Tags Posts tagged with "Long Island Expressway"

Long Island Expressway

Mannequin found in driver's car in the HOV lane of the Long Island Expressway. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Suffolk County Police issued a Centereach man a ticket after he was pulled over for driving with a phony passenger in the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills this afternoon.

Highway patrol officer Andrew Spina was traveling on the Long Island Expressway, near exit 51, when he became suspicious of the front seat passenger in a 2002 Saturn sedan traveling in the HOV lane.

Spina pulled over the vehicle and observed that the driver, James Britt, had placed a mannequin wearing a sweatshirt, sunglasses, hat and jeans into the front passenger seat in an attempt to resemble a person.

Britt, 34, was issued a summons for the HOV occupancy violations.

GoFundMe page set up to help victim's family

The Preto family of Selden. Photo from GoFundMe

Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating a multicar crash on the Long Island Expressway near exit 49 in Melville over Thanksgiving weekend that killed a Selden man.

On Nov. 24, Dix Hills resident Madhava Reddy, 58, was driving a 2018 Mercedes Benz in the middle lane of the eastbound LIE near exit 49, when he was struck from behind by a 2016 Nissan driven by 31-year-old Eric Preto, of Selden. Preto’s pregnant wife, Gabriella, and his 2-year-old son were also in the vehicle.

Preto stepped out of his car to check the damage and speak with Reddy. As he was walking back to his vehicle, Preto was struck by a 2015 Subaru being driven by Jennifer Massaro, 38, of Smithtown. A 2017 Nissan being driven by Commack resident Stephen Raia, 24, then struck Preto’s vehicle.

Preto was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. Reddy, Massaro, Gabriella Preto, 29, of Selden, and her child were all transported to area hospitals for evaluation. Raia was evaluated at the scene.

Suffolk police impounded all four vehicles for safety checks.

“Late last night, the Preto family was involved in a terrible accident and Eric lost his precious life,” reads a GoFundMe page set up for Eric Preto’s family. This tragedy is absolutely devastating and we’re hoping this account can help with the future expenses of his young children.”

The page, www.gofundme.com/support-the-family-of-eric-preto, had raised more than half of its $100,000 goal as of this publication’s press time.

Any witnesses to the accident are asked to contact the 2nd Squad at 631-854-8252.

File photo

Suffolk County Police today arrested two men in Dix Hills following a pursuit on the Long Island Expressway early Friday morning, June 30.

Police said Highway Patrol Bureau Sergeant Peter Clancy observed the operator of a 2016 Nissan Sentra driving erratically west on the Long Island Expressway near exit 62 at approximately 2 a.m. Sgt. Clancy attempted to pull over the vehicle but the driver allegedly fled. The driver of the Sentra and an acquaintance, who was driving nearby in a Chevrolet began weaving through traffic. The drivers refused to stop for the Sgt. and Highway Patrol Bureau Officer Robert Scudellari deployed stop sticks which stopped the Chevrolet. The Nissan continued and Sgt. Clancy was able to bring the vehicle to a stop on the Long Island Expressway at Exit 52 in Dix Hills.

Highway Patrol Bureau charged the driver of the Nissan, Queens resident Robert Richards, 32, with reckless driving and third-degree fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle. Second Squad detectives charged the driver of the Chevrolet, Queens resident Donzel Raywhyte, 28, with three counts of first-degree possession of a forged instrument for possessing three forged out of state licenses. Highway Patrol Bureau charged Raywhyte with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and false personation.

Richards was held overnight at the 2nd Precinct and scheduled for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip June 30. Raywhyte will be held overnight at the 2nd Precinct tonight and scheduled for arraignment July 1. No attorney information was immediately available.

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating a two-vehicle crash that killed a man and injured two others in Commack May 28.

Thomas Maloney was driving a 2012 Nissan Altima westbound on the North Service Road of the Long Island Expressway.  As he attempted to make a left turn onto Commack Road from the marked center turning lane, his vehicle was struck by a 2016 Ford van traveling in the left turning lane attempting to go straight.

Frank Stengl, 88, of Coram, the front seat passenger of the Nissan, was transported via Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where he was pronounced dead.  The rear seat passenger, Joan Walsh, 86, of Central Islip, was transported via Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Stony Brook University Hospital with minor injuries.

Maloney, 64, of Dix Hills, was transported via Dix Hills Fire Department Ambulance to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore with minor injuries.

The driver of the Ford, Jesse Lombardi, 36, of Patchogue, was not injured and remained at the scene.

Both vehicles were impounded for a safety check.  Detectives are asking anyone with information about the crash to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police Fourth Squad detectives are investigating a single-vehicle crash that killed a man in Brentwood March 26.

