Teen dies in LI crash

Accident took place near high school
April 10, 2008 8:18:04 PM PDT
One teenager was killed in a car accident in West Hempstead, Long Island, Thursday.The incident happened in the 400 block of Nassau Boulevard, near West Hempstead High School.

Police say three students were traveling north in a 2007 Mazda when the driver moved into the southbound land to try and pass a car. Authorities say the driver lost control of the vehicle, sideswiped a telephone pole and crashed into a dumpster full of concrete.

Witnesses say the car was traveling at a high rate of speed.

"They hit this thing at full force," witness Jim Ayala said. "It's almost like there were no brakes involved."

Police say 17-year-old Saul Hernandez Lopez was declared dead at Winthrop University Hospital.

Lopez family was at the scene.

"He was full of life," cousin Claudia Rodriguez said. "His birthday was next week. It's almost surreal. You can't imagine that it's someone so close to you, and he's gone. We had to come and see it for ourselves, to say our last goodbyes."

The driver of the 2007 Mazda sedan, 17-year-old Herbert Martinez, is in critical condition at Nassau University Medical Center. A passenger, 17-year-old Quinntin McDonald, is in critical condition at Winthrop University Hospital.

The crash happened in a 20 mile-per-hour school zone.

"It's just a tragedy," a student said. "It's just horrible."