Saturday, July 14, 2012

Electrician Killed On The Job By Drunk Driver

A boozed-up, unlicensed driver struck and killed an electrician working on a Queens highway last week. Frank Avino, 63, of Ronkonkoma, was hit around 11a.m. last Wednesday, as he was setting up cones in the left lane of the Grand Central Parkway, near Jewel Avenue. Mr. Avino, a Vietnam vet who worked for Welsbach Electric, died at the scene. The 26-year-old driver was taken into custody and charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI and resisting arrest.

Avino, a electrician for Welsbach Electric Corp., was doing work for the New York City Department of Transportation at the time of the accident. Welsbach has a contract with the city to install and maintain streetlights in Queens, including on the Grand Central Parkway.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and to his loved ones. This incident reminds us of so many other tragedies on our streets caused by speeding and by drunk and reckless driving, and we will not let up in our efforts to fight each on every front,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

"He was a great guy, a family man, and a grandfather,” said a co-worker who witnessed the accident.

“What a way to go. You can protect yourself all you want, but if there’s a drunk driver who swerves into the road, there’s nothing you can do.”

Mr. Avino had just celebrated his son’s college graduation in May. "He was the best guy in the world. He's a great uncle, my Aunt's heart and soul, and a dedicated father," said his niece, Christina Ventola.

The driver, Munshi Abdullah, who hails from Qatar, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI and resisting arrest. Authorities said Abdullah, was driving without a license.

“He was drunk as a skunk,” said one police officer at the scene. "He just destroyed a family. I hope they throw the book at him."