Six people were killed — including two members of the Westhampton Beach kehillah and a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and five others injured in a multi-car crash on the Long Island Expressway Sunday morning.
According to Suffolk County Police, at approximately 9:35 a.m., Carmelo Pinales, 26, was driving a Subaru Outback eastbound on the LIE, when it seems that he lost control of the car. The vehicle “crossed over the grassy median, went airborne and struck two vehicles, a BMW and a Honda, that were travelling westbound near Exit 68,” according to the police statement.
Carmelo Pinales and his sister Patricia Pinales, 27, were pronounced dead at the scene. Carmelo’s 10-year-old son Christopher was brought to Stony Brook University Hospital in a police helicopter but later died of his wounds. Two others in the vehicle sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Honda, Scott Martella, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene. Martella was the communications director for Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone. He had previously served as an aide to Gov. Cuomo for four years. Martella’s fiancée, Shelbi Thurau, 29, was also in the vehicle and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Isidore “Itchy”Adelson, z”l, and his wife Helen, a”h, both 81, who were traveling in the BMW, suffered critical injuries and were transported to the hospital. Itchy was niftar on Sunday night and Helen on Monday.
The Adelsons were traveling to a wedding in New Jersey with their friends, ybl”c, Marvin and Sandra Tenzer. Mr. Tenzer — an attorney who led successful litigation a decade ago defending the eruv in Tenafly, NJ., as well a successful case recently concluded in favor of an eruv in portions of the Hamptons — and Mrs. Tenzer sustained injuries but are expected to fully recover.
The Adelsons and, ybl”c, the Tenzers, have long been beloved members of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach.
For many years, the Adelsons were among the shul’s few members who resided in the Hamptons year-round. Their friendly demeanor and ever-present sense of humor won the affection of both regulars in the community as well as the many who passed through the popular summer vacation spot.
Several years ago, Itchy made it a personal project to see that the shul would have a daily minyan throughout the year. It was a job that required constant phone calls and coordination. In an effort to further build a sense of community, Mr. and Mrs. Adelson prepared and organized a breakfast following Shacharis.
The Adelsons “were tireless and took great pride in forming the small tight-knit group into a solid community with a daily minyan,” Rabbi Avraham Bronstein, a former assistant Rabbi at the shul, told Hamodia.
“They made it into a real beis haknesses that brought Jews of all sorts of backgrounds together on a daily basis,” said Rabbi Bronstein. “People would sit and talk for hours; it was something to behold. They were both natural doers with a lot of energy, and complemented each other wonderfully.”
The Adelsons’ levayah will be held at The Hampton Synagogue on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., followed by kevurah at New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon.
In a statement Sunday, Cuomo expressed sorrow over the tragic deaths, particularly that of his former aide.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those lost in the accident that occurred on Sunday morning on the Long Island Expressway,” said Cuomo.
“Scott [Martella] was a dedicated, beloved public servant who worked day in and day out to improve the lives of his fellow New Yorkers. 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.
“I join all New Yorkers in mourning the passing of those lives lost, and my thoughts and prayers are with all Long Islanders during this extremely difficult time.”