Driver strikes 3 boys on Sunrise Highway; 1 in critical condition

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LINDENHURST -

Three young boys were struck by a vehicle near the intersection of Sunrise Highway and Straight Path around 4 a.m., police say.

They say three children, two brothers and their cousin, were hit by a tan-colored sedan, which was heading west on Sunrise Highway. The impact left the windshield shattered.

The boys have been identified as Jose L. Lopez, 13; Jose E. Lopez, 9; and their 12-year-old cousin, Luis Tejada.

All three had to be rushed to a hospital – the 13-year-old in critical condition, the 9-year-old in serious condition and the 12-year-old in stable condition.

Police say the boys' older sister, a 16-year-old, was also with the group. They say she followed them from the house. She was not hit by the car, and her name is not being released.

Officials say the group was walking from the brothers' house in Copiague to a 7-Eleven, which is about a half-mile away. Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart says the boys were having a sleepover at the time.

"To our knowledge, they left to go to the 7-Eleven on their own, and a 16-year-old sister realized they were gone and followed after them," Hart said.

A witness described the scene he says will never forget.

"I was there and I saw the kids walking this way, and I saw them flying, and then I saw them laying on the street," said Victor Salazar.

Police say there were adults at the house when the kids left, although it is not clear if they knew what the boys were up to.

The driver had a green light and stayed at the scene. He is not facing any charges.

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