Unlicensed 16-year-old driver lost control of car in crash that killed 3 high school seniors in Holtsville, police say

Dan Smith

Holtsville, New York -- Two Long Island communities are in mourning Thursday after a car crash that killed three high school students. It happened Wednesday night in Holtsville, where the driver lived. According to police, he had a learner's license at the age of 16. Flags have been lowered at William Floyd High School amid news that two seniors were killed in clashes. They were in a car with his teenager who had no license. According to Suffolk County Police, 17-year-old Taylor Beltramini of Moriches and Landon Auditore of Mastic, 18, were among the passengers. Beltramini was due to graduate from Floyd Academy in January. The driver has been identified as 16-year-old Cem Gunes. Police said he was driving without the required 21-year-old driver's license in the car. Witnesses tried to help in what police called a horrific accident. "Terrible. We're all parents. We all have kids who drive, young kids. It's a tragedy," said Lieutenant Darrell Simmons. Police said the car was driving north on Nichols Road at 9:43 p.m. when the driver lost control and struck a tree just north of the Long Island Expressway. The driver and one passenger got off. “There are eyewitness reports of a 2009 Infiniti G37 color gray driving up Nichols Road at high speed,” Simmons said. "Vehicles have been reported to roll over multiple times." All three teenage family members requested privacy during their grief. Adrianna Barrington said she dated Gunes. "He had a really kind heart," said Barrington. "I loved him very much." Grief counselors were provided at Sachem East and William Floyd, and a moment of silence was observed. Ronnie Hartado, a student of William Floyd, said, "The mood changed immediately. It was clear that everyone was heartbroken to hear it. "They were all good kids, so it's sad to see them," said another student. Students who lost three other classmates in September's car accident are still reeling. "The atmosphere in the school is really depressing and sad. Children are just being killed over and over again," said Naje Holman, senior to William Floyd. Much about the crash is still under investigation, including what caused the crash, where the teenagers came from and where they went. Suffolk Police have asked for additional witnesses to come forward.