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Yaphank crash kills Middle Island man, his parents, say cops

Chandan Gavai, 38, left, was killed and his

Chandan Gavai, 38, left, was killed and his wife Manisha Surwade, 32, right, was critically injured Monday night, July 4, 2016, in a Yaphank crash where Gavai's parents visiting from India, also died. Credit: Facebook

Three people killed in a fiery head-on collision that also claimed the life of the driver who police said caused the crash were identified Wednesday as a Middle Island man and his parents visiting from India.

Suffolk police said Chandan Gavai, 38, the driver of a 2014 Nissan Altima, his father, Kamalnayan Gavai, 74, and mother, Archana Gavai, 60, died after the crash at about 10:46 p.m. on July Fourth.

Chandan Gavai was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said. His father, in the front passenger seat, and his mother, in the back seat, died at the scene on Yaphank-Middle Island Road near the Middle Island Country Club.

Chandan Gavai’s wife, Manisha Surwade, 32, remained in critical condition Wednesday at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, police said.

The couple’s infant son, whose first name is Ibhan, according to a family friend, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and remained hospitalized Wednesday at Stony Brook University Hospital, authorities said.

The five were heading home after watching Fourth of July fireworks, said Manish Sandbhor, the family friend.

Police said Gustave Geyer, 25, of Ridge, drove his Chevy pickup recklessly southbound when he passed a vehicle on a two-lane stretch of road before slamming into the northbound Nissan. The crash occurred in a no-passing zone, police said.

Geyer was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Sandbhor, 33 of Nashua, New Hampshire, said Surwade remained unconscious Wednesday but is “fighting for her life.”

“Manisha is a very strong person,” Sandbhor said.

After police notified him of the collision, Sandbhor said he drove to Long Island. He described Chandan Gavai as a close friend who was “easy going.”

The pair logged many adventures together that Surwade planned, including indoor sky diving in New Hampshire.

“We had really good memories,” Sandbhor said.

Family members also rushed to Long Island, including a cousin from Iowa, according to Dutt Tarigoppula, president of the India Society at Stony Brook, a cultural organization trying to raise money to help the couple with burial costs and other expenses.

According to Chandan Gavai’s LinkedIn page, he was educated at the University of Mumbai in India and worked as a senior programmer analyst at the Brentwood offices of Broadridge, a Lake Success-based financial services technology company.

The couple, married in India in January 2011, was looking forward to celebrating Ibhan’s first birthday on Aug. 8, Sandbhor said. Surwade had a small guest list, including her parents who were scheduled to arrive from India two days before Ibhan’s big day.

Instead, they will arrive Thursday.

“We’ll take care of Ibhan wherever he will be,” Sandbhor said.


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