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Athanasios Cheliotis identified as fatal crash victim

Police investigate a fatal accident on Merrick Road

Police investigate a fatal accident on Merrick Road at Soma Avenue in Bellmore after a Wantagh man was pulled from the wreckage by witnesses to the crash, police said. (July 4, 2013) Credit: Jim Staubitser

A man killed in a July Fourth crash in Bellmore officially has been identified as Athanasios Cheliotis, 66, of Wantagh, Nassau County police said Monday.

Cheliotis died after being pulled from his burning car by passersby after a head-on collision on Merrick Road at 6:39 a.m. Thursday, police said.

The victim, known as "Tommy," was co-owner of Concord Diner in Valley Stream.

"I'm going to miss him," Charlie Tsemplis, another co-owner of the diner, said last week. "We had a beautiful 33 years. We never had any problems."

The collision occurred near Soma Avenue, police said.

Police said Cheliotis was driving his 2001 Toyota Camry westbound when it collided with an eastbound vehicle driven by a 23-year-old woman.

His car then burst into flames, police said.

After being pulled from the wreck, Cheliotis was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the other car also was taken to NUMC, where she was initially listed in stable condition, police said.

The status of her recovery was not known Monday.

With Christopher Peak and Jennifer Barrios

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