The surveillance video shows a car that drove down the avenue like a comet and then went up in flames when it collided with an oncoming sedan and split it in half.
Inside the limo were four 18-year-old men, high school graduates and residents of Yonkers, Westchester County, where the crash occurred late Tuesday. All four died on the scene, Yonker's police officers said. The speeding car driver, a 36-year-old man, was freed from his 2009 Infiniti and taken to a trauma center where he died of his injuries.
Shortly before the crash, police observed the 2009 Infiniti moving erratically around South Broadway and Prospect Street in Yonkers and attempted to stop it on Riverdale Avenue. The driver stopped for a moment, but then immediately accelerated "beyond reckless speeds" down the avenue as he approached the intersection on Culver Street, police said.
At the same time, a silver Nissan occupied by the four young men entered the intersection. The fast moving car collided with the Nissan, "causing catastrophic damage to both vehicles," police said in a statement on Wednesday, adding, "The force of the impact split the Nissan in half."
Police identified the four young men in the Nissan as Brandon Sierra, Randy Brisbane and Tamari Watkins, who graduated from Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers in June, and Anthony Cruz, a graduate of Riverside High School in Yonkers. The Infiniti driver was identified as Devon Haywood of Mount Vernon, New York.
"This unthinkable tragedy, the loss of four young people whose lives lies ahead, breaks our hearts," said Edwin M. Quezada, superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools.
The fast moving driver, Mr. Haywood, had a criminal history. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to drug abuse charges after police found him hiding a bag of cocaine in his sock, according to court records. He was sentenced to one year in Westchester County prison.
Mr Haywood also served time in federal prison after pleading guilty to selling five grams of crack cocaine in 2005, court records show.
After his release in 2011, he was shot eight times while walking out of a store, according to a document filed by his probation officer. "He has almost completely recovered and he still has one bullet in his face and two in his leg," the officer wrote.
The crash stunned Maria Delgado, 74, who lives near the scene. She was on the phone and was about to take out the trash when she heard a deafening noise and went to her window.
"I thought there was a shootout and then I realized it was a crash," she said.
She added, “I was so shocked. I've never seen an accident like this before. I've never seen a car that was so completely split. Oh dear God."
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said the tragic accident was a reminder of the dangers of speeding.
"Four young lives have been shortened by the ruthlessness of one individual," he said in a statement. "Let this be a lesson for anyone who drives at excessive speeds – it not only endangers your life, but the innocent life you share the road with."
Jack Begg contributed to the research.