MIDDLETOWN, New York (WABC) --Two women and a child were killed when a tractor-trailer struck a car early Wednesday after the sedan ran out of gas on Interstate 84 in Middletown.
The crushed Volkswagen Passat and its three passengers had no chance when the semi truck slammed into them on the darkened highway around 4 a.m. The car ran out of gas in the right driving lane, and the driver had called 911.
"(She) was able to stay on the line with 911 for three minutes when the accident was heard by the 911 operator," New York State Police Captain Brendan Casey said. "The line was cut off."
The wreckage was pushed into the center medium. The two adults in the front seat, a child in the back seat and two dogs lost their lives.
Two of the victims have been identified as 29-year-old Jesenia Valentin, of Bridgeport, and her 9-year-old daughter Angelina Rodriguez. The other victim has not been identified.
Westbound lanes was closed for eight hours as accident investigators worked to recover the victims and interview the truck driver, 52-year-old Gino Ruggiero, who was not injured and who stayed at the scene.
Police have also learned that all three people in the car were moving from Bridgeport to Virginia. But more importantly, police say the crash illustrates how vital it is for drivers and passengers to leave a vehicle that suddenly becomes disabled in the driving lanes.
"I would exit the vehicle and walk over the guard rail into the woods and wait there," Casey said. "That vehicle has a high probability that it's going to get struck."
No charges were immediately filed, and the investigation is ongoing.