A Selden man was fatally struck while walking back to his vehicle in the middle of the Long Island Expressway after inspecting a previous crash early Saturday morning, Suffolk County police said.
Eric Preto, 31, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said in a news release. His wife, Gabriella Preto, 29, and their 2-year-old son were taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Preto was driving a 2016 Nissan east in the expressway's middle lane near Exit 49, for Route 110, in Melville about 12:30 a.m. when he rear-ended a 2018 Mercedes-Benz driven by Madhava Reddy, 58, of Dix Hills, police said.
Preto got out of his car to check the damage and speak to Reddy, police said. The vehicles were too disabled to move and remained in the middle lane, police said.
As Preto walked back to his vehicle, he was struck by a 2015 Subaru, driven by Jennifer Massaro, 38, of Smithtown.
A 2017 Nissan, driven by Stephen Raia, 24, of Commack, then struck Preto's vehicle, police said. Reddy and Massaro also were taken to a hospital for evaluation. Raia was treated at the scene.
Sgt. Tom Seifert with the Suffolk police Highway Patrol, said Saturday night that motorists should not exit their vehicles after a crash, and avoid checking on injuries to occupants in other vehicles.
“The message we want to get out, if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, remain in your vehicle with your seat belt affixed — all occupants. If at all possible, move to the shoulder, the right shoulder. Once you're out of the roadway, you can call 911," Seifert said.
Once pulled to the shoulder, especially if visibility is low, drivers should turn on their hazard lights, Seifert said.
At the scene early Saturday, patrol officers examined three cars with significant damage as they waited for detectives to arrive.
Police impounded the four vehicles for a safety check. The investigation shut down parts of the expressway for several hours overnight.
Detectives ask that witnesses contact the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.
Family members of the Pretos gathered at an East Northport home on Saturday afternoon, hugging one another tearfully outside. They declined to comment.
With Ellen Yan