Scott Henbest was driving a Dodge Durango east on the Long Island Expressway, just west of Exit 55, when the vehicle veered off the roadway into trees on the right side of the road at approximately 11:55 a.m.

Henbest, 52, of Commack, was transported by Central Islip Ambulance to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Fourth Squad at 6318548452.

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My son and I love the odometer. He probably appreciates it because I talk about it so often and focus on repeating numbers, patterns in the numbers or milestones.

We are approaching another landmark as our odometer edges upward from a volleyball practice, to a concert, to a visit with friends in upstate New York, to a trip to Bronx Zoo or a ride to the airport — 100,000 miles.

Where will we be when we hit that magic mark? Chances are we’ll be close to home, perhaps on our way to or from school, to the train station or to a restaurant to celebrate another birthday.

Those repeating numbers, the 99,488 or the 99,699, may bring back horrible memories of childhood, when we had to come up with a formula to describe the nth term in a sequence. The numbers also may be reminders of when we need to change the oil, rotate the tires, check the brakes or give the car the equivalent of a well visit to the doctor.

Our country has spent decades shortening the distance between two points by car. Along the way, we eat in them, change the radio station, pull off the road for a nap or park near a favorite place to commune with nature from our moving couch.

All that time in the car is what made McDonald’s possible, giving people who travel over great distances the reliability and predictability of the same meal regardless of the state.

We throw ourselves and all manner of accoutrements into our cars, including baseball bags, suitcases, or — with my father — holiday presents. Then we pile ourselves into the seats, buckle ourselves in and hope for an open road along the 3,000 miles from New York to California.

We don’t often think about each of the miles, because we’d clog our minds with useless and forgettable information, particularly during those times when a mile becomes a measure of an interminable length of time on a stopped Long Island Expressway.

Then there are those miles when we feel as if the road disappeared below us and we are floating home, singing a song that makes the whole family laugh, especially when we share voices that are off-key, or celebrating a triumphant play or an enthralling concert. It’s why road trip movies, even poor ones, are so common.

These travel experiences offer a physical journey to match an emotional, spiritual or personal quest, giving us a chance to wake up to an ocean and go to sleep under the shadow of a mountain. Even when we no longer want to contemplate literary devices, we may see symbols in our travels that are hard to ignore, such as the dawn of a new day, soaring birds taking flight together, a fork in the road or a lightning bolt crashing down in the distance.

While the odometer doesn’t take pictures, have Instagram or Facebook accounts, and doesn’t store information in the cloud, it does give us a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and who has shared the ride. When the odometer was still in the double digits, we looked at the backs of our small children’s heads at rear-facing car seats. As the numbers on the car, and our children’s ages and heights increased, we heard their voices drop as they described a movie they watched with friends, a visit with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a project they planned to complete as soon as they returned home.

I’m hoping my family is in the car together when the odometer breaks into six figures, because it seems fitting to share that milestone since the four of us journeyed through those miles of life together to get there.

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I’m going to blend the holidays, and make a naughty and a nice list of those things for which I’m thankful. I’ll start with the nice.

I’m thankful for inspirational teachers. Every day, some teachers devote so much time and energy to their work that they ignite a passion for learning, a curiosity or a determination in their students that has the potential to pay dividends for decades. An inspired student reflects and emanates an educational light that, in turn, can have a multiplier effect, encouraging their siblings, their friends and even their parents to learn and grow.

I’m thankful for the police who patrol our streets and who protect and serve us. They can and do tackle everything from delivering a baby on the Long Island Expressway to racing toward reports of someone with a weapon.

I’m also thankful for the firefighters, who rescue people trapped in burning buildings and who suffer through cold wind, rain and snow while doing their job.

I’m thankful for all the soldiers who, regardless of which president is in office, accept their responsibility and protect America’s interests wherever they serve.

I’m thankful for the scientists who dedicate themselves, tirelessly, to the pursuit of basic knowledge about everything from quarks and neutrinos, to the researchers who are on a mission to cure cancer, to understand autism, or to defeat fungi or viruses that threaten the quality and quantity of our lives.

I’m thankful for the sanitation workers who appear during the wee hours of the morning, clear out our garbage and move on to the next house.

I’m thankful for the First Amendment. I’m grateful that our Founding Fathers decided we have the right not to remain silent. Our constitution guarantees us the kind of free speech that allows us to express our views, even if those opinions are contrary to those of our government or our neighbors.

OK, here’s the nasty list.

I’m thankful for the Internet, which prevents anyone from being wrong about anything, ever. Well, information on the Internet may also be inaccurate, but who cares? If it’s there and we repeat it, at least we’re echoing something someone else wrote, even if that person is an 8-year-old who is just learning to type and is posting something that looks like it could be right.

