Three teenaged passengers from Staten Island were killed when an SUV carrying seven people crashed into a guardrail at Garden State Parkway milepost 112.6 in Middletown early July 4 morning, police said. According to police, the victims were Chrystoph Iliopoulos, 13, Eric Colligan, 15 and Hlias Iliopoulos, 18.
Injured in the crash were the driver, Dimitrios Iliopoulos, 54, Stavroula Iliopoulos, 51, Fotiny Iliopoulos, 20, and Vincent Whiteaker, 25, all residents of Staten Island, according to state police.
The roadway remained closed for more than four hours during the emergency response and investigation, reopening at about 9:45 a.m.
The accident happened at 5:08 a.m., according to Trooper Edward Perrine at Holmdel Troop D barracks. The three confirmed fatalities included two male teenagers and one male over 18, according to state police, who said they were among five passengers ejected from the vehicle.
According to state police public information officer Trooper Julian Castellanos, the driver of a 2003 Gray Ford Expedition containing seven passengers "lost directional control of the vehicle" and drifted to the right, striking and tearing through some 30 yards of guardrail.
The vehicle overturned at least twice, said Castellanos.
During this time five — two female and three male — of the vehicle's seven occupants were ejected onto the center median and the northbound local lanes. The driver and right front passenger, two males, were not ejected, he said.
Heavy fog prevented the use of medevac helicopters. Victims were transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, said Perrine. A hospital spokesperson there would not comment on patient condition until police release their identities.
Northbound traffic in local lanes was diverted off Exit 105 in Eatontown onto local lanes. In the Express lanes, the traffic was diverted from Asbury Park.
Holmdel First Aid and Holmdel Fire Company No. 2 were on the scene minutes after the call came in, according to squad President Michael Nikolis, with all four ambulances and a rescue truck.
Holmdel First Aid treated and transported two patients to the hospital, and another victim was transported by Lincroft First Aid, said Nikolis. Also responding was Middletown Fire and First Aid and MONOC ALS.
Anyone who witnessed the accident is urged to call Trooper Dennis O'Dea at the State Police Detective Bureau, at 732-441-4500, extension 7425.