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Church Van Crash Kills Six on NY Highway


"It was a tragic, tragic scene."

(AP) — A passenger van carrying members of a church flipped over on the New York State Thruway on Saturday, killing at least six people and injuring eight others, authorities said.

Fourteen people were in the van when it crashed on the northbound side of Interstate 87 in Woodbury, about 55 miles north of New York City, at about 3 p.m., state police and the Thruway Authority said. It appeared to be a single-vehicle crash.

"It was a tragic, tragic scene," said state police Troop T commander Major Robert Meyers.

He said the right rear tire blew out on the 1997 van, and the vehicle went into a rumble strip and rolled over into the grassy median separating the north and southbound lanes. Some of the passengers were ejected, and the van came to a rest upside-down.

Six of the passengers were dead at the scene. Four were flown to a hospital, while four others were taken by ambulance.

It appeared that they were traveling on a church-related event when the crash occurred, Meyers said.

The injured were taken to either Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern or Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Meyers said he could not release the passengers' identities because their relatives had not been notified. He said the van was registered to a church in lower Westchester County. He also declined to identify the church pending notification of families. The driver survived and was being interviewed, he said.

Deborah Marshall, a spokeswoman for Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, said four women were admitted there. One was in critical but stable condition, while another was in critical but unstable condition, Marshall said. That patient was transported to Jacobi Medical Center in New York City. Two other patients were being assessed.

A spokesman at Westchester Medical Center said he could not immediately provide information on the patients' conditions.

Northbound traffic was expected to move slowly through the area Saturday night with the left lane blocked, the Thruway Authority said.

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