BY DAVID CRUZ
A Bronx Nigerian family was killed in an SUV crash in Queens last Sunday. The horrific car accident echoes April’s Bronx River Parkway crash that killed a family of seven, including two from the Dominican Republic.
Like the Bronx River crash, eight people had been traveling along the Van Wyck Expressway from a night of fun July 22 when their SUV hurled into a single concrete pillar supporting JFK Airport’s AirTrain, according to police.
The Mercedes SUV flipped, crossed the wesbound side of the Van Wyck, bursting into a fireball.
FDNY Chief Stephen Browne, a 26-year veteran, called the early morning crash the worst accident he had seen in his career.
Victor Lopez, a nearby resident, told the Times Ledger the sound of the loud crash woke him.
“There were bodies all over the place in different positions,” he told the Ledger. “They were thrown out of the car.”
Among the dead are 8-year-old Munachimso Obioha, Ebube Obafor-Mba, 9, Chiwe Mcdonald, 45, and 60-year-old Gladys Nnena Johnson Obioha. Gladys was president of Arondizuogu Daughters Asociation, an outreach group for Nigerians back home. The group’s website posted a commemorative page for Gladys, remembering her as a “beloved president.”
She and the three other victims died at Jamaica Hospital in Queens. Another person also died. Three others, including the driver, were severely injured.
They were coming from a banquet hall hosting a two-day annual convention by the Arondizuogu Patriotic Union National Congress of North America.
The cause of the crash remains a mystery, though published reports said investigators ruled out drinking as the cause for the crash.
It’s unclear how the victims were related. The four lived in a quiet block of Baker Street in the Van Nest/Parkchester border. The family, according to one neighbor, usually kept to themselves.
A man with a light African accent turned away The Bronx Times for a comment as he placed items into an SUV.
“We just want our privacy, thank you,” he said.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383