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Three boys hit by car in predawn crash in Lindenhurst; police investigate

Three boys, two brothers and a cousin, were struck by a car on Sunrise Highway as they walked to a nearby convenience store just before 4 a.m. in Lindenhurst Wednesday, Suffolk County police said.  Credit: James Carbone

Suffolk County police are investigating a predawn crash Wednesday that left three boys seriously injured after they were hit by a car while attempting to cross Sunrise Highway in Lindenhurst. 

Jose L. Lopez, 13, of Copiague was in critical condition at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, Commissioner Geraldine Hart said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference at Suffolk police headquarters in Yaphank.

His brother, Jose E. Lopez, 9, was in serious condition at Good Samaritan and their cousin, Luis Tejada, 12, of West Babylon, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

“The thoughts and prayers of this department go out to the families, and to the speedy recovery of the boys,” Hart said. 

The three boys were struck just before 4 a.m., Hart said, after they left the Lopez home on 32nd Street in Copiague and were walking to a nearby 7-Eleven.

She said police are investigating if there had been previous problems at the home but adults living there did not know the boys had left the home early Wednesday. 

“To our knowledge, they left to go to 7-Eleven on their own,” the commissioner said. “A 16-year-old sister realized they had gone and followed after them. She actually witnessed the accident.”

Police did not release the name of the sister. 

Ryan Arthur, 20, of West Babylon, was driving a 1998 Dodge Stratus in the right lane of westbound Sunrise Highway when the sedan struck the boys as they crossed the roadway at Straight Path, Hart said. Arthur, who was on his way to his job at UPS, is not facing criminal charges, she said. 

Arthur had the right of way, police said, and the boys were walking against the light. 

“He immediately stopped,” Hart said of Arthur. “There is no indication drugs or alcohol played a role. His vehicle was impounded for a safety check.” 

The New York State Department of Transportation reported that Sunrise Highway was closed in both directions between North Wellwood Avenue and Great Neck Road following the crash, but it was reopened by midmorning.

With Joan Gralla

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