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Three Teens Dead in SUV Crash on Garden State Parkway in Middletown

All seven of the vehicle's occupants were from Staten Island, five of them members of the same family.

Three teenaged passengers from Staten Island were killed when an SUV carrying seven people crashed into a guardrail at Garden State Parkway milepost 112.6 in Middletown early July 4 morning, police said. According to police, the victims were Chrystoph Iliopoulos, 13, Eric Colligan, 15 and Hlias Iliopoulos, 18.

Injured in the crash were the driver, Dimitrios Iliopoulos, 54, Stavroula Iliopoulos, 51, Fotiny Iliopoulos, 20, and Vincent Whiteaker, 25, all residents of Staten Island, according to state police.

The roadway remained closed for more than four hours during the emergency response and investigation, reopening at about 9:45 a.m.

The accident happened at 5:08 a.m., according to Trooper Edward Perrine at Holmdel Troop D barracks. The three confirmed fatalities included two male teenagers and one male over 18, according to state police, who said they were among five passengers ejected from the vehicle.

According to state police public information officer Trooper Julian Castellanos, the driver of a 2003 Gray Ford Expedition containing seven passengers "lost directional control of the vehicle" and drifted to the right, striking and tearing through some 30 yards of guardrail.

The vehicle overturned at least twice, said Castellanos.

During this time five — two female and three male — of the vehicle's seven occupants were ejected onto the center median and the northbound local lanes. The driver and right front passenger, two males, were not ejected, he said.

Heavy fog prevented the use of medevac helicopters. Victims were transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, said Perrine. A hospital spokesperson there would not comment on patient condition until police release their identities.

Northbound traffic in local lanes was diverted off Exit 105 in Eatontown onto local lanes. In the Express lanes, the traffic was diverted from Asbury Park. 

Holmdel First Aid and Holmdel Fire Company No. 2 were on the scene minutes after the call came in, according to squad President Michael Nikolis, with all four ambulances and a rescue truck.

Holmdel First Aid treated and transported two patients to the hospital, and another victim was transported by Lincroft First Aid, said Nikolis. Also responding was Middletown Fire and First Aid and MONOC ALS.

Anyone who witnessed the accident is urged to call Trooper Dennis O'Dea at the State Police Detective Bureau, at 732-441-4500, extension 7425. 

Carol Fowler July 04, 2011 at 03:31 PM
My firemen son and husband responded to this most horrific fatal accident. Pray for them and all the responders & Troopers, who absorb such graphic, senseless tragedy on these accident calls. Please, please try to drive the speed limit everyone, most especially on the Parkway. Always, always buckle up when on the road! Prayers to the family of those lost.
Carol Fowler July 04, 2011 at 06:01 PM
So true, Linda. This morning I woke up to my son coming in and telling me how glad he is that I taught about wearing seatbelts. At first I'd thought he'd been in a crash! I hadn't heard the fire call on the pagers, so early this morning. He encouraged me to work toward getting the word out about safer driving, for kids especially.
Sennen July 04, 2011 at 07:26 PM
An absolutely horrific thing. I cannot imagine how the survivors will be able to function.
Ophelia July 05, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Please dont call the parents names imagine your kids are gone,and people are calling you stupid.May god bless and be with the family especially the parents!
mike pappas July 05, 2011 at 01:20 AM
This was a terrible tragedy; the trouble is we never learn. The next time you think you are late; remember that saying “better late than never”!
patrick July 05, 2011 at 02:23 AM
the loss of their children.at their hands is weight enough for the parents to carry, lets put care before judgement. .let us look at our mistakes and from the cost, understand to make things better and safer for all our innocent children. support the parents im sure they"d trade places if they could, we all would for our kids. what else is there to live for.
Diane July 05, 2011 at 02:42 AM
absolutely. The driver of this car has nothing left...two teenage sons dead and a young boy in his care. His wife and daughter critical..everything has already been taken from him...what a tragedy. I tell my kids to put their seat belts on all the time. I check that they have done so...after a long ride I might look back and find that they have unclicked without my knowledge..it can happen to anyone of us!
NJMommy July 05, 2011 at 03:21 AM
I wonder if that car actually could seat 7 and had 7 seatbelts?? It doesn't look like a big SUV.....I wonder if they were all crammed in there without seatbelts?
Sal July 05, 2011 at 07:16 AM
Assumptions :Such as driving at excessive speed and not wearing their seat belts___are just that unsubstantiated ASSumptions. It was foggy overnight and the driver was from out of the area and may not have been familiar with the road and the bends in the road (that Foggy and out-of-town driver was started in the article as to why helicopters could not be used). 30 yards (150 foot of guardrail was hit and the vehicle flipped over AT LEAST twice. It is very possible that in such a horrible accident the seat belts broke and/or snapped open or that the entire right side of the vehicles was so badly damaged while striking 150 feet of guardrail it ripped the right side of the vehicle open like a beer can and the damage ripped out the seat belt attachment points along the passengers side while striking 150 feet of guardrail. What is wrong with you people??? Why do you always have to ASSume the worst of behaviors of others??? Possibly the driver had a heart attack or stroke. Possibly he fell asleep. or Most Possibly of all based upon what we do not for sure (foggy and out-of-town driver) he merely thought he was following the roadway in the fog and unfortunately he was not.
Sennen July 05, 2011 at 10:43 AM
The Expedition is one of the largest SUV's on the market. It seats 8, which suggests that it has seatbelts for those 8.
Sennen July 05, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Looking at the photo, the right side of the vehicle was virtually undamaged. I agree that some assumptions are unkind, but on the other hand observations and comments based on said observations are not the same thing as assumptions.
maryann morris July 07, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Well said Sal.
Jorge July 24, 2011 at 10:47 PM
invariably it is speed plus distraction which causes accidents.
Angie Horn July 14, 2013 at 05:19 PM
"Heavy fog" and at 5 in the morning it is still dark out. Couple that with the fact they were not from the area and it is not hard to imagine how easily an accident can happen. As for the seat belts, it's not likely that they disengaged during the crash. Especially five simultaneously. If that's the case, Ford is looking at a very large lawsuit. I would feel "naked" without my seatbelt but I do have friends that, shockingly, do not wear them.

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