OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A crash Tuesday morning on the Southern State Parkway has claimed four lives.
Three of those people were heading to work. A fourth was driving the wrong way and crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.
Drivers were shocked when they saw a car going the wrong way on the parkway and called 911, but before five nearby troopers could respond, the wrong-way driver plowed into oncoming traffic.
It happened at 5:10 a.m., before dawn. One car was burned and mangled beyond recognition after traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes. It struck a red SUV head on.
Three people in the SUV were killed on impact: Driver Ruben Sanchez Flores, 67, Edith Magana, 56, and Ivis Sanchez Cordova, 34.
A third passenger is in critical condition.
They were all from Hempstead, heading to work in Farmingdale.
The wrong-way driver, 33-year-old Marvin Balcaseres of Farmingdale, was killed too.
"It was a chaotic scene," said New York State Police Capt. George Mohl.
Authorities are trying to determine where the driver made the fatal mistake of entering the parkway the wrong way.
"We believe less than one minute. We believe the operator of the Toyota possibly entered the at 30 or 31, both of which are less than a mile for the accident scene," Mohl said.
An autopsy will determine if he was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Surveillance cameras on a North Massapequa office building what appears to be headlights at that time on the wrong side of the divider, driving westbound.
Police say several alarmed drivers called 911, but the victims couldn't avoid impact. A motorcyclist and another driver also crashed but were not seriously hurt.
It's not the first wrong way fatal crash on the Southern State in recent years. Sen. John Brooks says the existing signs are not enough.
"We have to go back to prevent an accident like this today and find out exactly what happened and how we can avoid it. And there may be some entrance ramps or exit ramps on the parkway that we can't fix and we're going to have to close them down. But you lost four people this morning and it could have been a lot worse," Brooks said.
Anyone with any additional information about the crash is asked to call (631) 756-3300.
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