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Families mourn, search for answers after 3 killed in wrong-way car crash in Queens

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 1/27/2020 By Brittany Kriegstein and Clayton Guse, New York Daily News

A wrong-way driver triggered a two-car crash that killed three people early Saturday, leaving their families reeling from the tragedy and searching for answers.

Megan Ann Smith, 26, was in the passenger’s seat of her boyfriend’s grey 2010 Hyundai sedan as it drove on the Grand Central Parkway near the Cross Island Parkway exit in Queens around 5:40 a.m. Saturday when the wrong-way driver of a 2011 Honda Accord slammed into the car, killing Smith and hospitalizing her boyfriend.

Friends and relatives identified the wrong-way driver as Divante New, 27, who also died in the wreck along with Sayquan Hallums, 36, the car owner who was in the passenger’s seat.

Smith, a 2011 graduate of St. John’s Preparatory School in Astoria, Queens, was described by a former classmate as “artistic” and a “good soul. The Queens native was on the school’s softball team and an honor student.

“I’m kind of shocked because no one ever expects something like this to happen,” said Frankie Sacchettie, 26, who graduated St. John’s with Smith. “She was such a nice girl and didn’t’ deserve to go like that.”

Cops did not release the name of Smith’s boyfriend, who was driving the car and remained hospitalized in critical condition Sunday.

Members of Smith’s family were not willing to comment on the tragedy Sunday, but family members of the two men in the wrong-way car had their own explanations for what went down.

Hallums’ brother Anthony Robinson, 25, said the Honda had an old windshield that fogged up regularly.

“Sayquan could drive it, but anybody who was new to the car, they couldn’t see that well,” Robinson said.

“They had that problem about two weeks ago,” Robinson said of the car’s defogger. “The glass was so old and the heat inside the car would make it foggy.”

Robinson said his brother was a “party guy" who went out dancing with New regularly. The pair went out to a club in Queens before the crash, Robinson said.

Hallums’ leaves behind four children — including a week-old newborn son. New, a construction worker, leaves behind two kids — a 7-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy.

New’s grandmother, Joann Cleaton, 66, said his daughter was still waiting for him to come home Sunday.

“She’s really attached to him,” sad Cleaton. “They’re so close, it’s not sinking in.”

New’s mother Tywana Williams, 47, said her son and Hallums were “like twins” who were inseparable.


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