Mother Drove Her Minivan in the Hudson River With Kids

The unhinged mother who drove her minivan off a Newburgh dock and into the Hudson River told her four children that she wasn't leaving this world alone.

"If I'm going to die, you're going to die with me," Lashanda Armstrong told the children before the vehicle sank to the bottom of the river just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the only surviving child told authorities.

Armstrong's 10-year-old son, Lashaun, escaped the doomed family minivan - opening a power window and swimming to safety in the two minutes it took for the vehicle to sink.

But as he wriggled out of the window, his mother snatched his pants leg. "I made a mistake," she said before finally releasing the boy, the child told authorities.

After swimming to shore, the dripping-wet Lashaun made it to the road, where he was picked up by Meave Ryan, a good Samaritan who took the boy to a nearby firehouse.

"He was waving his hands, screaming 'Help me!'" said Ryan, 31. "He said, 'My mommy just drove the car into the water.'"

Shivering and barely able to speak, little Lashaun told firefighters how his mother had launched the van into the river with his siblings inside and how, just moments before, she dialed her dad for help, the kids screaming in the background.

"I'm sorry, I'm going to do something crazy," Armstrong said, according to the boy's story.

That prompted a 911 call that brought police to her Newburgh home, but it was too late.

Police wouldn't confirm details of the domestic dispute that preceded the murder-suicide inside the tan van, but neighbors said Armstrong and longtime boyfriend Jean Pierre were frequent fighters in their second-floor home.

Armstrong, who battled with Pierre over his womanizing, had twice asked to get the apartment locks changed in a six-month period - most recently in March, the building landlord said.

Pierre - nicknamed "Prime" - was the father of the three dead children. He began dating Armstrong, 25, when they were in high school.

"They went to the prom together, put it that way," said the dead woman's aunt, Angie Gilliam, who made the futile 911 call.

It was unclear if Pierre, 26, was at the apartment before Armstrong's inexplicable death ride - a six-block drive from her home to a concrete boat ramp and into the river.

A 22-year-old neighbor said she and Pierre had a three-month affair while Armstrong was pregnant last year with her last child, 11-month-old Lainaina.

The baby, along with her brothers Landon, 5, and Lance, 2, died with their mother.

Armstrong knew about Pierre's roaming eye, and it became an ongoing argument.

"There was nonstop arguing late at night - normal kind of stuff," said the neighbor, who later befriended Armstrong. "Why are you back so late? Who were you with? But I can't picture her putting the kids in the car and doing that."

Cops released Pierre on Wednesday night after a day of questioning. He is not expected to be charged.


Weeping members of the Armstrong family released three star-shaped white balloons on Wednesday at the boat ramp where the van lurched into the 45-degree river.

They lit candles and left flowers, along with three stuffed animals for the lost children: An elephant, a monkey and a dog. Relatives retrieved clothes from the family apartment for 10-year-old Lashaun. "My nephew's doing fine," Gilliam told reporters. "He's really not talking."

An hour-long search turned up the sunken van, holding the four bodies, about 75 feet offshore in 8 feet of water.

Shortly before Lashaun reached the firehouse, Gilliam called police about the domestic dispute. They arrived to find the apartment empty; Gilliam arrived a short time later to word of the deaths.

"We're doing the best we can," she said.

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Lost for words.... Praying for this lil boy and the family but a special prayer for this child... SMDH

You know whats sad....she took the babies lives...Kill yourself, who cares?? But to take innocent lives because of a MAN!?!?! That's ridiculous...I feel sorry for the 10 year old who had to suffer through all of this....He will probably never be the same
this is so sad i agree with Alley for someone to kill their children over a man? I'm lost for words

it's very sad. No man is worth to die for, let alone killing children, I'm going to pray for little boy and his family.

There is a service in hospitals and orphanages for new born babies, volunteers hold babies and it's said it's making them more healthy. I swear we need something like this for women. Someone should have told her how worthy is she. She probably wanted to hurt this man by killing his children, but he will be on to the next one making new babies very soon.  

That is insanely sad, they said she put a status on facebook asking for forgiveness for what she was about to do, 30 minutes before she drove into the river. My heart goes out to that little boy.
Instead of the boys, she should have strapped the 22- year old neighbor in the back seat. 
This is very sad story. My heart goes out to the surviving son and his family. No man (not even the trifling one she had) is worth dying over, let alone killing your children. And I'm angry with her 22-years-old neighbor. She knew they were together and then befriends her after the old thing. Ugh! If she had her locks changed so many times within 6 months that should be an indicator that something wasn't right.
=( this is sooooo sad, just hurts my heart those poor babies had to die like that and that damn neighbor and that no good ninja both need there a**** kicked! smh love will make you do some crazy things
HA! I know that's right

University of Smitty said:
Instead of the boys, she should have strapped the 22- year old neighbor in the back seat. 

Ladies I read this quote about her today and it really broke my heart

 "The only thing she'd say was that she was so alone," Strange said Wednesday. "She's a single parent. She takes great care of her kids, goes to school and works. She really needed a helping hand." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/WarriorLemming/lashanda-armstr...)

Please if you know any woman who is struggling, ask if she needs any help, let her know she is not alone. Sometimes a warm word or a prayer will help. I fundraised for this program http://www.helpsinglemoms.org they are supporting single moms. Unfortunately they only in Arizona, but maybe it will be picked up by other states, if you know moms in Az you can refer them, they are all single moms supporting each other. 

 

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