I’m thankful for all those people who honk at me when I don’t hit the accelerator the moment the light turns green. They remind me I should be efficient for all of our sakes and that I could be doing something much more important, like looking up stuff on the Internet rather than sitting at a light.

I’m thankful I can roll my eyes in my head. How else could I deal with those events around me that I find insufferable, from listening to our political leaders rip into each other to engaging in arguments with people who know better and can show me all the information they use to back up their arguments on the Internet.

I’m thankful for the rain and the cold and the snow. OK, so this is in between a naughty and nice one, because I believe varied weather presents something for everyone. Sure, people don’t tend to like it when the temperature falls too far, but I enjoy the cold. Besides, the winter provides a contrast to seasonable weather.

Finally, I’m thankful for prognosticators of all types, including the recent ones who seemed so sure of themselves about the results of the election. They are a reminder that sure things don’t exist in any arena, even those with a preponderance of pontificators.

The front entrance of the new welcome center. Photo from Gov. Cuomo's office.

Despite original resistance from local officials, a rest stop is officially open for business on the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills between exits 51 and 52 off the eastbound lanes.

The 15,200 square-foot Long Island Welcome Center features restrooms, a Taste NY food market and several information kiosks to inform travelers about local tourism spots. It’s the first rest stop of its kind on the Island.

Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) and New York State Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) shared concerns last year with some of the details in the plan, including its proximity to residential areas, and the communication between local officials and the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

But Stern said he is pleased with the compromises that were made to put residents’ fears at ease.

“I’ve spoken to many area residents who said trucks idling all day and night was an ongoing and unacceptable concern,” the county legislator said in a phone interview.

An aerial view of the new welcome center. Photo from Gov. Cuomo's office
An aerial view of the new welcome center. Photo from Gov. Cuomo’s office

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the residents have been heard. No tractor-trailer or bus parking is allowed at the welcome center, including the service road that supports the facility.

“This is an example of all levels of government working and coming together, which we can now see reflected in the final design of the welcome center,” Stern said. “This is a really important element that was encouraging to the residents.”

Trucks and buses have been redirected to recently renovated New York State Department of Transportation sites at exits 56 and 66.

Stern said the residents are still waiting to see the future of the rest stop and how it will be used, but they found the truck ban encouraging.

Lupinacci agreed the compromise with Dix Hills residents was a step in the right direction.

“I am pleased to learn that the New York State Department of Transportation has considered the concerns of local residents in the Dix Hills Area and compromised on the original plans of the Long Island Welcome Center,” he said in an email. “The welcome center, which has been drastically reduced in size from original blueprints and will not sell any alcoholic beverages, will offer local produce and regional goods to Long Island’s travelers. I will continue to listen to local stakeholders and welcome feedback from Dix Hills residents during the first few months of the welcome center’s operation.”

Cuomo said the welcome center is an important asset in encouraging tourism throughout New York.

“Tourism and agriculture are critical drivers of the Long Island economy and with the new welcome center, we are making smart investments to support these industries throughout the region,” he said in a statement. “With a Taste NY store to raise the profile of Long Island’s quality food and craft beverages, and interactive I Love NY kiosks to engage visitors and connect them with Long Island’s rich history and boundless recreational opportunities, this state-of-the-art center represents the very best that Long Island has to offer.”

A view of the kiosks available for visitors to use at the center. Photo from Gov. Cuomo's office
A view of the kiosks available for visitors to use at the center. Photo from Gov. Cuomo’s office

The Taste NY Market will showcase a broad selection of fresh breakfast and lunch items, including soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts using ingredients sourced from Long Island growers, along with grab-and-go snacks and specialty local items for sale.

The welcome center will also be home to an outdoor farmers market open on Saturdays and Sundays through the season that will provide locally grown and produced foods to visitors.

As for the touch-screen I Love NY kiosks, they provide travelers the opportunity to learn more about the Long Island tourism region. An interactive map provides suggested destinations based on users’ interests, allowing them to browse regional attractions from historical sites to local wineries, and create an itinerary which they can take with them via email.

A Department of Motor Vehicles self-service kiosk will also be available for use, making it the first time a kiosk will be permanently located outside of a DMV office. Customers will have the opportunity to renew their vehicle registrations quickly and efficiently, as well as conduct other DMV transactions without having to visit a local office.

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said the new welcome center will help Huntington’s economy continue to grow.

