The Hungarian Hall in Ronkonkoma had about 80 people waiting in anticipation on Saturday night for Narciso Saravia and his wife Maria Saravia as they planned to celebrate Narciso Saravia’s 60th birthday with a surprise party.
“He didn’t know. He thought he was going to someone else’s birthday party,” Erik Saravia, 32, the couple’s son from Central Islip, told Newsday on Sunday.
Yet just before the party could begin, family members came into the hall bearing tragic news.
Shortly before 7 p.m., Narciso and Maria Saravia were crossing Ocean Avenue between Express Drive North and Michigan Street when they were struck by a southbound 2007 Hyundai Elantra, according to Suffolk police.
Narciso Saravia, 60, died at the scene. Maria Saravia, 59, was taken via Lakeland Rescue ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital where she died, police said.
“When my cousin walked in, they came in and said, ‘Come out, something happened.’ That’s it. They didn’t get to see us, they didn’t get to walk in. They were a few feet away. They didn’t get to walk in," Erik Saravia said. "As soon as we opened the door, we saw them laying there. We all ran out, traffic stopped and we just saw them there. I kept going back and forth between both of them to see (if they were alive), but they were probably dead. At the moment, there was no reaction from then on. They were hit really hard."
Narciso Saravia emigrated from his native country of El Salvador to the United States in the 1980s, where he had obtained a job doing factory and assembly work for the last 30 years while raising a family, according to Erik Saravia, who spoke with Newsday outside the family's home in Central Islip. Erik's mother, Maria Saravia, had once done similar work, but she had retired and was a stay-at-home mom for the last 10 years, Erik Saravia said.
Whenever he wasn’t working, Narciso Saravia liked to play soccer and spend time with his family, according to his son.
“He would hang out with me on Saturday evenings and Sundays with the family. We’d have a couple of beers, and that’s about it. He didn’t really have too many hobbies, but they were great people, everyone loved them,” Erik Saravia said.
Juan Torres said he and his family were at their home near the site of the accident on Ocean Avenue in Ronkonkoma. Torres said they heard the commotion outside and noticed emergency vehicles.
“We just kind of heard the impact and the people screaming,” Torres said.
Torres said that the street has frequent accidents, though nothing he had seen was as severe as the Saturday crash.
“We never heard of something like this before, but there’s a lot of crashes on this road,” Torres said, adding that he and his wife saw the need for a traffic light at the intersection. “Between I-495 and here, you can get a lot of speed from there to here, so a light would be good there.”
Suffolk police said the accident is not considered a criminal matter and it is unlikely the driver, who was not injured, will face charges. The couple was not in a crosswalk when they were hit, police said.
The Hyundai was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to contact the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452.
With Vera Chinese and Michael O'Keeffe