By Tom Tracy
As they prepare their final goodbyes, residents of Gerritsen Beach are still reeling over the death of Florence Cioffi, 59, who survived the attacks on the World Trade Center only to perish at the hands of an alleged drunk driver. Officials said that Cioffi, who lived with her fiancé on Gerritsen Avenue near Bartlett Place, had just finished planning her 60th birthday party with friends and was crossing Water Street near the Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan at 11 p.m. Thursday when she was struck down by a Mercedes SUV driven by a Wall Street executive. The motorist, identified as 47-year-old George Anderson, the founder of technology firm Enterprise Engineering, returned to the scene, but refused to take a breathalyzer test, official said. Witnesses told reporters that Cioffi “came out of nowhere and was knocked about 30 feet.” Cioffi was rushed to an area hospital where she died of her injuries a short time later. Anderson was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. He was released after posting a $250,000 bond. Officials said that some of the drunken driving charges could be dropped if a blood test taken at the scene comes back negative. The results of the test were pending as this paper went to press. Over the weekend, Cioffi’s fiancé William Mosca, 63, had the sad duty of going to the police to retrieve some of the jewelry she was wearing at the time of the accident. “She survived the trade center and she was run down like a dog in the street,” Mosca told the New York Post as he choked back tears. “She was going to be 60 next Saturday. We were planning her birthday party. We’re just trying to cope with it.” Despite the grief he is wading through, Mosca said that he holds no ill will toward Anderson, stating, “at least he had the decency to come back.” Friends said that Cioffi, a secretary for Frankel & Co. narrowly escaped being killed inside the World Trade Center on 9/11 by going out for coffee just before the first plane hit. After the World Trade Center was destroyed, Cioffi traveled to Jersey City each day, where Frankel & Co. was relocated, officials said. As this paper went to press, funeral services for Cioffi were being held in Staten Island.