“From world-class food to pristine beaches and beautiful parks, Long Island has long been a top destination for tourists,” Petrone said in a statement. “This new welcome center will play an important role in growing our economy by showcasing many of Long Island’s products and natural beauty to the thousands of travelers on the Long Island Expressway every day.”

Ivan Ceron was arrested for driving drunk the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police arrested a 23-year-old man after receiving multiple reports of a 2010 Nissan driving on the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway in Commack early Tuesday morning, Sept. 6.

Ivan Ceron was charged with driving while intoxicated after officers said he was driving east in the westbound lane on the LIE near Exit 52. Canine Section Officer Ralph Fuellbier located the wrong-way vehicle, and worked with the Highway Patrol Bureau to pull over Ceron.

The Bellrose resident was also issued summonses for driving the wrong way, driving an unregistered vehicle and operating a motor vehicle below the minimum posted speed limit.

Ceron, is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip today, and no attorney information was immediately available.


Scott Martella served on the Smithtown Board of Education in 2009. File photo

By Victoria Espinoza

Northport resident and Communications Director for Suffolk County, Scott Martella, died over the weekend as a result of a three-car crash on the Long Island Expressway in Manorville.

Colleagues remembered the 29-year-old man as a devoted public servant with a continuing desire to make his community better.

Martella, 29, had worked for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) since last June, after working as an aide for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) office.

Bellone said he remembers his communications director as a leader who was always willing to help others.

“Scott Martella dedicated his all too brief life to public service and to helping others,” he said in a statement. “The hundreds of people Scott has worked with over the years and the thousands of people whose lives he has positively impacted would describe him as nothing short of an amazing person.”

“Long Island is a better place today because of his service and dedication to the community.”
— Andrew Cuomo

Bellone said he asked Martella to join his team because of his intelligence and love of community.

“I will miss Scott’s smile, his advice, his laugh, his sense of humor, his dedication and his drive,” he said.

Cuomo shared a similar sentiment regarding the Northport resident.

“Scott was a dedicated, beloved public servant who worked day in and day out to improve the lives of his fellow New Yorkers,” he said about Martella’s time working as an aide for New York. “Scott was always full of big ideas to help solve the toughest challenges of the day, and he was deeply respected for his strong work ethic, candor and fighting spirit. Long Island is a better place today because of his service and dedication to the community.”

Martella had a history of serving his community far earlier than working for Cuomo’s office. He was elected in 2009 as the youngest board member, at 22, for the Smithtown Central School District, and even served as vice president.

Theresa Knox served on the board with Martella in 2009, and said it was clear even then how successful he would be in life. She said despite his age, he was able to take his job very seriously — without taking himself too seriously.

“He could recently remember what it was like to be a student, so he understood just how these decisions would affect them,” she said. “He was always interested in learning, and he cared about the district so much. He was young, but he was really well suited [for being a member of the board].”

Scott Martella served as communications director for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Photo from Facebook
Scott Martella served as communications director for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Photo from Facebook

Knox said despite his maturity, there were still moments when he served where she saw him as another one of her kids — adding he was actually younger than her two oldest children.

“There were times when I could hear my own kids saying what he was saying,” she said. “But he was so mature, and you could tell he was going to have a fine career ahead of him.”

She said when he got the offer to work for Cuomo’s office, he saw it as an opportunity to be a clear advocate for the Smithtown community.

“He understood that this job was more than sitting behind a desk,” Knox said.

The Northport resident was named one of the winners of the 30 Under 30 Young Professionals award by the Huntington Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

In an Instagram post, the chamber said he was a “dedicated leader in various roles.”

Martella was driving a 2014 Honda with his fiancée Shelbi Thurau, 29, another Northport resident, when they were hit by a gray Subaru Outback while traveling west on the LIE towards Exit 68 at about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21.

Carmelo Pinales, the driver of the Subaru, lost control of the vehicle, which crossed over the grassy median, went airborne and struck two vehicles, according to police. He was driving with Winnifer Garcia, 21, of Hempstead, his sister Patricia Pinales, his 10-year-old son Cristopher Pinales, and his sister’s 3-year-old daughter.

Aside from Martella’s car, Pinales also hit a BMW. Inside, were driver Marvin Tenzer, 73, and his three passengers, Sandra Tenzer, 69; Helen Adelson, 69; and Isidore Adelson, 81.

Pinales was pronounced dead at the scene, along with his sister and Martella. Thurau, Garcia and the Tenzers were transported to local hospitals and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Cristopher Pinales was pronounced dead at Stony Brook University Hospital after succumbing to his injuries later that day, police said, as well as Adelson. His wife Helen Adelson was pronounced dead on Monday at Stony Brook University Hospital.

This version correctly spells the first name of Carmelo Pinales’ 10-year-old son.