-mph speed limit, was southbound on a stretch of Yaphank-Middle Island Road marked as a “no passing zone,” when he entered the northbound lane after going around another vehicle, police said.

He tried to re-enter the proper lane but lost control and smashed into the northbound Nissan outside the Middle Island Country Club, police said.

Rescuers braved intense heat and flames from the wreckage to pull out the injured woman and the infant, police said.

One of the first responding officers described the scene as “one of the most horrific crashes that he’s seen in his career,” Suffolk Police Chief of Department Stuart Cameron told reporters Tuesday.

“Miraculously when the officers responded, they heard a baby crying amidst all the carnage and miraculously that baby escaped the accident with what’s described as minor injuries,” Cameron said.

Police said Geyer had attended a “gathering” before the crash but did not elaborate.

Geyer’s family could not immediately be reached for comment on police officials’ statements.

His sister, Miriaha, set up a GoFundMe page Tuesday seeking donations for funeral costs.

“My 25 year old brother Gus was in a car accident and didn’t make it,” she wrote on the page. In a separate email, she called her brother “a very kind person” who enjoyed fishing and the beach.

Laura Marshak, who lives on Yaphank-Middle Island Road and witnessed the aftermath of the crash, said the road curves near the accident scene, posing a potential threat to motorists.

“If you don’t know that bend . . . and it starts to rain, it could be very dangerous,” Marshak said.

She said she and her husband saw the mangled vehicles engulfed in flames Monday night — one with its top sheared off, the other also badly damaged.

“My husband ran to get a fire extinguisher and we were trying to put the fire out,” Marshak said, adding that flames from the wreckage leapt 50 feet in the air. ““We thought it was going to blow up.”

A police officer and another man tried to pull people to safety as the Nissan and Chevrolet burned, Marshak said.

“Somebody looked in the window and saw children’s clothing, so they knew there was a baby and they were really desperately trying to get the passenger back seat open because that’s where they assumed the child was,” Marshak said.

Prior accidents on the same stretch of road prompted calls for change long before Monday’s crash.

In 2011, a traffic light was installed at Rustic and Yaphank-Middle Island roads — just south of the crash site — at the request of concerned Yaphank residents and the Longwood school district.

With Gary Dymski and News12


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