Three family members were killed and five were injured Monday night when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a car on the New York State Thruway and sent it barreling into another vehicle, police said.
The tragic accident happened just after 8:30 p.m. in the Town of Ulster when 61-year-old Luc Leblanc, of Sala derry-de-val, Quebec, slammed into the back of a 2012 Honda Accord on the highway’s southbound side, police said.
Traffic had stopped in the right lane, near mile marker 88.3, but Leblanc couldn’t stop his 2010 Volvo tractor-trailer in time and “caused extensive damage” to the Honda, pushing it for roughly 500 feet, according to cops.
The Honda then struck a 2007 Kia Sedona minivan, which was forced from the road, police said.
The three family members in the back seat of the sedan — 10-year-old Justin Gayapersad, 47-year-old Zulika Salim and 14-year-old Chelsea Gayapersad — died at the scene, State Police said.
The driver of the Honda, 24-year-old Neta Singh and the 18-year-old front-seat passenger, Saleena Singh, were taken to area hospitals for minor injuries, cops said.
Three people in the Kia — Sangeeta Singh, 27, Saleema Salim, 45, and Ramnarine Singh, 48 — were hospitalized as well.
The 48-year-old was airlifted for serious injuries while the other two suffered only minor injuries police said.
The driver of the Kia was uninjured.
Leblanc, who was also not injured, has not been charged in the crash and accident investigation remained ongoing Tuesday.
“This is so hard to believe,” Tiffany Destiny Salim wrote on Facebook.
“I have lost a wonderful aunt and my loving cousins I never thought it will be so early to say goodbye can’t Believe that my auntie zulika and your two kids is not longer here my sincere condolences to the entire family,” she wrote in another post.
“This is so hard to accept, small loving family and three beautiful souls. Rest In Peace.”