DCF Was in Contact With CT Kids Killed in NY Crash a Month Before They Died

Five kids died in a Scarsdale crash off Hutchinson River Parkway.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) told NBC Connecticut that they recently paid a visit to several Derby children that died in a New York car crash.

DCF Commissioner Vanessa Dorantes said the department was asked by New York Child Protective Services to perform a "courtesy visit" to interview the children based on an alleged incident that happened in their state.

Connecticut's DCF was contacted about the incident because the children were living in Derby at the time. The state's DCF assisted New York Child Protective Services and reported back to them.

Dorantes said the department didn't learn anything that would warrant further DCF involvement.

Westchester County Police said 16-year-old Malik Smith was driving a Nissan Rogue on the Hutchinson River Parkway in Scarsdale, New York, around 12:20 a.m. on Sunday when the vehicle left the road, struck a boulder and a tree and caught on fire.

Westchester County officials said Smith; 17-year-old Anthony Billips Jr.; Zahnyiah Cross, a 12-year-old girl; Shawnell Cross, an 11-year-old girl; and Andrew Billips, an 8-year-old boy; were all killed in the crash. They said there were at least two sets of siblings in the vehicle.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy, and our thoughts are with the family, friends, neighbors and others within the community who knew these children and are now grieving their loss and the trauma they experienced," Dorantes said in a statement.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, officials said Smith did not have a driver's permit or license from New York or Connecticut.

DCF is actively reviewing their interactions with the involved families. Because of their pending investigation, the department said they're unable to provide further information on the matter.

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