One of the three survivors of a recent fiery car crash near the Van Wyck Expressway, which killed five people including two kids, has been treated and released from Jamaica Hospital, officials said.
Kingsley Maduka returned to his family in the Bronx, while Oby Okoro, the driver in the crash, is in the intensive care unit and her seven-year-old son Cjidechukwu Obioha is in stable condition.
A spokesperson for the hospital told the media that “the family is not speaking at this time.”
According to police, the group of eight was traveling eastbound on Atlantic Avenue in a 2008 black Mercedes Benz SUV near the intersection of the Van Wyck at about 3 a.m. on July 22, when the vehicle struck a concrete barrier. The collision caused the car to flip and roll over, subsequently coming to a rest on its passenger side and igniting in flames.
Firefighters and EMS personnel responded, and, once the fire was extinguished, five victims were pronounced dead at the scene: Munachimso Obioha, 8, Ebube Obafor-Mba, 9, and three adult females.
Okoro, Obioha and Maduka were taken to the hospital.
The group was coming back from a function celebrating Nigerian heritage, according to published reports.
There is no criminal activity suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing, cops said, though it has been reported that Okoro was traveling at a high rate of speed and had blown two red lights. “The mayor’s office and NYPD community affairs unit are helping the family out in any way that we can,” said officer Mark Costa of the 103rd Precinct.
Basdeo Narine, a resident who lives about a mile from the accident and passed by as he was driving his wife to work, said the Mercedes was completely smashed and he saw the five bodies, covered in sheets, laid out near the vehicle.
“It was mind crushing,” he said of the gruesome scene.
Narine said that though he doesn’t consider the intersection dangerous, people do take the turn at the Van Wyck and Atlantic and Archer Avenues at a high rate of speed. “I live here, so I know,” he said. “People can get up to 60 mph from light to light. But if you have kids in the car you are supposed to be cautious.”
In order to avoid such tragedies in the future, Narine said, the area needs a traffic light and a speed bump.
He said he’s not averse to contacting area politicians regarding the matter.
Yvonne Reddick, district manager of Community Board 12, agreed that the intersection is usually safe.
“That’s the first time that I’ve heard of an accident at that location,” Reddick said. “She just lost control. That was a tragedy. My heart goes out to the family.”