TOTTENVILLE, Staten Island (WABC) -- Three teenagers in a red Ford Mustang were killed when their car collided with a turning SUV on Staten Island Sunday night.
It happened on Hylan Boulevard at Richard Avenue in Tottenville at 8:45 p.m. Sunday, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams visited the scene overnight as the investigation unfolded.
"It's heartbreaking whenever we lose someone in a crash, but it's especially tragic when it's young lives lost," Adams said Monday morning. "I was on the scene last night, and the pain was palpable. My heart goes out to the families."
The 16-year-old Mustang driver was the only occupant of the vehicle to survive the crash.
His three passengers -- identified as 16-year-old Fernanda Gil, 15-year-old Jesie Gil and 15-year-old Ashley Rodriguez -- were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Mustang was westbound on Hylan Boulevard when it collided with an eastbound black 2017 GMC Yukon making a left turn onto Richard Avenue.
The force of the collision split the Mustang in half, and two of the victims were ejected.
School bus driver Nelson Mendez said he will never forget what he witnessed.
"I heard a loud boom," he said. "I ran out. There was a body in the middle of the divider, a body on this side of Hyland Boulevard behind my neighbor's backyard, and two other kids were stuck in the other half of the Mustang."
The driver of the Mustang was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
As many as four people were in the SUV. All are expected to survive.
The 47-year-old driver was taken into custody for driving with a suspended license and is now facing charges.
Mourners brought flowers, candles and broken hearts Monday night on Hylan Boulevard.
The NYPD Highway Patrol is now investigating the crash, though authorities say there is little doubt that speeding was a factor.
DOT Commissioner Yydanis Rodriguez said it appeared the Mustang was speeding and also that some of the occupants were not wearing seat belts.
Neighbors tell Eyewitness News the city recently dropped the speed limit in this area from 45 to 30.
Now, they are hoping for more changes.
"There's been cops here before, trying to stop it, but once they remove everything, they start again," area resident Nelson Mendez said. "So let's see what happens with this. Maybe they'll post a light."
Rodriguez said the DOT will be removing a travel lane and adding left turn lanes and a bike lane to Hylan Boulevard in the area in an effort to make it safer.
New York state law prohibits teen drivers from riding with more than one person under the age of 21.
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