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Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Five injured in DWI-related collisions over the weekend
Firefighters, police respond to two major accidents on Park Avenue
City of Long Beach Fire Department/Facebook
Long Beach firefighters responded to an accident on Saturday that left four people injured.

Five people were seriously injured in separate motor vehicle accidents over the weekend, and police said that two drivers were arrested for DWI.

The first crash happened last Saturday morning, when four people were hurt in a "major" collision at the intersection of West Park Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard.

Long Beach Fire Department Chief Richard Corbett said that firefighters and police responded to the call at 5:39 a.m. First arriving LBFD staff units and ambulances were on scene within a minute of the call, said Corbett, who led the rescue operation.

The incident occurred when the driver of a Lexus carrying two passengers, and traveling east on Park Avenue, struck a Toyota stopped at a red light in the left lane. LBPD spokesman Lt. Eric Cregeen said that the rear-end crash propelled the Toyota into the median, while the Lexus careered into a light post in the middle of the intersection.

“After [the driver of the Lexus] strikes the other car in the rear, he strikes the light pole,” Cregeen said.

Both cars were mangled, and firefighters extricated the occupants from the vehicles. Long Beach Fire Department ambulances transported three victims to South Nassau Communities Hospital, and another patient to Nassau University Medical Center, all with traumatic injuries, according to the Fire Department. Atlantic Beach Rescue and the Island Park Fire Department also responded to assist. An update on the status of the victims was not immediately available.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the LBPD, though Cregeen said police arrested the driver of the Lexus, 33-year-old Long Beach resident Byron Mitchell, and charged him with DWI.

On Sunday, firefighters and police responded to another call just after midnight, when a woman driving a white Toyota Camry lost control of the vehicle on East Park Avenue and Maple Boulevard as she headed east in the right lane. The woman veered off the road and struck a utility pole and a tree near the Maple Boulevard firehouse.

Cregeen said the woman, 25-year-old Lauren Duffy of Massapequa, sustained an arm and leg injury, and was taken to SNCH. She was also arrested and charged with DWI, Cregeen said.

Corbett said that Duffy escaped the vehicle, and that her injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

PSEG Long Island was on the scene to assess the damage to the utility pole and make repairs, which fell next to the firehouse.


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Dear Editor:

As I write this letter, I do so with a heavy heart as I am reading yet again, another local story about the DWI crashes that continue to take place on a daily basis. A heavy heart, because I, like all too many others have had the personal experience of knowing what it is to have my family affected by someone else’s poor choice to drink and drive; first as a young wife, and then years later, as a mother.

That I am here to tell you that there is nothing more emotionally devastating then to suddenly find yourself and your young children left to live the remainder of your life without someone you deeply love and all because someone else felt its okay to get behind the wheel and drive while impaired. That I am here to tell you that there is nothing more emotionally painful to experience as a mother, then to suddenly find yourself standing in the hallway next to the trauma unit in a hospital, helplessly listening the agonizing cries of your adult child while his injuries are being evaluated without the aid of any pain medication; injuries that were the result of being struck head-on by a drunk driver while crossing the street. Heart wrenching cries that literally tear your heart apart!

That I ask each and every person who thinks its okay to drive impaired, “why would you be willing to take such deadly risk with your life and the lives of others?” That I ask each and every parent who is willing to host a party where alcohol is being served to underage youth, “why would you be willing to place their precious young lives in such jeopardy?”

Bottom line, summer is just around the corner and as such, am whole-heartedly pleading with each and every person reading this letter to please “think twice” when it comes to each and every situation relating to drinking and driving, which includes getting into a car being driven by an impaired driver, for once a deadly choice is made, there is no going back for anyone involved. Just a lifetime sentence of death, loss, injury and deep emotional wounds that time can never really heal. A horrific, life changing tragedy that is absolutely, 100% PREVENTABLE.

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