By Cory James

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens family is mourning the death of a husband and father who was killed while changing a tire on the Long Island Expressway.

Jean Louis was on his way to pick up his wife from work at a nursing home when he had to change a tire.

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It’s a tragic ending to what had been a normal routine.

CBS2’s Cory James spoke with the man’s devastated daughter.

“A loving man who was always the life of the party, always funny,” Gloria Louis told James.

Through a screen door, the daughter of 52-year-old Louis spoke to James about her father, a man she says had a big personality, and a bigger heart.

“He was a sweet man,” she said.

Sadly, police say Jean Louis was hit and killed on the Long Island Expressway while trying to fix his flat tire during the middle of the niight.

“He was just trying to pick up my mom from work I don’t even know what happened,” Gloria said.

The accident just after midnight Monday. According to officers, Jean Louis stopped his car on the left shoulder of the westbound LIE near the College Point Boulevard exit. That is where the NYPD says a driver behind the wheel of a Tesla hit him.

A woman named Marcia from Cambria Heights heard about the accident on the news, but had no idea the man hit was her neighbor.

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“It has to be heartbreaking to hear that. Changing a tire and got killed, that’s really hard. I’m so sorry about that,” Marcia said.

He was rushed less than a mile away to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he dided.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s tragic,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr. with AAA.

The tragedy is prompting a warning from experts. Sinclair says changing a tire roadside depends on the circumstances. He adds many of the roadways here predate modern transportation engineering, and do not have a shoulder wide enough to safely use.

“In that situation the best advice is to keep driving if you can, get to the nearest exit, get to the where a shoulder is,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair said:

  • If you’re broken down in the road stay in the vehicle, particularly at night, where other drivers can not see you and the likelihood of you being struck is very high
  • The best advice is remain in the vehicle, call AAA, call some roadside assistance, call the police and get them over there to help you

Police say the driver of the Tesla that hit Louis remained at the scene and is not facing any charges at this time.

Family members say Louis worked as a home health aide for over a decade, and drove for Uber before the pandemic hit. He leaves behind a wife of 25 years and two daughters. His youngest is only 9.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Squad is still piecing together the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident.

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Click here to donate to the family’s GoFundMe.

Cory James