An abandoned airfield would seem to be a perfect spot for learning and practicing automobile maneuvers that would be forbidden on city streets. A number of New York City teenagers gathered recently at Floyd Bennett field, an abandoned airfield in southeast Brooklyn across Jamaica Bay from JFK, for just that purpose. Unhappily, the stunts became deadly when two of the teen drivers apparently lost control of their vehicles, resulting in a pair of fatal collisions.

Two of the youths began to demonstrate their proficiency at a stunt called a “doughnut,” that is, a maneuver where the driver intentionally causes the vehicle to spin in a circle. The trick is to make the car spin without causing it to move.  According to a local police official, they began receiving 911 calls at 8:18 p.m. By the time that the first emergency responders reached the scene, two of the cars were badly damaged, and bodies were seen lying on the ground.

Several ambulances arrived shortly after the first alarm was called in, and the injured teenagers were transported to NYU Langone Medical Center. Three of the youths were pronounced dead on arrival, and four more were hospitalized with serious injuries. The families of the dead and injured teenagers appear to be from a Jewish sect with roots in Azerbaijan. Police are still investigating the scene of the accident.

A number of parties are facing potential liability for the deaths and injuries. One or more of the teenagers who instigated the stunt driving may be liable. The public agency that manages Floyd Bennett Field may also face liability for failing to properly secure access to the airfield. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one under similar circumstances might wish to consult an experienced auto accident attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the evidence, order further investigations if appropriate, and suggest legal arguments that can support claims for damages.