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Girl, 17, seriously injured in West Islip crash

A 17-year-old West Babylon girl was seriously injured when the teenage driver of the car she was riding in tried to pass another vehicle stopped for a turn on the right and crashed into a tree, police said Friday.

The accident happened on southbound Higbie Lane in West Islip on Thursday at 6:34 p.m.

Front-seat passenger Gina Westenberger was hospitalized at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center with severe head injuries, Suffolk County police said.

The driver, identified by police as Christopher Koch, 19, of West Babylon, was treated and released. But police said a second passenger, Austin Besemer, 17, was admitted to Good Samaritan with a possible concussion.

Police said the driver of the other vehicle, Gary Salatto, 50, of West Islip, was not injured when Koch struck his car before he crashed into the tree.

Police said Salatto was driving his 2008 Lincoln south on Higbie and had slowed to make a right turn onto North Street when Koch, driving a 2000 Ford, attempted to pass him on the right. The vehicles collided and Koch's Ford veered off the road and struck the tree, police said.

Westenberger had to be extricated from the car by volunteers from the West Islip Fire Department, police said. An update on her condition was not immediately available Friday.

There have been no charges filed in connection with the crash, but police are asking anyone who may have witnessed it to contact Third Squad detectives at 631-854-8352. All calls will remain confidential, police said.

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