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The Guyanese families of four Queens, New York teenagers were plunged into mourning on Monday when the car in which the 18-year-olds were passengers ran off a stretch of a Long Island highway, slammed into a tree and split in two, killing them instantly.
The driver of the vehicle, Joseph Beer, was the sole survivor of the horrendous wreck and was treated at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, Long Island, according to New York State Police officials.
Seventeen-year-old Beer, whose parents are from Guyana, was driving with only a learner’s permit at the time of the deadly smash.
The New York Daily News, quoting State Police officials, reported that Beer lost control of the 2012 Subaru Impreza after he “failed to negotiate a curve”.
The teenager had reportedly been given the car by his parents as a reward for graduating early from Richmond Hill High School and enrolling at St John’s University.
The crash claimed the lives of Peter Anthony, Chris Khan, Neil Rajaba and Darian Ramnarine, all 18, and all pronounced dead at the site of the mangled wreckage.
Police said Beer and his friends were heading westbound around 3:40 a.m. on the parkway when the Subaru roared off the highway in Malverne, Long Island.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Beer should not have been at the wheel in the first place, given that drivers with learner permits are prohibited from driving unless accompanied by a supervising driver, age 21 or older, who has a valid license.
Dozens of students subsequently made a pilgrimage to the site of the tragedy, where mourners lit candles, left bouquets of flowers and shed tears for their lost friends.