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Young Father Killed In Chain Reaction Crash On Long Island Expressway

MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A deadly accident on the Long Island Expressway left a young father dead and several others injured Saturday morning.

The crash happened on the eastbound side just after midnight near Exit 49 where according to investigators, two cars were initially involved in a fender bender.

Police say 31-year-old Eric Preto, of Selden, rear ended a Mercedes driven by 58-year-old Madhava Reddy, of Dix Hills. Preto got out of his car to speak with Reddy, and on his way back to his Nissan he was struck by a Subaru driven by 38-year-old Jennifer Massar, of Smithtown.

Eric Preto
Eric Preto, 31.

A fourth vehicle driven by 24-year-old Stephen Raia of Commack then crashed into Preto's vehicle, which still had his wife and two-year-son inside at the time.

"He was an awesome family man," family friend Allana Schaffer said. "Every weekend they were outside doing things together."

Preto was pronounced dead at the scene. Reddy, Preto's wife and child, and Massaro were all taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Police say the deadly crash should serve as a reminder that if possible, move your car to the shoulder after a collision.

"If you were in a car accident we want you to stay in the vehicle," Sgt. Tom Seifert said. "Have your seatbelt affixed, have all the occupants stay in with their seatbelts on."

If you can, put on your hazard lights and stay in your vehicle even after highway patrol or any law enforcement arrives.

"Just because we're there doesn't alleviate the damage," Seifert said. "It's still very dangerous."

No charges were immediately filed, and police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

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