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John Cowans Jr. identified as passenger killed in taxicab crash, police say

Rescuers at scene of a one-car crash Sunday,

Rescuers at scene of a one-car crash Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Holtsville. Suffolk County police said a taxicab overturned. The crash Nichols Road in both directions, police said. Photo Credit: Christopher Sabella

Police have identified the taxicab passenger killed in a two-car crash Sunday in Holtsville as John Cowans Jr., 55, of Huntington Station.

Suffolk County police identified the taxi driver as Robert Woodland, 31, of East Setauket. The driver of the Jeep involved in the collision with the cab on Nicolls Road also was identified Monday. Police said the driver was Julie Benischek, 49, of Levittown.

Police said the taxi and a 2014 Jeep were traveling south on Nicolls alongside each other when they collided near Express Drive South. Both vehicles then "drove off the road and into the center median," authorities said, the cab overturning -- and ejecting the passenger, Cowans.

Cowans was brought to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he died.

The crash occurred near Portion Road just before noon.

Police said the cab driver also was taken to the Stony Brook hospital, where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

The driver of the Jeep was not injured, police said.

Both vehicles were impounded for safety checks.

With John Asbury and Laura Figueroa

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