By Patrick Markey
An Irish immigrant family was devastated over the Thanksgiving holidays when a fatal car crash in Long Island killed a brother, a sister, a family friend and left another sister critically injured, police and hospital officials said.
John Kelly, a 21-year-old U.S. Marine based at the Camp Lejeune Barracks in North Carolina, and his sister Aileen Kelly, who was 16, died when the car they were driving collided with another vehicle, according to the Suffolk County Police. Also killed in the crash was a 15-year-old friend of the family, Nancy Rothfeld.
The Kelly family had immigrated to the United States from a small village in County Offaly 10 years ago.
Another Kelly sister, Caitriona, who is 20, remains in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Huntington Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
"All they cared about, all they wanted to do was to be together," Robert Patterson, a cousin of the Kelly family, told Newsday newspaper.
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"They went for a ride to chat. With John getting on so well in the Marines, they didn’t get to see each other so often. But they were all the best of mates," Patterson said.
According to Suffolk County Police Department, John Kelly was driving his Ford along Jericho Turnpike in the Huntington area on Thursday afternoon when the car collided with another vehicle. Another car was unable to avoid the accident, passed between the two vehicles and struck them both, police said.
The driver of the second car and his 2-year-old son are also in serious condition in Huntington Hospital.
Funeral services were held in Long Island on Tuesday morning and the parents of the deceased were scheduled to fly to Ireland this week with the remains of their children.