- Multiple members of the Bronx family injured in the accident on the way back from a visit to relatives upstate.
A Bronx, New York mother and her two children were killed in an accident on the New York State Thruway in the Hudson Valley last week. News reports said Zulika Salim, 47, Justin Gayapersad, 10 and Chelsea Gayapersad, 14, died on Aug. 2, when a tractor-trailer slammed into their stopped car on exit 19 on I-87 in Ulster, New York.
The Mid Hudson News reported that the tractor-trailer driver, identified as 61-year-old Luc Leblanc of Quebec, Canada, tried to avoid a collision when he came upon stopped traffic but was unable to stop in time. Citing State Police, the report said that the 2010 Volvo tractor-trailer driven by Leblanc, was in the right lane when he encountered traffic stopped in front of him. Leblanc tried to avoid a collision but struck the rear of a 2012 Honda Accord in which the three victims were traveling. “The front of the truck caused extensive damage to the rear of the Honda, which was pushed approximately 500 feet before coming to rest in the grass off the shoulder of the highway,” the report said. According to the Mid Hudson News report, Leblanc wasn’t injured.
As the truck was pushing the Honda off the road, it struck the rear passenger side of a 2007 Kia Sedona minivan that exited the road onto the shoulder. The occupants of the Honda and Kia were all family members from the Bronx, and were returning home from a visit with relatives upstate.
The driver of the Kia, identified in news reports as 26-year-old Maheshwarnauth Karan, declined medical treatment at the scene, the Mid Hudson News report said. Meanwhile, Sangeeta Singh, 27, a passenger in the Kia, was taken to Health Alliance Hospital Broadway Campus in Kingston, while her fellow passenger Saleema Salim, 45, was transported to MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie. “Both were treated for minor injuries,” the Mid Hudson News reported. Another passenger, Ramarine Singh, 48, was airlifted to Albany Medical Center. A five-year-old child was not injured.
Twenty-four-year-old Neta Singh, who was driving the Honda, was taken to MidHudson Regional and front-seat passenger, Saleena Singh, 18, was transported to Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, both with minor injuries, according to the Mid Hudson News report. Salim and her kids were sitting in the back of the Honda. It is not known if they were wearing seat belts.
Shafeek Salim, Zukila Salim’s brother, told the New York Daily News that his sister was “the heart of our family.” He said his sister “was wonderful woman,” and her kids, Justin and Chelsea “were great kids.” He told the paper that Chelsea was supposed to start high school in September. “She loved playing piano and was always dancing,” he said, adding that “Justin loved action figures and Mario.”
Another relative, Tiffany Destiny Salim, took to Facebook to express her grief. “I have lost a wonderful aunt and my loving cousins. I never thought it would be so early to say goodbye.” She continued: “Can’t believe that my Auntie Zulika and your two kids are no longer here. My sincere condolences to the entire family. This is so hard to accept, a small loving family and three beautiful souls. Rest In Peace.”