Just before Thursday's double-fatal car crash in Central Islip, five young people cruised around for hours while drinking alcoholic beverages in the car, Suffolk police said Friday.
Investigators don't know where the group got the alcohol. Their cruising ended when an allegedly drunken Centereach teenager at the wheel lost control, careened into two pine trees, killed two of the passengers, and injured herself and two others, said Suffolk Police Det. Sgt. William Rand.
Police charged the driver, Taylor Nolte, 19, with driving while intoxicated. She is still at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, and unlikely to be arraigned before Monday, said Rand, a supervisor of Suffolk's Bay Shore-based Third Squad detectives.
The surviving two passengers are also at Southside, one with internal injuries, another with a head injury, Rand said. Neither has been publicly identified by police.
Investigators were awaiting the results of a Nolte blood sample to determine how intoxicated she was, police said.
Kenyen Gaskins, 23, of Central Islip, and Kelly Mallazzo, 18, of Hauppauge died in the 4:45 a.m. crash on Wilson Boulevard.
Nolte was just about to drop Gaskins off at his home nearby, police said.
Officers reported smelling alcohol on Nolte's breath and finding remnants of an alcoholic beverage in her car. Investigators said a survivor told them that the group had been drinking in the car.
Shortly before the crash, Gaskins called his mother's fiance, Charles McCall.
McCall, who introduced himself Friday as Gaskins' stepfather, said they spoke for a few minutes, but that Gaskins didn't say where he had been that night.
"Next thing I know, I get a call at work," said McCall, a jail maintenance worker. "Now we have to go through burying a guy at 23 years old."
McCall said the family continued to search for answers. Funeral services have not been scheduled.
A person at the door of Mallazzo's home declined to comment.
Jennifer Grabowski said she worked with Mallazzo at Arbors Nursing Home in Islandia and went to high school with Gaskins. She remembered Mallazzo for her kindness and good humor.
"She was just a really happy, funny girl," Grabowski said.
And she described Gaskins as a "shoulder" to lean on with any problems.
"He really was a good person," Grabowski said. "It's just sad."