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Greenlawn man struck by suspected drunken driver on LIE dies

The airport shuttle driver who police say was struck by a suspected drunken man driving the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway over the July Fourth weekend died Thursday, authorities said.

The shuttle driver, John Rey, 64, of Greenlawn, was pronounced dead at about 1 p.m. at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, where his family had held vigil since the early-morning crash in Queens, said a family friend, Jenna Bouvin.

"Everybody's devastated," Bouvin said Thursday.

Criminal charges against the suspected drunken driver, Dave Richards, 30, of Hempstead, are expected to be upgraded because Rey died, a law enforcement source said.

A spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, whose office is prosecuting the case, said Richards has not yet been arraigned on any charges because he's still hospitalized.

Richards is already charged with vehicular assault, drunken driving and reckless endangerment, officials said.

In the aftermath of the July 5 crash, Rey and Richards were both critically injured and were hospitalized beds away from each other.

The collision happened at about 6 a.m. between Exits 24 and 25 on the eastbound side of the expressway in Flushing, the New York City Police Department said at the time. Richards, in a 2002 Mercedes-Benz, struck Rey's van head on.

Rey had been on his way to pick up passengers to be brought to the airport, his son-in-law, Chris Cassar, said earlier this month. He was the sole occupant at the time of the crash.

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