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5 Connecticut children, ages 8-17, dead after New York crash

Police believe a 16-year-old was behind the wheel when the vehicle crashed. A 9-year-old boy was able to escape the wreckage alive.

SCARSDALE, N.Y. — Five youths were killed Sunday morning when the vehicle they were traveling in veered off the Hutchinson River Parkway in Scarsdale, struck a tree, and caught fire.

Four males and a female, ranging in age from 8 to 17 years old, were killed, according to police. A 16-year-old boy was apparently driving the vehicle.

The crash occurred about 12:20 a.m. when a Nissan Rogue went off the parkway north of the Mamaroneck Road exit. No other vehicles were involved.

A sixth passenger in the vehicle, a 9-year-old boy, was the only survivor. Police said he was apparently riding in the rear cargo area and escaped through the back of the vehicle. He was taken by ambulance to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla with non-life-threatening injuries.

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Westchester County officials identified the children as 16-year-old Malik Smith, 17-year-old Anthony Billips Jr., 12-year-old Zahnyiah Cross, 11-year-old Shawnell Cross and 8-year-old Andrew Billips. 

A GoFundMe page has been created to help support the family with the loss.

According to the Superintendent of Derby Schools, Matthew Conway, the children were not registered at any Derby schools. 

According to Conway, the children's father spoke to the superintendent and said the family recently moved to Derby. 

"Our thoughts go out to the family during this unimaginable tragedy. Our team will be following up with the family to ensure they have the support needed at this time," Superintendent Conway said in a statement.  

“It’s the unimaginable. Having to now make arrangements for five of your children to be buried is a very difficult thing for anyone — one child, never mind five that you’re going to have to now make arrangements for,” Conway said.

The full circumstances of the crash remain under investigation by the Westchester County Police Accident Investigation Team and detectives from the General Investigations Unit.

Doug Stewart is the Senior Digital Content Producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

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