UPDATE: A father of four who owned and operated a popular Italian grocery on Route 9W was killed in a freak accident on the Palisades Interstate Parkway that seriously injured two of his children late Sunday afternoon.
Anthony Apostolico, the 48-year-old owner of The Italian Food Center in West Haverstraw, was a passenger in a pickup truck that was smashed by a falling tree on the northbound parkway near Exit 16 in Stony Point, authorities said.
The driver of the 2018 Ford F-150, Vincent A. Apostolico, 20, and his sister, Elizabeth, 17, had to be extricated by firefighters.
Both were taken to Westchester Medical Center -- Vincent in critical condition via Hackensack University Medical Center's AirMed One medical chopper and Elizabeth by ambulance, responders said.
Their father was pronounced dead at the scene.
The tree fell from the east side shoulder, slicing the pickup containing the three family members from Chester, NY, in two.
The northbound PIP was closed for nearly four hours between Exit 15 (Route 210/Gate Hill Road) and Exit 16 (Lake Welch Drive) following the accident at mile marker 29.7 around 4 p.m.
"Anthony was the type of owner who prides himself in knowing your name, your favorite sandwich and whatever he had in common with you," a friend, David Kryger, wrote on Facebook.
"This man, (who I’ve watched grow from a teenager in this store to becoming its current owner) was one of the kindest, engaging business owners," Kryger wrote. "He typified what a community minded, generous, supportive person defines.
"Anthony supported countless organizations in North Rockland and beyond through his deli. He was a 30 year long good friend to our West Haverstraw fire company, Volunteer Hose and our department," he added. "On any given holiday, the line is still wrapped around the stores’ middle shelves and outside his front door.
"Busy all day, Anthony would always take a few minutes to walk and talk (work while talking to you). He would come out from the back if he heard your voice, or if you yelled his name, even if just to say hello," Kryger wrote. "Anthony was a family man, as evidenced by his kids whom you would see behind the counter. He was a super proud husband and father and loved to dote on them.
"Always with that smile, always with the kind words, always working so hard and so proud. He possessed the work ethic of 10 of us, yet never complained. Anthony would help you carry your order to your car, he would gladly give you an order on Tuesday and let you pay on Friday.
"Where things go from here may be unknown, but one thing is certain," Kryger noted. "The three communities that are hurting right now, North Rockland, his hometown of Monroe and all Rockland County small business owners, will rally to make sure his memory lives on and his family has whatever they will need.
"In these crazy times in which we are living, forget about the temporary inconveniences we are facing, forget about the gas prices, forget about your long commute to work, life is shorter than we think, take one day and don’t complain about anything.
"Be an Anthony Apostolico type of person, be kind, smile at someone, say hi to someone like he would, hold a door open for someone," he added. "Do this in memory of Anthony."
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