New Jersey

NY Crash That Killed 3 Generations Leaves Girl Hospitalized

The family was on a Memorial Day weekend road trip to Niagara Falls when their car was hit

What to Know

  • Three members of a New Jersey family, including a 4-year-old, were killed in a crash in upstate New York
  • The family was on a road trip to Niagara Falls when an alleged drunken driver blew a stop sign and hit their SUV, police say
  • The pickup driver, Richard Sawicki, 20, was arrested on aggravated vehicular homicide, DWI and reckless driving charges

Authorities say the holiday-weekend crash that killed a 4-year-old girl, her mother and grandmother in western New York has left another young family member hospitalized in critical condition.

Three family members -- including a 4-year-old girl -- were all killed when their vehicle was T-boned by a drunk driver while on a Memorial Day weekend trip to Niagara Falls. 

Police said Friday the family remained in the area because a 4-year-old female cousin of the dead girl remained in intensive care. Her twin sister had been discharged from the hospital, cops said, along with other family members.

little girl killed sheldon
Robinson Hernandez
Kiara Hernandez was killed in a Sunday crash in upstate New York.

Four-year-old Kiara Hernandez, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, was killed in the crash in upstate New York on Sunday morning, according to her father. Her mother, identified by police as 32-year-old Mayelin Brito-Castro; and grandmother, 47-year-old Ondina Castro De La Cruz, were also killed. 

Six other people, ranging in age from 4 years old to 55, were also hurt in the crash at Route 20A and Maxon Road in Sheldon, a small town about 30 miles southeast of Buffalo. 

Investigators say the family of nine was heading west on Route 20A when their Kia Sedona minivan was T-boned by a Dodge Ram driven by 20-year-old Richard Sawicki of Lackawanna, New York. Authorities say that Sawicki's truck had blown through a stop sign just before the wreck. Police say his father is a Lackawanna Police Officer.

Photos: 3 Members of Same New Jersey Family Killed by Drunken Driver, Cops Say

Authorities say that not everyone in the Sedona -- which was only intended to seat seven people -- was wearing a seatbelt and none of the three 4-year olds onboard had car seats. De La Cruz and Brito-Castro were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene; Hernandez had head injuries and died at a hospital. 

"Anytime a child is involved - and in this case, we had five - it pulls at you," Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory Rudolph told The Daily News of Batavia. "It's a tragedy."

Sawicki, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital and was later released. He's now facing vehicular homicide, DWI and reckless driving charges. 

mug shot wyoming
Wyoming County Sheriff's Office
Richard Sawicki, 20, was arrested on aggravated vehicular homicide, DWI and reckless driving charges.

Sawicki is being held in lieu of $200,000 bond. Messages were left at his lawyer's office and possible phone numbers for his Lackawanna home. Sawicki is due back in court June 10.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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