A mom allegedly drove her minivan into the Hudson River just north of New York City, killing herself and three of her children. She spared her ten-year-old son, who ran to tell firefighters what had happened.
According to the AP, the mom (whose name hasn't been released) drove off a boat ramp last night in Newburgh, NY, 60 miles north of the city. In the car were her five- and two-year-old sons, and her 11-month-old daughter. Just before the plunge, she apparently let her older son out of the car — he ran to the Newburgh fire station just up the hill and alerted authorities, but by the time they reached the scene it was too late. The Record Online reports that Newburgh police also got a domestic disturbance call just 10 minutes before the tragedy from a house in town, but when they got there the house was empty. The family apparently lived just six blocks from the water.
Obviously we don't yet have all the details of what appears to be a triple murder/suicide, but what we do have is pretty horrifying. As the AP points out, the case mirrors that of Susan Smith, who rolled her car into a lake with her two children inside. At least the Newburgh case doesn't contain the element of racism; Smith first claimed a black man had taken her kids. Another difference: while Smith survived and was sentenced to life in prison, the Newburgh mom is dead, and will never be able to tell us what went through her mind when she decided to kill herself and her family — or to let just one child go. Right now all we really have is the horror of her act, and the pain of a boy who will have to grow up in its shadow.