Claude Kebbe said the stretch of Montauk Highway in Westhampton where his wife, Christine Kebbe, and another driver were killed in a head-on collision Friday is "a very dangerous curve" that has been the scene of many accidents.
Christine Kebbe, 63, of Remsenburg, and William Vogel, 89, of Cutchogue, died after Vogel’s 2010 Honda Accord crossed from the westbound to eastbound lane of Montauk Highway near Tanners Neck Lane and into the path of Kebbe, who was driving eastbound in a 2008 Honda CRV, Southampton Town police said in a statement.
"It’s a blind intersection, so if you’re going east or west, you can’t see them coming," said Claude Kebbe, 69, a retired FDNY firefighter who lived nearby with his wife and their 14-year-old daughter, Chloe. "It just pops up on you. So she had no time to move."
That’s especially true on a rainy afternoon such as on Friday, he said.
CPR was performed on Kebbe and Vogel en route to Peconic Bay Medical Center after the 2:08 p.m. crash, but they were pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
Claude Kebbe called his wife "the most giving person in the world. She would never say a bad word about anyone to anybody. She was that kind of person. She would always help out."
The couple married in 1993. They bought their home in Remsenburg in 1998 and spent each June to September there, along with weekends the rest of the year, when they would drive from their home in Astoria, Queens.
"We went back and forth," he said. "It was fun. We had the best of both worlds for a long time."
In mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the family to move full-time to Remsenburg. They opted to let Chloe finish the 2020-21 school year in Westhampton before deciding whether to return to Queens for most of the year.
Kebbe grew up in Baldwin, and before the pandemic, she worked at her brother’s flower shop in Baldwin, Wick’s Florist, her husband said.
"She was very, very well-liked because she would go to people’s homes at Christmas and Thanksgiving and decorate everybody’s homes," he said.
Her specialty was floral arrangements for weddings, but with no large weddings because of COVID-19, she hadn’t been working the past few months, he said.
Christine Kebbe was an avid ballroom dancer and won contests, Claude Kebbe said.
"She loved that immensely," he said.
Kebbe said his wife survived breast cancer in the early 2000s and had an appointment with her oncologist on Wednesday for her annual checkup.
"She was always looking at the bright things in life," he said.
A woman who answered the phone at Vogel's house declined to comment.
Dalia Gorman, who lived two doors down from Vogel, described him as "upbeat and optimistic, always. I always admired his outlook on life."
Gorman would bump into him regularly at the post office when he was picking up his mail.
"I was surprised to see him driving," she said. "But he would manage. He was incredible. He would walk and get in the car and wanted no help."
Gorman said Vogel was invariably friendly when she walked by his house and he would wave from his porch, where he would spend a lot of his time.
"I really loved that about him," she said. "It was a pleasure to say hello to him. He’d start talking about the weather or about whatever it was on his mind."
Claude Kebbe said their family's beloved dog, Cooper, a 4-year-old terrier and Brittany spaniel mix, was injured in the accident — he had a swollen head and a red eye — and was treated at the Southampton Animal Shelter. Claude picked up Cooper Saturday morning.
"He’s kind of lost, looking for her, looking for her, looking for her," Claude said. "And that breaks my heart."