Bishnu Dinanauth's father said he and his family intended to...

Bishnu Dinanauth's father said he and his family intended to have a cookout for his son, pictured here, who was killed in a car crash in July 2011. Credit: Handout

What started out as a small gathering at Heckscher State Park in honor of a Queens man who was killed last year in a car crash swelled into a swarm of thousands that shut the park down on Sunday.

Five members of Island Import, which publicizes "meet ups" and forums on social networking sites with like-minded car enthusiasts, sent notes out about the get-together for Bishnu Dinanauth to friends that exploded into thousands of cars converging on the East Islip park, said Peter Miguel, 23, one of five founders of the group.

"To be honest with you, I'm still in shock. I wasn't expecting that many people to show up," said Miguel, of Centereach, who is a used-car salesman. "There was nothing illegal. We just wanted to go into the park, take pictures and meet new people, get ideas and have a good day and honoring Bishnu. His birthday was [March] 17th."

Dinanauth, 25, of Woodhaven, was killed July 11, when his white 1998 Nissan 240X collided with another car on the Southern State Parkway. Well known in the motor sports circuit, Dinanauth was driving to a gathering when the crash occurred, Miguel said.

Ramchand Dinanauth, Bishnu's father, said he traveled to the park with his wife, daughters and a couple of neighbors from his Woodhaven neighborhood after the group invited them.

"He was a great guy," Dinanauth, 58, said of his son. "People came all the way from Boston, Philadelphia, from New Jersey, from Connecticut, from North Carolina. All these people came just from their love. It was just to show their love for him."

But when 5,000 cars entered the park en masse, police shut it down for five hours, park officials said.

George Gorman, deputy regional director of the state parks department on Long Island, said the group did not have a permit to gather and there is no record on file that they ever applied for one. He said such huge events require a permit.

Miguel said the group tried to obtain a permit but was told by parks officials it couldn't get one until the park opened for the season.

"This one was special, it was for Bishnu. We went on the forums and people came from Virginia, Massachusetts and all over," Miguel said.

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