Matthew Grimaldi, Ward Melville HS teen killed after fall off Wading River bluff, remembered by family as 'a tremendous young man'
A high school senior from Lake Grove was killed when he fell off a Wading River bluff Sunday and became impaled on a downed tree limb, Riverhead police said Monday.
Matthew Grimaldi, 18, had been at a party on a section of Hulse Landing Beach owned by the Oakwood on the Sound Homeowners Association when he and other youths climbed the bluff, police said. On the way down, Grimaldi lost his footing and fell, police said.
The accident was reported about 6:55 p.m. Sunday, according to police. Grimaldi was pronounced dead on arrival at Peconic Bay Medical Center, police said.
He was remembered Monday by family as an "outgoing" young man with aspirations to study engineering.
Grimaldi "was just a tremendous young man. Very courteous. Very smart. Always thinking about others," said his uncle, Rob Luizzi, of Queens, yesterday.
Luizzi said Grimaldi and his twin brother, John Grimaldi, were seniors at Ward Melville High School set to graduate next month.
Matthew Grimaldi planned to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam in the fall to study engineering and wanted to "expand his horizons," Luizzi said.
Alan Baum, principal at Ward Melville High School, sent an email and phone message to students Monday, saying the school planned to make its social workers, psychologists and guidance counselors available beginning Tuesday for as long as needed.
"I know that many of you were close to Matt and his family. It is very difficult to deal with any loss, especially one who was so young and close to many," Baum said in the email. "Matt was well-liked by so many. I am sure you will join me in extending our deepest sympathies to Matt's family during this most difficult time."
Cheryl Pedisich, superintendent of Three Village Central School District, said in a statement: "The Three Village Board of Education and administration are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of Ward Melville High School senior Matthew Grimaldi. Such a devastating and sudden loss like this can have a profound effect on the entire school community."
Pedisich said "the district extends our prayers and deepest condolences to Matthew's family and friends during this difficult time."
Grimaldi played basketball in a local league and "loved his dogs" Bella and Mason, said Luizzi. He was also a big fan of the University of Texas, where he hoped to go one day, Luizzi said.
Luizzi said Sunday's "tragic accident" came just as the family planned to celebrate the accomplishments of the brothers.
"The family is mourning," Luizzi said.
Riverhead police said the investigation continues and anyone with information can call 631-727-4500, ext. 332.