Seven killed as car plunges over flyover into zoo

Three generations of a family died in a horrifying crash just a few kilometres from home when the SUV they were travelling in plunged more than 15m off a highway flyover and into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, killing all seven aboard, including three children.

“Sometimes you come upon events that are horrific and this is one of them,” deputy chief Ronald Werner said.

Authorities were trying to determine what caused the accident that killed Jacob Nunez, 85, and Ana Julia Martinez, 81, both from the Dominican Republic, their daughters, Maria Gonzalez, 45, and Maria Nunez, 39, and three grandchildren. Police say Gonzalez was driving, and all the victims were wearing seat belts.

The children were identified as Jocelyn Gonzalez, 10, the daughter of the driver, Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosario, 3, both daughters of Nunez.

“They were a good, wholesome family,” a Bronx neighbour, Felicia Lee, told the Daily News. “The mother always kept an eye on her children. They were typical little girls. They were gorgeous. They were so pretty.”

The accident was the second in the past year where a car fell off the same stretch of the Bronx River Parkway.

The 2004 Honda Pilot was headed south on the parkway when it bounced off the median, crossed three southbound lanes, and hit the curb, causing the vehicle to become airborne, continue over the guardrail, and plunge 18m, police said.

The cause of Sunday’s crash is still unclear, and police haven’t yet said how fast the SUV was travelling. A city official said the guardrail’s height would be one of the safety issues investigated.

The SUV landed in a wooded area on the edge of zoo property that is closed to the public and far from any animal exhibits, zoo spokeswoman Mary Dixon said.


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