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Long IslandCrime

Garbage truck crushes car, kills Fort Salonga woman

Family handout showing Deborah Shavalier, at left, who

Family handout showing Deborah Shavalier, at left, who was killed when her car was crushed by a garbage truck on Monday, June 29, 2009, in Northport. Her son Erik, is at the center, and her husband David James, is at right. Photo Credit: Handout photo, Newsday

A Fort Salonga woman was killed Monday morning in East Northport after a garbage truck overturned onto her car, crushing it, police said.

Deborah Shavalier, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. The Jet Sanitation company driver, Robert Moore of Ridge, told authorities the Mack truck's brakes failed near a busy East Northport intersection moments before the truck careened into the Honda Civic, Suffolk police said.

Relatives told Newsday the mother of two was driving to work at the Carle Place 1-800-FLOWERS corporate office after a weekend spent celebrating her son's high school graduation.

"It was probably a totally avoidable and senseless death. All death is incredibly painful, but avoidable and senseless death is doubly painful," her husband, David James, 61, said Monday. "I believe the police and the state Department of Transportation are doing a very thorough investigation because my understanding [is] my wife - it was not her fault at all."

Moore, 49, suffered minor injuries and was treated at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown and released, police said. He was licensed to operate the truck, police said.

The truck is registered to the Islandia-based Jet Sanitation Service Corp. A man answering the phone at the company's office declined to comment on the accident.

Around 8:15 a.m., police said, Moore was westbound on Pulaski Road toward an incinerator about a mile away when, he told investigators, his brakes gave out near Bread and Cheese Hollow Road.

"He was gaining speed because there is a hill," said Det. Lt. Tom O'Heir of the Suffolk police Second Squad. "He had been attempting to stop, but his brakes were inadequate. He had a failure of the brake system."

To avoid running a red light and hitting vehicles in the intersection, Moore swerved right onto Bread and Cheese Hollow Road, authorities said. The truck then tipped over and landed on Shavalier's southbound vehicle.

The Suffolk police department's Motor Safety Carrier Unit is examining the truck's brakes and other equipment to determine whether the parts met safety standards, said Det. Sgt. Richard Auspaker of Suffolk's Second Squad. With Keegan Calligar and Joseph Mallia.

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