Medical issue investigated in fatal Halloween crash in NYC

Posted at 8:47 AM, Nov 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-02 09:47:12-05

NEW YORK (AP) — As investigators look into whether a medical problem may have caused a motorist to plow into a group of trick-or-treaters, killing a 10-year-old girl and two others, mourners remembered the victims.

"I had a lot of dreams for Nyanna. I had so many plans for her," Natalia Perez said the day after her daughter, Nyanna Aquil, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Nyanna's 3-year-old sister also was hospitalized.

Perez's 65-year-old father, Louis Perez, suffered severe head trauma and died at the scene Saturday night when the car jumped a curb in the Bronx, leaving behind mangled bodies and bloodied costumes as neighbors ran to help.

Another man, 24-year-old Kristian Leka, also was killed. His 9-year-old sister and a 21-year-old female friend were injured but not critically.

As a crowd gathered for a candlelight vigil on Sunday night, police were examining whether the 52-year-old driver may have suffered a medical emergency such as a seizure. A preliminary investigation showed the car was not speeding at the time of the crash, and no drugs or alcohol were found in his system, police said.

The black Dodge Charger plowed into the pedestrians on a sidewalk and then smashed through a fence in front of a home, police said. The driver was taken to the hospital in stable condition. No charges had been announced as of Sunday night, police said.

Witnesses described hearing a loud boom, followed by screaming and crying, then seeing a trail of mangled bodies in crumpled, bloodied costumes.

"I saw a torso on the sidewalk. I didn't know if it was a Halloween dummy or a real person," neighbor Fabio Cotza told the New York Post. "I just grabbed a whole bunch of towels and ran outside."