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Prosecutors: Drunken Driver Hit, Killed Gas Station Attendant Chasing Customer In Bergen County

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A gas station attendant was killed by an alleged drunken driver this week, as he ran across a busy New Jersey highway to collect money from a customer.

As CBS2's Steve Langford reported, gas station attendant Maninder Singh, 48, was running across Route 46 in Elmwood, New Jersey, when he was struck this past Tuesday night, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor's office.

He was chasing a woman who would not pay what she owed, according to shocked co-workers.

"He was a very nice man; very nice man; very hard working; good person; very good person," said Louis Aspras, a co-worker of Singh's.

Singh could be seen on surveillance video just before his death, dealing with the customer who colleagues said refused to pay for all the gasoline she asked for.

"She claimed she asked for $10 when he gave her $20, and then he ran to get the policeman," Aspras said.

A police officer's squad car was parked right across the highway, co-workers said. That prompted Singh, in a rush, to decide against using the pedestrian overpass and instead run across the highway to talk to an officer.

"He did everything to go quickly, you know, for the $10. He don't want to lose the $10 for his bosses," Aspras said. "He was doing his job."

But as Singh ran across the highway, the customer at the pump put it in drive and left. At about that same moment, authorities said the alleged drunken driver – Marie Briamonte, 58, of Paramus – struck Singh and killed him.

Briamonte was charged with death by auto, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving, police said.

At Briamonte's home, there was no car in the driveway and no answer at the door.

"I don't know right now; I'm just feeling sorry for the guy, I can't believe it," Aspras said.

Briamonte was out of custody on $150,000 bond Thursday. Singh, according to his friends, leaves behind a wife and son in India.

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