Manhattan, NY – The driver of an overloaded minivan lost control of the vehicle on the Harlem River Drive, and one of 10 people on board, a 14-year-old boy, was killed when it hit a light pole.
The boy who was killed was identified as George Perez, from Manhattan. The driver of the minivan, a 2005 Dodge Caravan, was a 35-year-old woman. She and eight other people — including another adult who was in the front seat, and seven children, from two months to 16 years old — were taken to Harlem Hospital Center, where all were listed in stable condition. The police declined to identify any other of the vehicle’s occupants pending notification of their families, it did not appear that the children were all members of the same family, based on their last names.
What caused the driver to lose control remained unclear. Investigators said the minivan was traveling south on the Harlem River Drive near 180th Street when it swerved with such force that George was thrown partly out a window from one of the rear seats. He was directly in the path of the light pole when the crash occurred, and was declared dead at the scene, investigators said. Police did not know whether George had been wearing a seat belt.
Police said that the driver was cited for driving without a license and for operating an overloaded vehicle under a state law that forbids having more occupants than seat belts in a moving vehicle, the Dodge Caravan, is designed with seats for no more than seven occupants. [NY Times]