Pearl River grieves after 2 teens killed in fiery crash

Posted: Updated:

Trains are back running on the Pascack Valley Line and Route 304 is back open after a crash that killed two teens on Sunday, according to Rockland County officials.

Police say the teens were killed and another was seriously injured when a vehicle plunged off an overpass in Pearl River Sunday afternoon.

It happened on Route 304 near the Crooked Hill Road overpass shortly before 3:30 p.m. Orangetown police say they responded to a report of a multivehicle accident.

Police say the accident involved a Volkswagen Jetta and a Porsche Macan.

Video from the scene shows that the Porsche plunged from the overpass and erupted into flames on the New Jersey Transit tracks below.

Orangetown police say two passengers in the Porsche were pronounced dead at the hospital. They have been identified as 17-year-old Altin Nezaj, a senior and varsity football player at Pearl River High School, and 15-year-old Saniha Cekic, of Brooklyn.

The driver of the Porsche, identified as 17-year-old Aisha Radoncic, of Orangeburg, was taken to Westchester Medical Center with serious injuries.

The driver of the Jetta, Jason Castro of Nanuet, was not injured.

Details on the circumstances that led to the crash were not immediately available.

Witnesses rushed in to help, saying they heard screams coming from the vehicle. "She was screaming bloody murder inside there and I kept saying to her, 'I hear you we're going get you out of here,'" says neighbor Joe Geppneoa.

Geppneoa said he heard a loud boom off a curve the people of Pearl River call "Devils Turn." "But this was a different sound. I saw a car upside down with the wheels up and in flames." Geppneoa says he tried to get the people trapped inside, out. "I grabbed the door and ripped it open and I see them in there and the bottom of his leg.

A few other neighborhood heroes tried fighting the flames with household fire extinguishers. "Everybody was in a panic because they saw someone moving in there," says neighbor Frank Barresi.

Firefighters arrived to extinguish the fire and helicopters landed to bring the victims to the hospital.

School was closed for the holiday Monday, but counselors were on hand. The superintendent tells News 12 they will be there all week to help students and staff who are grieving.

Student athletes say most practices were canceled Monday. Instead, teammates came together to mourn the life of Nezaj, who they say always had a smile on his face and was an incredible athlete.

Authorities are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact the Orangeburg Police Detective Bureau at 845-359-2121.

 

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