KINGS PARK, N.Y. -- A promising young life was cut short in a terrible car crash on Long Island that also injured four other teens.
It happened on the eve of year-end festivities at their high school, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
These were supposed to be celebratory days. Instead, the Kings Park community is in mourning. Graduation and prom are one week away, and tragically missing will be 17-year-old Isabel Carella.
Carella, a high school senior, died Wednesday after leaving school. She was a passenger in a car filled with friends that crashed in Commack.
"I heard this loud 'boom,' you know, crash," said Lawrence Rubin, who heard the impact into his fence on Indian Head Road and witnessed the heartbreaking scene.
Suffolk Police said the 17-year-old driver of a convertible with its top down swerved to avoid a car slowing to make a turn and lost control.
The driver and his two back-seat passengers, all Kings Park High School juniors, were injured. Carella, according to police, was a front-seat passenger and wearing a seatbelt.
No drugs, alcohol or criminality are suspected.
"The preliminary cause of the crash appears to be distraction on the part of the operator of the Mustang, but we have no evidence to indicated speed was a factor at this rime," said Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Michael Crowley.
Heartbroken classmates were offered counseling.
Carella, known as "Issie," was a member of kick line, chorus and theater and had just posted photos from a senior celebration.
"Has a good heart, always does things to keep people happy," said Michael Spinelli, a junior at Kings Park High School. "Everyone's heart is just crushed. It's so sad when I heard the news."
Her smile still beams from her front lawn, where her parents asked for privacy.
She was an elite team competition dancer. Her dance instructor said the team lost a beautiful soul.
"Issie was so special, honestly. Her and her mother have always been the kindest people I've ever met," Sara Jean Haas said.
The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are dubbed the 100 deadliest days because of the tragic spike in teen driving deaths.
"I can't imagine what the parents are going through. I've got two daughters and a son, called them up, told them I love them and be careful," said Greg Papadopoulos, a Commack resident.
Friday was to be a final dance recital for Carella and her classmates. Instead, they will observe a moment of silence with prayers for the other students involved; two are still hospitalized.
The 19-year-old driver of the other car was not seriously hurt. Suffolk Police urge anyone who witnessed the incident or has information or video to contact them.
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