Two Shinnecock Citizens Killed, Two Injured in Early Morning Car Crash

Two Shinnecock Citizens Killed, Two Injured in Early Morning Car Crash

Gale Courey Toensing
4/29/12

Two members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation were killed and two others severely injured in a one-car crash early Saturday morning, according to media reports.

Jason "Tek" King, 33, the driver, and Duane "D.L." White, 22, a passenger, were pronounced dead at the scene, the Southampton Patch reported. Passengers Awan J. Gumbs, 31, and Brian N. Bess Jr., 18, were hospitalized with multiple non-life-threatening injuries, the report said. Gumbs was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center and Bess Jr. was airlifted to Stony Brook Hospital. Both were listed in stable condition, according to the Long Island Press

Southampton Village police officer Det. Sgt. Herman Lamison discovered the crash around 2:30 a.m., in which a 2009 Lexus GS350 struck a tree, according to the Southampton Patch. The officer said speed was a contributing factor, the report said. One of the surviving passengers had removed himself from the car, while the others had to be extricated by the Southampton Fire Department. It was the second car accident to take place this week involving a Shinnecock citizen, the report said.

Lamison said he knew the victims. He said he was White’s basketball coach and they played ball together just three weeks ago. "Any time it's someone you know, it becomes emotional," he told the Southampton Patch. King was a member of the Tribal Council and former vice chairman. He was also a member of a Warrior Society and co-founder of the Young Men of Shinnecock program. He was a fashion designer with a line called Evitan Couture. Gumbs is son of Shinnecock Tribal Trustee and leader Lance Gumbs.

Lance Gumbs was attending the Gathering of the Nations Pow Wow in New Mexico when he learned that his son had been involved in the accident, the Southampton Patch reported. “When I got the phone call, they just said there had been an accident, and two people didn’t make it and that my son was in the car. I didn’t know who it was that had died,” he told the press. “It was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever gone through in my life.” Gumbs had to wait more than an hour to learn that his son was alive, but with injuries including a broken back, leg, arms, hip and ribs; he also had to have plastic surgery on his face.

Gumbs described King as “a promising young leader,” and said White was “getting his life in order.” The loss of the two young men is “a tragic situation for our community,” he told the Southampton Patch. Gumbs and others attending the Gathering of the Nations planned to fly home on Sunday.

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