By RICH SCHAPIRO
and JOE KEMP
New York Daily News
Two children of a city Correction Department officer were killed when the family’s SUV crossed the median of Interstate 76 and struck an oncoming tractor-trailer.
The horrific wreck happened as Correction Department officer Shakia Crumpton, 36, and her family were driving home to New York City on Thursday morning from Columbus, where they had been attending a funeral.
Pedro Crumpton, 7, and his 2-year-old sister, Paris, were in the backseat of a Chevrolet Trailblazer when their father, Rashon Crumpton, suddenly lost control near state Route 534, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.
Shakia Crumpton and her 38-year-old husband were thrown from the vehicle as it rolled several times and slammed into the 18-wheeler, authorities said.
Shakia, who is assigned to Rikers Island, had been sleeping in the backseat with her children at the time.
The little boy and his sister died at the scene.
The husband and wife were hospitalized in critical condition Friday at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. Rashon was paralyzed from the neck down.
Authorities said the father was wearing his seatbelt, but it was not clear whether the others were properly strapped into their seats. The family’s dog also survived the wreck.
The cause of the crash was not known.
“It’s a heart-wrenching story,” said Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association. “We’re going to do everything we can for them.”
Seabrook said the family was driving back to their Glendale, Queens, home after attending a funeral for Shakia Crumpton’s grandmother in Columbus.
“It’s really painful to me, because they were just babies,” an emotional Seabrook said of Shakia’s children. “And her husband ... he can’t even wipe away his own tears.”
Grieving relatives gathered at a family member’s Brooklyn home, where a makeshift memorial was built outside the Decatur Avenue building.
“I love you Paris and Pedro I miss you bro,” one note at the memorial read.
“RIP Pedro and Paris gone too soon,” read another.
A teacher at Public School 45 in Bushwick — where Pedro attended second grade — told parents that a counselor would deliver the tragic news to his class on Monday, according to the grandmother of one classmate.
“He was a good kid,” said the grandmother, who declined to give her name.
“It’s sad. It’s just so sad.”