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Mom drowns herself, 3 kids — but one escapes

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



NEWBURGH, N.Y. — A woman upset with the father of her children packed her four youngsters into her minivan and drove into the frigid Hudson River, killing everyone except her 10-year-old son, who managed to roll down a window of the sinking vehicle and swim to shore.

The dead youngsters ranged in age from 11 months to 5 years.

A relative had called police Tuesday night to report a dispute at the home of Lashanda Armstrong, 25. Shortly afterward, she drove off a boat ramp several blocks away from her apartment in this struggling city 60 miles north of New York City.

Officials believe Lashaun Armstrong, 10, hit the button on a power window to escape from the driver’s side as the minivan began to sink in the 45-degree water. Fire Chief Michael Vatter said the vehicle went under within two minutes.

“He got out of the car, got up onto the boat ramp, turned around and it was gone,” Vatter said.

A passer-by found a soaked and cold Lashaun Armstrong along the shore and took him to a firehouse for help. The boy was so distraught that he had difficulty talking but ultimately told firefighters what happened.

Killed along with Lashanda Armstrong were Landon Pierre, 5, Lance Pierre, 2, and 11-month-old Laianna Pierre, police said. Lashaun is staying with his mother’s aunt Angela Gilliam and “doing fine,” she said. AP



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