Cops: Speed, rain may be factors in New York crash

NEW YORK — Speed and rain were being investigated as possible factors in the deadly crash of a car into a New York City creek that left four young people dead, police said Sunday.

Investigators were still trying to determine the cause of Friday’s accident, which sent a car with five people inside tumbling into a creek on a dead-end street in Queens.

The only survivor was the 20-year-old driver, who escaped from the submerged car and called 911.

It was too late.

His four friends were trapped at the bottom of Steinway Creek, a trash- and waste-strewn inlet off the East River. The Steinway piano factory is a few hundred yards from the crash site.

Police said the driver had tried to make a quick U-turn as he suddenly faced the dead end late Friday evening, amid rain and fog. Instead, the 2009 Honda Accord slipped on the wet road and he lost control of the vehicle that flipped into the water, police said.

On Saturday, police visited a car service business that had security cameras facing the street in hopes of learning the speed of the Accord in the seconds before it crashed.

Fire department divers pulled the four victims from the car late Friday evening, within a half hour of the accident.

The five friends were returning from a birthday celebration for Crystal Gravely, who died along with Darius Fletcher, 21; Jada Monique Butts, 19; and Jaleel Furtado, who was 20.

They all lived in two square blocks of Queens’ East Elmhurst neighborhood and had gone out to celebrate Gravely’s 20th birthday, which was on Saturday, according to friends and neighbors.

Authorities did not release the name of the driver, who suffered minor injuries.

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