Three Asian women were killed shortly after leaving a Sweet 16 birthday party in Long Island by an alleged drunken driver.
Dante Lennon, the 22-year-old driver of a 2012 Mercedes-Benz, smashed into a 2010 Lincoln Town car with six people inside at around 11:10 p.m. at New Hyde Park on Saturday.
“Right away, I just see a Mercedes-Benz coming through, crashing into an Uber driver that was turning,” a witness who works at the nearby Table 7 restaurant told CBS News. “It looked like a T-bone, a little bit, and it was devastating.”
According to police, first responders declared the three female passengers in the back of the town car dead at the scene.
Among the victims was 66-year-old Marlene Lu, the mother of the party’s host and the grandmother of the birthday girl. The two other passengers killed were the host’s aunt, 68-year-old Ho Hua, and the host’s cousin, 41-year-old Tu Nguyen.
The surviving passengers were rushed to a nearby hospital. A 73-year-old man suffered from neck and back pain and was treated before he was released. A 67-year-old man suffered from shoulder injuries and a fractured clavicle, and a 42-year-old man suffered from fractured ribs. The men are currently in stable condition, according to the Nassau County Police Department.
Lennon, a Freeport, Long Island, resident, was charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. He was also taken to a hospital for the non-life-threatening injuries he sustained in the crash. Lennon is set to appear in court once he is medically able to do so, according to the police.
“One accident is too many, and one life is way too many,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, according to ABC7. “We are going to start an initiative here in the police department about taking back our roads, writing more summons, doing more interactions, more DWIs, roadblocks, if that’s what it’s going to take.”
“You see people get killed immediately; You were just with them five minutes before,” witness Michael McCutchei told ABC7. “You know, it’s kind of sad. They’re going home thinking they had a great night for their Sweet 16, their granddaughter. It’s a nightmare.”