Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Five Nigerians Perish In Horrific Car Fire – Group Was Coming From Arondizuogu Convention In New York
A Mercedes Benz sports utility vehicle travelling at high speed hit a concrete support, rolled over and burst into flames killing five of the seven passengers including two children, on Sunday in New York City.
Occupants of the car had come from the just concluded 2-day convention of the Arondizuogu Patriotic Union National Congress of North America.
Later that day, members of the group were in mourning as they entered and left the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where three of the survivors of the accident had been brought.
A grieving Inno Chima, a participant in the Saturday night gala, was quoted to ask: “Did God go to sleep on us?”
The accident occurred around 3:15 a.m., and the police believe the S.U.V. was speeding, the authorities said. Witnesses told investigators that the vehicle ran two red lights shortly before the accident, which occurred on Atlantic Avenue just east of the Van Wyck.
The vehicle struck a concrete support for the AirTrain to Kennedy International Airport, and flipped a number of times before coming to rest on the passenger side about 80 feet away, authorities said. Then it ignited in flames.
During an interview outside the hospital, Mr. Chima said there was “casual drinking” at the Golden Terrace banquet hall, on Atlantic Avenue less than a mile from the accident site. But investigators do not believe that alcohol played a role in the accident, and emergency personnel did not detect the odor of alcohol at the crash scene, a law enforcement official said.
On the sidewalk outside Jamaica Hospital, Evelyn Anyaogu, from the Bronx, said she was a cousin of one of the people who died in the accident. Ms. Anyaogu identified her cousin as a Michigan woman, Nnenna Obioha, who was in her 50s or older.
“She has the best heart in the whole world,” Ms. Anyaogu said.
Ms. Anyaogu recalled how festive the night had been at the convention. “We danced our native dance,” she said, adding that it was a “very, very good time.”
But those memories quickly evaporated when Ms. Anyaogu received a call from the authorities to “tell me what happened.”
“How do you cope?” she added.
One mourner emerged from the hospital crying and chased several news photographers, threatening to hurt them