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Paramedic killed in Staten Island crash

A paramedic at Staten Island University Hospital was fatally injured Monday evening when the ambulance he was driving collided with a car on Hylan Boulevard in the Eltingville area of Staten Island, officials said.

David Restuccio, 58, was pronounced dead at the hospital where he worked a short time after the 7 p.m. accident. The driver of the car, identified as Benjamin Budzaku, 20, of Staten Island, also was killed, officials said.

Police said the 2009 BMW driven by Budzaku was northbound on Hylan Boulevard about 7:05 p.m. when it crossed the median and struck the ambulance head-on. An investigation was continuing, police said.

Before joining the staff of the Staten Island hospital about five years ago, Restuccio had been with the Emergency Medical Service of the FDNY for 25 years, retiring as a lieutenant in 2006.

He had been dispatched to the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, 2001, and was interviewed live by NBC's Brian Williams as 7 World Trade Center collapsed.

Restuccio told Williams he was stationed at North Moore and Greenwich streets, about 11 blocks north of Ground Zero. Williams asked him if he could confirm that the cloud viewers could see was the tower collapsing. "Yes, sir," Restuccio replied.

The anchor then asked him if the FDNY knew the building was expected to collapse. Restuccio said: "We had heard reports that the building was unstable and that it eventually would either come down on its own or it would be taken down. I would imagine it came down on its own." The interview, still on YouTube, ends at that point.

Restuccio's family could not be reached. Michael Hagai, 31, a friend and longtime neighbor of Restuccio on Sheraden Avenue, described him as "a really great guy." He said Restuccio was a camping enthusiast who had a mobile home in his driveway, but that he went camping less as he grew older.

The Staten Island Advance reported that a patient in the ambulance, Luis Rodriguez, 34, was in fair condition at the hospital and the ambulance's other paramedic, Yusuke Yonehara, 34, was in stable condition.

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