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A tragic crash has claimed four young lives, according to local law enforcement. New York police responded to the car accident in the early morning of Sept.1. Police have blamed excessive speed on the part of the driver for the crash, which is still under investigation by authorities.

Authorities believe the driver, a 19-year-old out of state man, rented the car in his home state in mid-August before driving to New York with three friends, all between the ages of 18 and 20. It is on record the driver had been involved in a previous accident. The car apparently left the road and traveled for nearly 100 yards outside the guard rail before mounting an embankment and striking a bridge abutment.

There was no indication that another vehicle was involved in the crash, nor was there evidence of drugs or alcohol as factors. However, police believe that high speed may have contributed to the accident, and they are also considering the possibility the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel. The families of the passengers, all of whom died in the crash, have been notified by authorities, and memorial services are expected to occur in their respective home states.

This car accident is made all the more poignant by the loss of young life, which is always tragic. However, under New York law, someone must be held culpable for the accident and ensuing loss of life. If investigators determine it was the driver’s negligence that led to the crash, the families of his passengers may be entitled to file wrongful death law suits against his estate. Such a filing would be handled by a New York civil court, with next-of-kin acting as executors.

Source: USA Today, Speed cited in fiery N.Y. car crash that claims 4 lives, Elizabeth Ganga and Greg Shillinglaw, Sept. 1, 2013