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Officials: Shoreham-Wading River High senior hurt in car crash dies

Melissa Marchese was to graduate June 28 and

Melissa Marchese was to graduate June 28 and attend the University of Hartford in the fall. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

A Shoreham-Wading River High School senior seriously hurt in a car accident on her way to a school ceremony Thursday night has died of her injuries, Suffolk police and school officials said Saturday.

Melissa Marchese, 18, of Shoreham, was a standout softball and basketball player for the Wildcats. Marchese had committed in December to play softball at the University of Hartford. She was to graduate June 28.

"The Shoreham-Wading River School District community is devastated to learn of the tragic loss of one of our students who was involved in a motor vehicle accident Thursday night," the district said in a statement. "Please know we will be here to support our students through this very difficult time."

Suffolk County police confirmed Marchese's death in a news release Saturday. 

Cars packed a parking lot near the school's library Saturday evening after students were invited to gather at the library, with staff present to support them. In addition, the district's statement said, "our full mental health team will be available and ready for students as they return to school next week." 

"Most importantly, we extend our deepest condolences to the individual’s family and friends and we continue to keep all those involved and impacted by this tragedy in our thoughts during this very difficult time."

Witnesses told investigators that a Hyundai Elantra with Marchese and two other teens going south on Miller Avenue was turning left onto Route 25A when it was hit by a Honda Accord that ran a red light as it traveled west on Route 25A, police said.

Marchese, the Hyundai's backseat passenger, sustained serious head injuries and was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, police said.

The Hyundai driver, Evan Flannery, 17, and another passenger, Caroline Tyburski, 18, both of Shoreham, were taken to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Flannery and Tyburski are fellow seniors.

The Honda driver, Michael Troiano, 34, of Ridge, was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Troiano told detectives that he took his eyes off the road for an instant when he was distracted by something in the car. Investigators checked his cellphone to determine if he was texting and administered drunken driving tests but did not find any criminality Thursday night, police said.

Seventh Precinct detectives urge anyone with information to call them at 631-852-8752.

The three teenagers had just left home to go to the high school, where seniors were being honored, when the crash occurred around 6:50 p.m., police said. 

Thursday was the last day of classes at the high school, according to the online school calendar, and the High School Senior Recognition Night ceremony was set for 7 p.m.

On Friday, before news of Marchese’s death, Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Gerard Poole said the high school was canceling finals for the day.

“There will be no negative impact on any student final grades as a result,” the district said in a statement.

A Gofundme page to support the Marchese family had raised $46,760 as of Saturday night. An initial post on the page read, “Our sweet, wonderful girl, Melissa Marchese was injured in a motor vehicle accident on June 13, 2019. Let’s all get behind Melissa and her family.”

According to the page, 660 people contributed to the campaign, which had a goal of raising $60,000.

With Ellen Yan

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