THREE siblings planning to surprise members of their New Jersey family died in a crash on Sunday evening, despite a state trooper's attempts to extinguish the fiery explosion.
The victims included 31-year-old Reachthon “Tonny” Khiev and 27-year-old Reachsieh “Johnny” Khiev, both New Hampshire residents, and one of their younger sisters, Keotepie Khiev, 14.
One passenger, the youngest sister, age 12, survived the crash.
Video of the accident, captured on a cell phone, shows the family car crashing into an expressway toll booth on the Atlantic City Expressway near Hamilton Township, New Jersey, before going up in flames.
A witness said a state trooper rushed toward the scene with a fire extinguisher, but the car exploded into flames.
The youngest sister was rescued from the back seat, and a toll booth attendant was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
It's unclear what caused the crash, and a family friend who saw the brothers that day reportedly told local news media that neither of the men were under the influence.
Local drivers said the expressway can be difficult to see and navigate after dark.
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According to a GoFundMe posted by their sister, Mimi Khiev, both Tonny and Johnny were in-home caretakers for people with disabilities.
"Those who knew them know how contagious their smiles were and how they would do anything to make sure that their loved ones are taken care of," Mimi wrote.
"They both had aspirations of opening up a donut shop and moving their whole family to live with them in New Hampshire."
The family of nine was originally from Cambodia, and late sister Keotepie, also known as Keo, was the first to be born in the United States.
Keotepie dreamed of visiting Paris on a study abroad trip, and Mimi described her younger sister as "a beautiful, intelligent and very sweet girl."
"Johnny and Tonny were visiting their little sisters from New Hampshire to surprise them for the holiday weekend," Mimi wrote.
"They were on their way back home to drop off their sisters from a day full of shopping and dinner.
"Unfortunately, it was their best and last Christmas as a family," she wrote.
The GoFundMe has surpassed its $40,000 goal for funeral expenses, and the organizer, Jimmy Giang, said any additional funds generated will be used to move surviving family members to New Hampshire, so the entire extended family can be together.
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