Investigation continues into New York crash that killed 5 Connecticut children

Five children from Connecticut were killed when the car they were in hit a tree in Westchester County, NY over the weekend.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 4:09 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:46 PM EDT
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WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY (WGGB/WSHM) - Five children from Connecticut were killed when the car they were in hit a tree in Westchester County, NY over the weekend. Investigators said that the 16-year-old driver did not have a license or learner’s permit.

Investigators believe excessive speeding did not play a role in this accident, but that it was either distracted driving or the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

We have learned the five kids who were killed in the crash had just moved from New York to Derby, CT. The driver was 16-year-old Malik Smith, who did not have his license or permit. Investigators said he was driving on the Hutchinson River Parkway when he veered off the road and crashed into a tree in Scarsdale, NY.

Investigators spoke during a press conference on Monday afternoon where they discussed what they have learned so far about the crash site.

“At the location of this particular incident, the highway just north of Mamaroneck Road, as you go northbound, the road curves slightly to the left and goes slightly downhill. As we have had the investigation team reconstruct the accident, the driver did not turn with the roadway…continued at a straight line and blew into a boulder and then hit a tree head-on and the car was engulfed in flames at that point and the five of the passengers who perished were unable to exit safely,” said Westchester, NY County Executive George Latimer.

The children ranged from 8 years old to 17 years old and involved two sets of siblings. Police say a sixth child, the only survivor, has been identified as nine-year-old Abraham Billips, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Police said he was in the trunk of the car, a Nissan Rogue, and was able to escape out the back of the car.

As far as if there will be penalties for the guardian of the driver, investigators said it is too early to tell.

“The investigation is the investigation of facts that surround that and as those facts are made available, there will be made available to a variety of different entities, the district attorney will have that. There certainly could be criminal pursuit of some of the actions here. Certainly, could be civil pursuit and civil action that might follow this is in one way shape or form or another,” Latimer added.

We also learned that the car was rented by a relative. A toxicology report for the driver is still being conducted to determine if alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash.