A 911 operator at the Middletown state police barracks heard the caller say she had run out of gas on Interstate 84, but was unsure about her exact location.
It was 3:40 a.m. and the woman talked for about three minutes. Suddenly, the operator heard a loud crashing noise. The caller was no longer on the line.
A minute later, the 911 operator got another call. This caller said that a tractor-trailer had just veered off the road.
When troopers arrived at the scene in the town of Wawayanda Wednesday morning, they quickly learned that the car that had run out of gas, a 2006 Volkswagen Passat, had stopped in a driving lane and been rammed by a tractor-trailer.
The driver, Jesenia Valentin, 29, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and her 9-year-old daughter Angelina Rodriguez, who was in the back seat, died in the crash, police said. An adult female passenger, whom police haven't identified, was also killed, as were two dogs.
Investigators said the rig, operated by Gino Ruggiero, 52, of Sugar Loaf, Pennsylvania, was traveling west on I-84 when it hit the car. He wasn't injured, but was distraught, troopers said.
"This tragedy illustrates how dangerous it is to leave your vehicle disabled in the driving lanes of any roadway," said state police Capt. Brendan Casey.
The westbound lanes were closed for about eight hours.