A young mother returning home after walking her 5-year-old son to the bus stop Tuesday morning was struck and killed in front of her East Islip home alongside the family dog.
Police say Skye Brunetti, 25, was struck by a 2007 Chrysler sedan that had “left the roadway” heading west on Union Boulevard, west of Harwood Avenue, at about 9:10 a.m. The car, driven by Barbara Cottone, 50, also of East Islip, then hit a utility pole, severing it, police said.
Brunetti was pronounced dead at the scene, as was her dog, police said. Cottone, who was not charged, was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore to be treated for minor injuries, police said.
Friends describe Brunetti as a devoted single parent whose little boy, Antonio, was perpetually on her hip.
Keith Miller, 49, who said he has known Brunetti for more than a dozen years through his own children, said: “It is really tragic that this happened to this girl,” he said. “She has been in my house many times for dinner, parties, barbecues. When my son passed away in September, she was here every single day...She was outgoing, smart – you name it.”
Peter Spina III, 55, has known Brunetti for more than two decades and organized an online fundraising drive to raise money for her funeral expenses and her son.
“Skye was a friend of my daughter’s since elementary school,” Spina said. “I’ve seen her grow up over the years. She was a very funny person, very vibrant. She was very loving toward her son and would do anything for him. She put her son first,” he said
Friends for two years, Jeanine Lauria, 24, said they would have coffee together nearly every day. The last time Lauria saw Brunetti was on Sunday for a Starbucks run.
“She was always easy to talk to,” Lauria said. “She was very warm and welcoming.”
Lauria said “She was Antonio’s hero, hands down,” she said. “She loved her son more than anything in this entire world. She was also a good mom to my son, too. She loved him so much.”
More than 75 people gathered outside Brunetti’s home Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil. Some carried roses or carnations while others brought mylar balloons reading, “I love you.”
Antonio knelt before dozens of glowing white candles and carefully rearranged the flowers left in honor of his mom.
Thomas Lindner, 56, who said he was like a father to Brunetti, said he was proud of how well she had raised her boy, who he described as polite and happy.
Mother and son took frequent trips to the library and out walking their dog, Jacks, said Lindner, of Bay Shore. “They were inseparable,” he said of Antonio and his mother.
Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation. Anyone with information may call the Third Squad at 631-854-8352.
With John Valenti