LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 55-year-old mother was killed and her teenage daughter was injured when they were hit by a car just after leaving church in Lindenhurst, Long Island Sunday morning.
Suffolk County police said around 9:10 a.m., Diane Aluska and her 16-year-old daughter, Jenna, were walking on the sidewalk in front of 225 South Wellwood Ave. between East Hoffman and East Gates avenues in Lindenhurst.
They were struck by a 2005 Toyota Corolla whose driver was backing out of a diagonal parking space, police said.
“She had thought that she had put it in drive,” Suffolk Police Detective Sergeant James Murphy said of 80-year-old Ann Riolo. “She left it in reverse, hit the gas, started speeding backwards, lost control, and jumped the sidewalk.”
Diane Aluska was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, police said. Jenna Aluska and Riolo were taken to the same hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Witnesses say Aluska saved her daughter’s life by pushing her out of the way.
“At the last second you could see the mother kind of throw the daughter out of the way and sacrifice herself to try and save her own daughter so that was pretty heartfelt,” Joe Biggs told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Biggs says the Aluskas just left his bakery on South Wellwood after attending 8 a.m. mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help across the street.
“A terrible tragedy,” church pastor Monsignor Joseph DeGrocco said. “Terrible day to have this happen.”
Msgr. DeGrocco says the entire parish is in mourning.
On the Lindenhurst street where the Aluskas live, neighbors tell CBS2 Diane’s husband works for the local post office and she worked in an office for the town of Babylon.
Neighbor Jim Conrad saw Diane and Jenna together and happy on Friday.
“It stuns you,” he said. “I can’t believe she’s passed.”
No charges are expected, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reports.
The Corolla was impounded for safety checks, police said. The investigation continued Sunday afternoon, and anyone with information was asked to call the Suffolk County Police First Squad at (631) 854-8152.