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Cops: Driver dies after crash that sent vehicle into pizzeria

Karla Kovach, 52, of East Northport. She died

Karla Kovach, 52, of East Northport. She died in a four-vehicle crash on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, in East Northport. Credit: Kovach family

A driver was killed in East Northport late Monday when she hit two vehicles, sending one into a pizzeria and the other into the rear of another car that was stopped in traffic, Suffolk County police said.

Karla Kovach, 52, of East Northport, was killed in the four-vehicle crash on northbound Larkfield Road, near Fifth Avenue, just before 10 p.m., police said.

Her Kia hit a 2008 Nissan that was slowing in traffic, police said, and the Nissan, driven by Darin Costello, struck the side of Mario’s Pizzeria.

Kovach’s vehicle then spun into the rear of a 2013 Mercedes-Benz, driven by Elias François, sending the Mercedes into the rear of a 2011 Cadillac, which was stopped on Larkfield Road, police said.

Kovach was taken to Huntington Hospital — where she had been a longtime EKG technician and phlebotomist — and was pronounced dead.

Costello, 37, of Northport, was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore with serious injuries.

François, 46, of East Northport, and two passengers, both children, also were taken to Huntington Hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of the Cadillac, Anthony Nullet, 25, of East Northport, and his passenger were not injured, police said.

Detectives were trying to determine what caused Kovach to crash. The cause was also a mystery to her family members, who were grappling with whether it could have been a medical emergency since they could not recall Kovach having any critical health issues.

Just before the crash Monday, Kovach had finished dog-sitting and told friends she was at a Michaels craft store. She asked if they needed anything, said one of her sisters, Linda Toole of Spring Hill, Fla.

“She likes going after the holidays so she can get things inexpensive . . . and she could make more items,” Toole said.

Kovach took sand, shells, shark’s teeth and other items Toole and her fiance found on beaches and made them into holiday ornaments for guests at their wedding last month.

Making “anything and everything,” from gifts to gift tags, illustrated the caring side of Kovach, who would supplement her income with tending to people’s grandparents, children and pets — often for generations of the same families, Toole said.

As a single woman, she’d work the holiday shifts so her colleagues could spend time with their families, Toole said.

The family nicknamed her “Good Time Charlie” because she made them “roll on the floor” laughing.

“She really cared about people and wanted to make them happy,” Toole said.

Police impounded Kovach’s Kia for a safety inspection and ask anyone with information to call Second Precinct detectives at 631-854-8252.

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