Scene of crash on Straight Path.  (March 7, 2011)

Scene of crash on Straight Path. (March 7, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

A 57-year-old West Babylon woman who was a patient in an ambulette was killed and two men were hurt Monday afternoon when the vehicle collided with a flatbed truck in Wyandanch, Suffolk police said.

Michelle Garrett of Lakeway Drive was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip at about 1:45 p.m., about an hour after the accident, police said. Garrett was being taken home after treatment for lymphedema at Stony Brook University Medical Center according to her niece, Wendy Booker, 38, of Lindenhurst.

"She was just diagnosed with the problem in May," Booker said. "It causes swelling in the legs. This was the last week" of four weeks of daily treatment.

Garrett, who grew up in Farmingdale, lived in West Babylon with her only sister, Terry Booker. Garrett had one grown son, Demetrius Dixon of Centereach, and was the grandmother of four.

"She was the gel that kept our little close-knit family together," Wendy Booker said. "She was the caretaker of the family."

The driver of the ambulette, Gerard Gruenthal, 56, of Pinto Street in North Babylon, was listed in serious condition at Good Samaritan after the crash; the driver of the truck, Lynn Godwin, 42, whose address was not available, was listed in serious condition at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Det. Sgt. Marco Giudice said it was unclear how the crash occurred, but that it happened as Godwin was driving his truck northbound on Straight Path and Gruenthal was driving the ambulette southbound.

Michelle Garrett, in a photo provided by her family, was...

Michelle Garrett, in a photo provided by her family, was killed in a car accident in Wyandanch. Credit: Handout

Police said the Suffolk County Motor Carrier Safety Section and New York State Department of Transportation conducted safety checks on the vehicles, as part of the investigation that is still ongoing.

Giudice urged anyone with information about the crash to call the First Squad at 631-854-8152.

Funeral plans were incomplete, Booker said, but services were expected to be conducted at the In The Word Ministries on Gordon Avenue, West Babylon.

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