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Neighbors mourn 3 killed in SUV crash

Neighbors of three generations of a Manhattan family killed after their sport utility vehicle flipped over on a North Carolina highway mourned the loss Sunday.

Rosanny Marte, 22, her mother, Angela, 46, and grandmother Rosa, 71, died Saturday afternoon after their Ford Expedition blew a tire and flipped several times. They were on their way home from a family vacation at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., authorities said.

Rosanny Marte, who was at the wheel and was driving at about 85 mph, had been swerving on the stretch of Interstate 95 near Wilson, N.C., and lost control of the SUV, according to authorities and witness who spoke to local media.

Angela and Rosa Marte, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the vehicle, said Trooper G.G. Barnes of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Five others in the SUV who wore their seat belts were hospitalized with minor injuries and are expected to survive, authorities said.

The injured were the husbands of Angela and Rosa Marte, Angela Marte's two other children and nephew, authorities said.

News Sunday of the three women's deaths shocked residents of Washington Heights, where the tight-knit family lived and attended a Jehovah's Witness church.

"I went pale. I was very nauseous. I wanted to vomit," neighbor John Mazo told reporters after viewing horrific images of the crash on the news.

Another family friend, Raphael Espaillat, broke down in tears and said, "This is a nightmare to this family," according to WNBC/4.

Espaillat called the Martes "very united" and "very spiritual."

A motorist at the crash scene told the Wilson Times newspaper he helped two survivors to safety.

"It was a blowout," Lawrence Solomon, 29, of Rocky Mount, N.C., told the paper. "Every time it would turn over, it would throw someone else out."

With AP

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