On Sunday, Diane Aluska, 55, was spending Mothers Day with her 16-year-old daughter, Jenna, in Lindenhurst, NY. The duo was leaving a church in the village at around 9:10 a.m. when Ann Riolo, 80, accidentally backed her 2005 Toyota Corolla into them.
Police said Riolo put her car in reverse, instead of drive, and it careened back onto the sidewalk on S. Wellwood Ave. The vehicle struck Aluska as she pushed Jenna out of the way. The vehicle still clipped Jenna before crashing into the Lindenhurst Fire Department building.
Police say Diane Aluska saved her daughter’s life when she pushed her out of the way.
The mother and daughter were in the village after attending Mass nearby at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
Aluska’s husband, Kenneth, said he was buying his wife a bouquet of flowers when the accident occurred. “I was preparing for Mother’s Day,” he said. “It’s devastating. My wife is a beautiful person.”
Following the crash, Jenna texted her father, who rushed to the scene.
“When I got there they had her on a stretcher,” he said. “She loved her mother very much.”
Kenneth Aluska spent the night in the hospital with Jenna, who was admitted in serious condition at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. During the night, she had surgery to repair a back injury.
Aluska said Jenna was told on Monday morning that her mother had died.
“She didn’t know until an hour ago,” he said. “I just told her her mother is dead. I had to wait until after her surgery. She couldn’t be devastated right before her surgery. She was heartbroken.”
Diane Aluska was a breast cancer survivor. Kenneth Aluska described her as a “devoted mother” who lived for her daughter.
“There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her,” he said. “She went to church every Sunday, early. She did what any good parent would do.”
Aluska said Jenna will need to be in the hospital for a while. “She’s young and strong and we hope she’s going to be alright,” he said. In the meantime, he’s trying to keep his daughter’s mind off of the crash.
“I try not to talk to her about it. I try to keep her mind off it,” he said. “I want to focus on recovery, you know? I try to keep her positive. I tried to make her smile or laugh. Whatever comes to mind, you know?”
Riolo was also taken to the hospital, but with non-life-threatening injuries. She isn’t expected to be charged in the incident.
H/T: New York Daily News
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