Family loses three generations when van crashes into zoo

POSTED: Saturday, May 5, 2012 - 12:00am

UPDATED: Saturday, May 5, 2012 - 12:04am

Three generations of a family died in a Sunday crash just a few miles from home when the SUV they were traveling in plunged more than 50 feet off a highway overpass and into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, killing all seven aboard.

"Sometimes you come upon events that are horrific and this is one of them," FDNY deputy Chief Ronald Werner said shortly after the crash.

Authorities were trying to determine what caused Sunday's accident that killed Jacob Nunez, 85, and Ana Julia Martinez, 81, both from the Dominican Republic, their daughters, Maria Gonzalez, 45, and Maria Nunez, 39, and three grandchildren.

Police say Gonzalez was driving.

The children were identified as Jocelyn Gonzalez, 10, the daughter of the driver, Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosario, 3, both daughters of Nunez.

Relatives said the grandparents had arrived from the Dominican Republic three days earlier.

They had thirdteen children, six of whom live in the United States.

They were headed to a family party when the accident occurred.

The cause of the crash, which happened around 12:30 p.m., was unclear, and police haven't yet said how fast the SUV was traveling.

"Obviously, the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed," Werner said. "It hit something that caused it to become airborne."

Werner said that it doesn't appear that any other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Police said all the victims were wearing seat belts.

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