A Melville couple on an evening out in Massapequa Park died Saturday night after being struck by a car driven by a man police said had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.
Police on Sunday identified the victims as Barbara E. Glickman and Melvyn A. Glickman, both 77.
John Hartwig, 63, of East Massapequa was charged with two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of above 0.08, and driving while intoxicated in connection with the couple being hit as they were crossing Merrick Road, police said.
Hartwig’s blood-alcohol level was 0.13, officials said. In 2000, Hartwig pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired, records show.
“It’s shocking,” said Mark Glickman, 53, of Merrick, one of the couple’s three adult children. “Drunk drivers shouldn’t be on the road. It’s just horrible.”
Hartwig pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead, said his lawyer, William Petrillo of Garden City.
Dressed in blue jeans and a dark blue shirt, Hartwig said nothing in court. His wife and son were in court but declined to comment afterward.
Petrillo said Hartwig posted a $400,000 bond and was released from jail Sunday afternoon.
“Mr. Hartwig is a well-respected member of his community, a father of three and grandfather of five,” Petrillo said. “He is devastated over the loss of life in this accident and his thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ family.”
Leonard Rubin, 80, a neighbor of the Glickmans in their gated community on Morley Circle in Melville, said the couple on Saturday had returned from their home in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where Mark Glickman said his parents spent their winters.
As word of the Glickmans’ deaths slowly made its way through the Coves at Melville where they lived, Rubin said the loss left residents stunned. He said the community is popular with retirees and is the type of place where residents know one another.
“It’s just very sad,” said Rubin, a retired textile salesman.
He and his wife played cards with the Glickmans twice a week after the four became friendly three years ago.
“The Glickmans were wonderful,” Rubin said. “They were just very friendly.”
Homicide Squad detectives said that at 8:10 p.m. Saturday, the Glickmans were attempting to cross to the south side of Merrick Road just east of Park Boulevard when they were struck by an eastbound 2015 Ford Explorer driven by Hartwig.
According to court records, Hartwig said he “saw two people running across the street” and “heard the noise,” records said.
Al Horowitz, owner of Smokin’ Al’s Famous BBQ Joint where police said the Glickmans had been, said Sunday, “I’ve seen a couple accidents, but nothing this severe.”
“When they closed off the street I figured something serious had happened,” Horowitz said. “My heart goes out to the victims and their families. It’s very sad.”
A doctor who witnessed the accident stopped his car and assisted the couple, court records show.
Both victims were transported to a hospital where they were pronounced dead, police said.
Rubin said Barbara Glickman had called his wife on Saturday to let them know they had just returned earlier that day from Port St. Lucie. Rubin said he and his wife had visited the Glickmans at the couple’s Florida home and the four would go on tourist outings or take part in cultural activities.
“We did a lot of sightseeing, a lot of going to museums,” he said.
The Glickmans were seasoned ocean cruise travelers and the four friends had recently been discussing taking an Alaska cruise together.
Although the couple didn’t own any pets, Melvyn Glickman had such a soft spot for animals that he always had little snacks tucked away in case he and his wife came upon a dog.
“Believe it or not he always kept dog biscuits,” Rubin said. “Any dog they would see, he would take a dog biscuit out of his pocket and give it to them.”
With Deon J. Hampton
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that John Hartwig, who was charged with two counts each of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated after the car he was driving struck and killed a Melville couple, told police he had just left Smokin’ Al’s restaurant in Massapequa Park. In fact, the couple had left the restaurant, authorities said.