Detectives believe high-speed antics may have led to a tragic car crash at Floyd Bennett Field on Saturday night which claimed the lives of three young Sheepshead Bay residents.
Police say a group of teens were riding in a 2020 Toyota traveling at a high speed westbound on the 440 Runway of Floyd Bennett Field when the car smashed into the driver’s side of a Kia Forte traveling at a similarly high speed along Taxiway C.
According to authorities, the driver of the Kia — 16-year-old Emil Badalov — and two of its passengers, 11-year-old Daniel Sidgiyayeva and 18-year-old Margarita Sidgiyayeva, were killed in the wreck. A fourth passenger, 17, was transported to NYU Langone-Brooklyn, where he was listed in critical condition as of Sunday afternoon.
The three who were traveling in the Toyota are said to be in stable condition at Kings County Hospital. Law enforcement sources say the driver of that car was also 16 years old.
While the other car’s victims have not yet been identified, it is believed that they are all students at Madison High School.
Police from the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad and federal police from Gateway National Recreational Area were probing whether the teens were drag racing on the long runway — a part of the Gateway National Park system at Floyd Bennett Field, the city’s first municipal airport.
Drag racing and other instances of reckless driving are not new to the airfields at Floyd Bennett.
In February, an off-duty police officer behind the wheel of her boyfriend’s Cadillac Escalade drove from the southern end of the field into Jamaica Bay at a high speed.
Floyd Bennett Field was established in 1931 for commercial flights but was later taken over by the Navy for use as a military airfield, which continued through World War II. It was later closed by the Navy and, in 1974, became part of Gateway National — open to the public for recreation.
The airfield still supports an airplane hanger where vintage planes are rebuilt. Also on the site is the Aviator Sports Complex, a Marine Barracks, the NYPD Aviation and Special Operations Center, a Department of Sanitation garage, and numerous community gardens.
The long airfields are open to vehicles and young drivers are known to travel the old runways as practice.
The park was closed for two months during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak but was recently reopened to the public.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.