Two teenage students inside a driver's education vehicle were killed when a tractor-trailer T-boned the car as it went through a blinking red traffic light at an intersection in Orange County Tuesday morning, an official said.
The students, both 16, were sitting in the back seat of the privately owned driver's ed car along with a third teenage student, all boys, according to Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton. A 16-year-old girl was driving, and an adult instructor was sitting next to her in the front.
The teens who died were remembered as “well-respected and well-liked,” a school district official said. They were killed, and the three others in the car injured, at a controversial county road intersection where a stoplight flashed red for one direction and yellow for another.
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The driver's ed car approached the intersection of County Road 1 and Blooms Corner Road around the same time as a tractor-trailer truck, and the truck had a blinking yellow light, giving it the right of way.
The car stopped at the blinking red light, then suddenly went into the intersection as the truck was already proceeding through it, according to Sweeton, citing the truck driver's account of the crash.
The truck driver couldn't stop in time and T-boned the side rear of the car, Sweeton said, killing two of the students sitting in the back seat, identified by school district officials as Antonio Baglivo and Paul VanDoran. The third teen in the back seat, Lucas O'Connor, and the girl who was driving, Claudia Krebs, were airlifted to Westchester Medical Center where they were listed in critical condition.
The instructor was hospitalized at Orange Regional Medical Center; the tractor-trailer driver was taken to a hospital in Warwick.
The intersection is a county road. Sweeton said the town has made multiple requests in the last few years to change the light from a blinking intersection to a full functional light because it has been a "difficult intersection."
Goshen School Superintendent Daniele Connor said all four teens in the car were students at the district high school, which contracts with Decat Driving School in Middletown to provide driver's training to students over the summer. One of the boys who died was going into his senior year; the other would have been a junior this fall.
"This is a tough one,'' Connor said. "Both were outstanding young men, great students, fun to have in class, well-respected and well-liked."
The high school gym will be open, starting at noon Wednesday with counselors available to students and others, Connor said.