A 10-year-old boy escaped a sinking car after his distraught mother drove her family into the Hudson River about 8 p.m. Tuesday.
According to the NY Times, Lashaun Armstrong escaped the sinking minivan after his mother, Lashandra Armstrong, 25, steered the car off a boat ramp and into the river a few blocks from the row house apartment where the family lived.
"She was a very good mom," said Tina Claybourne, who lives nearby. "She took care of her kids. She always was with her kids." (link)
Ms. Armstrong and 3 of her 4 children, Landon Pierce, 5; Lance Pierre, 2; and Lainaina Pierre, 11 months old, all died from drowning.
The driver's side window of the van was down, suggesting that LaShaun crawled past his mother to escape the sinking van.
Lashaun “managed to hit the power windows,” Chief Ferrara said, and “climbed out before the vehicle sank.”
LaShaun turned up at a Newburgh firehouse about 20 minutes after the domestic disturbance call. He was soaking wet. A woman had picked him up after he swam ashore and driven him to the firehouse to summon help.
The boy was so distraught that, at first, he had trouble speaking.
Firefighters and state police divers found the minivan about an hour later with the four bodies inside. It was submerged under eight feet of murky water about 25 feet from the shore.
Angela Gilliam, Lashanda Armstrong's aunt, says she spoke to her niece earlier Tuesday and she was "not too good." Gilliam later called police, saying Armstrong was fighting with the father of three of her four children. The dispatcher reported hearing "tussling in the background." But when police arrived at the home, no one was there.
Gilliam is now caring for LaShaun, who she said is "doing good."
Edited to add pictures of the family. Originally posted on April 13, 2011 @ 1:32 p.m.