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After Another Deadly Crash, State Agrees To Study Highway Safety On Southern State Parkway

TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Police have identified the victims of a deadly crash on the Southern State Parkway.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, it's the latest in a string of tragedies. Now, the state has committed to a new study to make the highway safer.

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving near exit 21 in Hempstead.

Police said 19-year-old Herson Gonzalez was driving a Honda Pilot with five passengers inside when it sideswiped a Toyota Corolla. The Honda then crossed over the guardrail and hit an overpass.

Two passengers died at the scene. They were identified Friday as 23-year-old Patricia Ramkissoon, of Bay Shore, and 23-year-old Elliott Bryant, of Brooklyn.

Two other passengers were hospitalized with serious injuries. Gonzalez and a fifth passenger were also taken to the hospital for evaluation.

The people in the Toyota were not hurt.


The stretch, dubbed "Blood Alley," had more than four dozen fatal crashes since 2014.

"Too many families have gone to too many funerals or sat in too many hospital rooms, because of the poor design on that road," Sen. Todd Kaminsky told Gusoff.

Kaminsky has long pushed for a safety review on the deadly corridor that was designed to curve around existing communities back in the 1920s. He says it's not suited for traffic nowadays.

In September, four people died when a man drove the wrong way into oncoming traffic.

In 2018, a bus filled with high school students slammed full speed into an overpass, despite signs that prohibit trucks and buses.

Now, the state Department of Transportation has agreed to not only look at entrance and exit ramps and signage, but also the road design itself.

The commissioner said the department is "examining the parkway's mainline for possible alterations and enhancements between Eagle Avenue and Wantagh State Parkway."

"There are just many curves, many tricky parts of that road. [It's] heavily trafficked and full of accidents, and it would be malpractice for the state not to take a look at one of its own roads," said Kaminsky.

Some scoff at the price of trying to straighten an outdated highway.

"Other states like Florida have done a paid fast lane, so that people, if they want to go quicker, almost like a HOV lane, they can pay to be on that lane, and that funds the construction of it," New York State Assembly member Michaelle Solages said.

The studies, expected to be complete at the end of 2021, should offer a blue print to lifesaving fixes.

The crash remains under investigation. Police ask anyone with information to call (631) 756-3300.

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