The scene of the crash on Saturday in Old Bethpage.

The scene of the crash on Saturday in Old Bethpage. Credit: John Scalesi

The perils of Long Island driving came into full view over the weekend, with a pair of fatal crashes Sunday in Suffolk bringing to four the number of people killed on Long Island roadways since Friday, when four others died after an SUV plowed into a Deer Park nail salon.

Two people died in the separate crashes Sunday, one in Deer Park, and another on the Robert Moses Causeway in West Islip. On Saturday, an Elmont man riding a motorcycle died in a crash on Old Country Road in Garden City. 

On Friday night, an allegedly intoxicated East Meadow woman driving an SUV in Old Bethpage struck a Toyota Corolla and killed the motorist, Nassau police said.

Hours before, Suffolk police said, a Dix Hills man, also allegedly intoxicated, drove a Chevrolet Traverse through the front window of Hawaii Nail & Spa on Grand Boulevard in Deer Park, killing four people inside and injuring 9.

The string of deadly wrecks came after the release of a study from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that found Long Island's 245 fatal crashes in 2022 led a statewide surge in traffic fatalities between 2019 and that year, with spikes in speeding and drunken driving since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Suffolk County police work the scene on Sunday in Deer...

Suffolk County police work the scene on Sunday in Deer Park where a man died after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving left Grand Boulevard and struck a tree. Credit: James Carbone

In 2022, Suffolk reported 162 traffic deaths and Nassau had 81, according to DiNapoli's report. A Newsday analysis of police traffic data shows that more than 70 people have died in fatal crashes on Long Island so far in 2024. 

Risky driving behavior can lead other motorists to emulate it, said Cynthia Brown, director of the nonprofit New York Coalition for Transportation Safety in New Cassel.

“I really think it's contagious, the bad behavior,” Brown told Newsday in an interview Sunday.

In the Old Bethpage crash Friday, Cheryl Bergenstock, 64, of East Meadow, was driving a 2023 Subaru Forester about 7:20 p.m. on Round Swamp Road near Winding Road when she struck a 2019 Toyota Corolla. The Corolla driver, Alan Goldsand, 82, of Old Bethpage, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, Nassau police said.

Bergenstock, who was also treated at a hospital, faces charges of second-degree driving while intoxicated and second-degree vehicular assault, police said. Arraignment details were not immediately available.

On Saturday, Sanan Malik, 28, of Elmont, was killed shortly after 4 p.m. in Garden City when his 2021 Kawasaki motorcycle collided with a 2007 Lexus on Old Country Road near Prescott Street, Nassau police said.

The driver of the Lexus, a 66-year-old man, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries, police said. The investigation into the Saturday crash is ongoing.

Malik was married and had 1-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, said his cousin Hadi Azam.

He had moved to the United States from Pakistan in 2008, owned two restaurants and was “very full of life,” Azam said. “He was a very good guy, a joyful person.”

Early Sunday, Dominick Benedetto, 51, of Deer Park, was operating a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette when it struck a tree on Grand Boulevard about 7 a.m. Benedetto was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan University Hospital, police said. An investigation is ongoing.

Details about a fatal Sunday crash on the northbound Robert Moses Causeway in West Islip were not released by State Police. The investigation is ongoing.

Separately, mourners on Sunday returned to the Deer Park shopping center where, according to Suffolk police, Steven Schwally, 64, of Dix Hills, had driven his 2020 Chevy Traverse into the front of Hawaii Nail & Spa about 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The salon was open and conducting business at the time of the crash that killed three people from Queens and an NYPD officer from Deer Park.

Schwally is charged with driving while intoxicated.

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