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Southern State Parkway crash kills Central Islip woman, cops say

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A Central Islip woman died early Sunday, March 27, 2016, after she lost control of her car and crashed on the westbound Southern State Parkway in North Bellmore, State Police said. The victim, who police said was alone in the vehicle, was identified as 28-year-old Stephanie Francois. (Credit: Paul Mazza)

A Central Islip woman died early Sunday in a crash on the Southern State Parkway in North Bellmore, State Police said, and the victim’s father passed near the wreckage, apparently unaware his 28-year-old daughter was the victim.

The woman, who police said was alone in the vehicle, was identified as Stephanie Francois.

“The whole family is just shocked and devastated and asking why,” said Werlhens Francois, the victim’s stepbrother, who lives in Central Islip. “What an Easter Sunday.”

According to a State Police report, Francois was traveling west on the Southern State Parkway at a high speed shortly after 12:30 a.m. when she lost control of the 2010 Chevrolet she was driving. The car overturned onto the north shoulder between Exits 27 and 25, police said. Francois was pronounced dead at the scene and the accident is under investigation, police said.

Francois’ father, Fritz Francois, said Sunday he was driving to a local airport to drop off his son-in-law for a flight to Haiti when a State police officer diverted him and others from the Southern State Parkway due to the crash.

Francois said after leaving the airport he was driving to work when he got a call from a family member telling him his daughter was dead.

“My sister-in-law and her husband gave me the news,” he said. “They drove to my house from Freeport.”

Stephanie Francois was the mother of a son, Jayden, 6, her father said. She worked as a nurse at the Huntington Hills Center for Health & Rehabilitation in Melville.

“We’re really upset,” the center’s nursing supervisor, Helen Walsh said Sunday afternoon. “The patients really liked her and she went the extra mile. She worked way past her shift and was always bubbly and treated everybody respectfully and professionally.”

Walsh said Stephanie Francois worked at the center part time in the evenings and was hired less than a year ago.

Fritz Francois said his only daughter had four brothers, two living in Central Islip and two in Huntington.

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