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May 6, 2009 1:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two hurt after car hits utility pole, bursts into flames

May 6, 2009 1:01 PM

A car split into two pieces and burst into flames after spinning out of control and slamming into a utility pole along the southbound lanes of County Road 51 in Northampton at around 4 p.m. on Monday, according to Eastport Fire Department officials.

Elyse Gonzalez, 19, of Center Moriches was driving the car and her boyfriend, Sean Burch, 21, of Manorville was seated beside her at the time of the accident, according to Suffolk County Police.

Anthony Moccio of Riverhead, who just happened to be driving on County Road 51 at the time of the accident, pulled both Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Burch out of the car before it burst into flames, according to Mr. Burch’s mother, Melody Van Hecker of Manorville.

“They owe their lives to Anthony,” Ms. Van Hecker said on Wednesday. “He pulled them out of the car when it was burning.”

Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Burch were both transported by Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

A man who would only identify himself as Ms. Gonzalez’s uncle said Tuesday that his niece and her boyfriend were transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center on Monday night. He said that his niece suffered a ruptured spleen and a broken collarbone, as well as other injuries, in the accident.

Ms. Van Hecker said her son suffered second- and third-degree burns on the left side of his body, broken ribs, and a deep cut on the back of his neck. She also said that he was transferred to Stony Brook.

Officials with Stony Brook University Medical Center said Tuesday that they did not have any information on Ms. Gonzalez.

Ms. Gonzalez was driving a 1991 Nissan Maxima south on County Road 51 when it spun out, hit a utility pole and burst into flames, said Eastport Fire Department First Assistant Chief Ryan King.

Police said that Monday’s slick road conditions, caused by the rain, might have contributed to the accident.

The utility pole struck by the car broke in half, sending one high tension wire to the ground, and power outages were reported in the area, Mr. King said. Workers with the Long Island Power Authority were on the scene by about 4:45 p.m. to repair the pole.

Southampton Town and Suffolk County police closed both southbound lanes of County Road 51 from the road’s intersection with Speonk-Riverhead Road to just beyond the accident site, about a mile north of the intersection of County Road 51 and Eastport Manor Road. One lane was reopened at 5 p.m., and the other lane was opened at 7:10 p.m., police said.

The investigation was continuing.

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They're lucky they weren't killed or more severely injured !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on May 5, 09 1:34 PM
im glad too hear shawn and elyse are ok!!!!!!!!!!! they are in my prayers
By anthonymoccio (3), Riverhead on May 5, 09 7:49 PM
Wow! They sure are lucky that Anthony Moccio was there to save them. What a true Hero this man is. He should be very proud of himself and the others involved should be very grateful. All of them are in my prayers! Salute' to a job well done!
By ET66 (12), SOUTHAMPTON on May 6, 09 12:45 PM
Mr. Moccio - You are truly a hero
By jacks (70), hampton bays on May 6, 09 4:10 PM
Mr. Moccio words can not express our gratitude for your quick thinking, selfless actions and bravery. Our daughter is alive because of you!!! THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS, ELLIE'S MOM & DAD, David & Tammy Gonzalez
By sunk1ssd (1), Center Moriches on May 6, 09 8:52 PM
thank you for all the kind comments i appreciate everything and im just glad i was able too help!!! i truly hope for a bright future for those too kids they deserve it their the true survivours they survived that crash and gave me a chance to help....god bless you all
By anthonymoccio (3), Riverhead on May 6, 09 9:14 PM
You are to modest our children would not be here if you and your family were not there. I will always be eternally grateful for saving their lives so they can have that future. Thank you, Melody VanHecker
By harmonie63 (1), manorville on May 7, 09 12:24 AM
This road is unsafe, people regularly go 80+ on it....
By slamminsammy (104), Hampton Bays on May 9, 09 10:24 PM
It's heartwarming to read a story where good comes from bad. Too many folks would have just passed by and done nothing. My grandmother used to say that angels did walk among us. Mr. Moccio is proof she was right. Mr. Moccio - you are a hero. You risked your own life to save not one, but two strangers in need. May God bless you.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on May 11, 09 10:28 AM
to whoever is claiming that he did everything from bending the door too pull that girl out too helping shaun needs to get his facts straight and stop the b.s cause i never once said that he didnt help get the girl out but for him to say he did everything is obsurd and ridiculous....the only thing i care about is the fact that their gonna be ok so if it makes him feel like more of a man by lying then go right ahead im not in it for the recognition i didnt have to pull over and do anything that is ...more
By anthonymoccio (3), Riverhead on May 11, 09 2:09 PM