Three teenagers died Wednesday night after the car they were riding in on Long Island sprang off the road and crashed into the woods.
An unlicensed 16-year-old driver and one of his passengers were thrown out of a 2009 Infiniti G37 in a horrific crash in Holtsville, according to Suffolk County Police.
Witnesses told police that the car sped up and flipped over multiple times during the 9:45 p.m. wreck.
Cem Gunes, a Holtsville resident, was behind the wheel of his mother’s car and had only a learner’s license, police said.
Gunes and two passengers, 17-year-old Taylor Beltramini of Moriches and 18-year-old Landon Kromhout Auditore of Mastic, were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. No one else was in the car.
Police said it was unlikely that Gunnes and Bertramini were wearing seatbelts as they were ejected from the vehicle. It is unknown whether the Auditore, who remained in the car after the crash, was wearing it.
“Witnesses tried to assist in every way possible,” Suffolk Police said. Darrell Simmons told reporters on Thursday, according to Newsday. “It was a horrible accident and I’m sure they did the best they could.”
Police said Gunes had only a learner’s permit and was not supposed to drive without an adult who was at least 21 and held a driver’s license.
Adriana Barrington, who was Guness’s girlfriend, said she was “speechless” when she collected his belongings, including notebooks and sneakers, at the crash site on Thursday, according to News 12.
“I was supposed to be with him all Christmas vacation, but he’s gone,” she told the station.
Bertramini and Auditore were supposed to graduate in January and June, respectively, school officials told Newsday.
Police are trying to determine exactly how fast they traveled, where they came from and where they went, and what other factors contributed to the crash.
“It sucks. We’re all parents. We have young children who drive,” Simmons was quoted as saying. “This is an absolute tragedy, especially around Christmas.”