Alan Benosky, 86, a former Garden City history teacher, was killed late last month when he was struck by a minivan as he attempted to cross Jericho Turnpike.
A former Garden City High School history teacher was killed late last month when he was struck by a minivan at 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, as he attempted to cross Jericho Turnpike at Sagamore Avenue after buying groceries at King Kullen, police said.
At the time of the incident, Alan Benosky, 86, was crossing Jericho Turnpike north, where King Kullen is located, to south at Sagamore Avenue when a 1993 Chrysler minivan, heading eastbound on Jericho, driven by Bennett Manzella of Ozone Park, struck him. Benosky was transported to Winthrop-University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:05 p.m.
Manzella was charged with driving with a revoked license, a misdemeanor. According to police, Manzella did not answer summonses he received in the past, causing his license to be revoked.
Nassau County Homicide Detective Sergeant William Cocks said an investigation is continuing. However, Cocks said there is no indication the driver was speeding and does not believe alcohol was involved in the accident. "It looks like he disregarded a traffic signal," Cocks said. "We've had some people say that he went through a light."
On Jericho Turnpike in the area of the accident, there is an overpass for the railroad. Motorists traveling eastbound on Jericho Turnpike temporarily lose view of the Elm Place traffic light, which is just past the overpass. Immediately after the Elm Place traffic light is the Sagamore
Avenue overpass, which is where Benosky was crossing. There is a blinking light just before the overpass, alerting eastbound motorists on Jericho that there is a traffic signal approaching. However, in this case, the driver may not have been paying attention.
"It's unfortunate. For whatever reason, he didn't see the pedestrian walking across the street," Cocks said. "He just wasn't paying the proper amount of attention."
Friends and acquaintances of Benosky remember him as a caring person and a classy individual who was very intelligent. He was a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in politics. Benosky, a veteran of World War II, was a member of the Albertson Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). He never married and was said to have nieces and nephews.
The superintendent at the building where he lived, Mike Fuentes, said Benosky lived alone and enjoyed walking. He will remember Benosky as someone who was willing to help anyone.
Carol Ann Markert, who lived in the same apartment complex as Benosky, described him as "old school," saying he did not even have a television and would occupy much of his time by reading.
Markert said about a year ago, Benosky was involved in a car accident and couldn't drive. "That just encouraged his walking even more," she said.
Fellow Albertson VFW member Bert Campbell remembers his friend as someone who dressed meticulously. "He was a real gentleman. If a lady was around, he would take his hat off," Campbell said, adding that Benosky was on the post's bereavement team, responsible for making sure members knew about funeral services when there was a death. Benosky also wrote for the Albertson VFW's newspaper Veteran's Voice.
VFW Albertson Post's Ladies Auxiliary President Ruth Simonson said at all of the posts affairs, Benosky would make sure a beautiful table was set for the prisoners of war and those missing in action. "He would just say, 'remember,' and it was such a stirring rendition," she said.
Lucille Finamore was known as Benosky's best friend as he would frequently visit and spend time with her. "We were always together," she said. "He was a precious guy."
As a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Finamore knew Benosky well for the last 11 years. "He was always so thoughtful. He loved to go to church. He also loved to go visit the people at the Veteran's Hospital. He used to go once a month," she said. "I haven't stopped crying."
Some of Benosky's acquaintances wonder why he was out after 9 p.m., walking to a store that was not in his immediate area. "Why he ventured out that late to the supermarket is a question mark," said a friend. "It was hot and sticky that day so he felt he would go out when the sun was down and it wasn't so hot. That's the only thing that we can think of as to why he ventured out that late to buy eggs and a ham steak. He probably felt he needed something for breakfast the next morning."
"His sight was not good, although the accident was not his fault," Markert said. "It's a bad area [for traffic]. It has been ever since I've lived in Mineola. I grew up here and it still is bad."