Mother Holding Daughter, 3, Killed in Chain Reaction Wreck on Long Island; 1 Man Dead

The little girl was taken to a hospital in critical condition

A woman holding her 3-year-old daughter was killed during a chain-reaction wreck that snarled traffic on a Long Island parkway for hours early Wednesday, authorities said. 

The little girl is in critical condition. 

New York state police say the five-car crash also killed a passenger in the other car who got out after an initial crash on the Wantagh State Parkway. 

Police say the chain-reaction crash began when a Nissan Murano driven by 33-year-old Reina Olivera rear-ended a Honda CRV in the left lane of the highway around 11 p.m. Tuesday. 

Olivera got out of the vehicle while holding her daughter and was exchanging insurance information with 61-year-old Nicholas Ramirez, a passenger of the Honda, when a second set of vehicles crashed and one car came hurtling towards them. 

Authorities said that a Toyota Corolla slowed down as it passed the first crash site and was struck from behind by a Honda Accord. The Accord then slammed into Olivera, the child and Ramirez, sending Ramirez flying into the opposite lane of travel, where he was again hit by a Jeep Wrangler. 

Ramirez was pronounced dead at the scene, and Olivera died after being taken to Nassau University Medical Center. 

The driver of the Jeep was taken to the hospital for cuts to his face, but none of the other drivers or passengers involved were hurt. 

Residents of a nearby neighborhood said they heard the crunch of the collision. The front of two SUVs were smashed, as was the back of a sedan, video shows. 

Drivers in the area wondered if speed contributed to the crash. 

"Always going too fast -- especially people flying over here," one female driver said. "There's no traffic on the Wantagh Parkway at night." 

Vehicles heading south were forced to turn around to avoid the accident scene. Many drove up on the berm of the roadway, leading to an off-road, wrong-way traffic jam five-lanes thick. 

The crash closed all southbound lanes of the Wantagh State Parkway between exit W3E-Hempstead Turnpike and exit W4W-Southern State Parkway for much of the night. One northbound lane was also closed. 

All lanes were cleared shortly before 4 a.m.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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