A Sunday car accident left seven family members killed, three of which were children. A 2004 Honda Pilot crossed three lanes of traffic on the Bronx River Parkway before clipping a highway divider on the right and damaging a tire, then plunged more than 50 feet into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo.
Police believe that Maria Gonzalez was to have been driving at a fast speed of 68 mph in a 50 mph zone on the Bronx River Parkway which is often the flow of traffic.
The medical examiner’s office released on Monday that all deaths were accidental. Autopsies showed that all seven family members died from blunt force trauma. Police have said all the occupants in the vehicle were wearing seatbelts.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said, “There’s no evidence to suggest Gonzalez was texting or on the phone. There’s no evidence of a mechanical failure, but the investigation is ongoing.”
The Bronx Zoo accident on Sunday happened when the family was driving to a family party with a set of grandparents visiting from the Dominican Republic.
FDNY’s Howard Sickles said in a statement, “The injuries were quite horrific. In 30 years, I’ve seen something like this once or twice. Everybody was taken aback by it.”
Killed in the Sunday Bronx Zoo accident were Jacob Nunez, 85, and Ana Julia Martinez, 81, both from the Dominican Republic; their daughters, driver Maria Gonzalez, 45, and Maria Nunez, 39; and grandchildren Jocelyn Gonzalez, 10, the daughter of the driver, and Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosario, 3, both daughters of Nunez.
The family has opened a bank account and is asking for donations because the cost of burying everyone at once is more than they can afford. A viewing is scheduled for Thursday.
The accident was the second in the past year where a vehicle has fallen off the same stretch of road and into the Bronx zoo. In June, an SUV hit a divider, bounced across two lanes of traffic and fell 20 feet over a guardrail, landing on a pickup truck in a parking lot. The two people in the SUV were injured.
According to USA Today, the Bronx Zoo accident on Sunday was the deadliest in New York City since the driver of a tour bus returning from a Connecticut casino in March 2011 lost control and slammed into a pole that sheared the bus nearly end to end, killing 14.