New Year’s Eve car crash in NY may have been terror attack, says FBI

A car smashing into another vehicle, killing its two passengers, contained numerous gas canisters, leading to federal authorities being called in.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The FBI has been called in to investigate a car crash in Rochester, New York after numerous gas canisters were found in the vehicle that smashed into a second car late Monday night, killing its two passengers.

Five others were injured in the incident, which occurred as thousands of party-goers were leaving a New Year’s concert. A Ford SUV smashed into a Mitsubishi Outlander that was exiting a parking lot, said Rochester Police Chief David Smith at a press conference, sending both of them into a crowd of pedestrians and two other cars.

Both cars’ drivers were rushed to the hospital, as were three pedestrians. The offending vehicle’s driver and one of the pedestrians were described as being in life-threatening condition.

The crash was immediately followed by a large fire that totally destroyed the SUV and took firefighters almost an hour to put out. What aroused the suspicion that this may not have been simply a tragic accident was that first responders discovered “at least a dozen gasoline canisters in and around the striking vehicle,” Smith said.

“Based on the danger level associated with these, the Rochester police department bomb squad and the joint arson task force responded to the scene,” the chief added.

The FBI was summoned shortly thereafter, putting out a short statement saying that they were investigating in collaboration with their “law enforcement partners,” but that “details are limited at this time.”

According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the Joint Terrorism Task Force is the lead department in the probe. CNN reported the FBI merely saying its Buffalo field office was assisting the local police force.

There is no clarity as yet as to the cause of the crash, the motives, if any, of those involved, or why the offending car was carrying so much flammable liquid.

While Smith asked for “patience” while the authorities “seek answers,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans requested the public’s help in the matter.

“No piece of information is too small”, he said. “Pick up the phone and call the Rochester Police Department and let them know what you may know.”