One person was killed and two others seriously injured in a fiery crash Friday morning that sent both vehicles through a fence and into a Coram family's backyard, police and witnesses said.
A passenger in one vehicle, Ramon Genao, 37, of Port Jefferson Station, was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at the hospital following the accident, police said.
Detectives are investigating the cause of the crash that happened about 5:45 a.m. at an intersection with a traffic light. Neither driver has been charged or ticketed.
Gass was driving a white 2012 Ford Focus north on North Ocean Avenue when her car hit Marmol's black 2011 Nissan Rogue heading east on Old Town Road, police said. Genao was a passenger in Marmol's car.
Both vehicles went through a fence and came to a rest in the yard of a home on Harford Drive, police said. The Nissan struck a tree about a dozen feet from the home, overturned and caught fire, while the Ford ended up in a stand of trees nearby, according to police and witnesses.
"I looked up and it was like the DeLorean in that movie 'Back to the Future,' " said Stephen Giannantonio, 42, of Mount Sinai, who was driving to work. "I saw 10 feet of fire."
Joseph Leavens, a Selden fire chief who responded to the scene, described the crash as a "classic T-bone" that was "one of the worst impact collisions I've ever [seen]."
Giannantonio and other civilians, including residents of the house, hosed the flaming vehicle and pulled the men out, they said.
"I heard screeching and when I saw what went down, I got the hose out," said Noah Thomas-Garcia, 17, of Coram, who lives in the Harford Drive house with six siblings, his parents and his uncle.
Suffolk police and rescue personnel from the fire departments of Selden, Coram, Terryville and Farmingville responded, and the victims were taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Thomas-Garcia and his family said they'd asked town authorities to build a guardrail along the corner after three car accidents occurred there in the last five years.
Police were unable to provide data about prior accidents there. A spokeswoman for the Brookhaven traffic safety department declined to comment.
Thomas-Garcia, his uncle and father, along with Giannantonio, helped with Friday's rescue.
Moving injured people from car wrecks can be a tough call, said Eric Niegelberg, assistant director of the emergency department at the Stony Brook hospital.
"You should leave the victim, because movement might aggravate the injury," he said. "But there are caveats: Obviously, if somebody's in the car, and the car's on fire, you have to get them out."