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Bayside gym mourns loss of co-worker in auto crash

By Katy Gagnon

Derek Winefsky, 27, was killed and an unidentified friend was hospitalized after their black Mercedes went out of control and plunged into Newtown Creek in Brooklyn, police said.The accident occurred at 3:30 a.m. after the two men, who were traveling west on Apollo Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, crashed through a fence and landed in the creek, which separates western Queens from Brooklyn and is the site of a half-century-old Standard Oil spill, police said.The unidentified man, who is believed to have been the driver, was recovered shortly after the accident and taken to Woodhull Hospital.Winefsky, of Valley Stream, L.I., was pulled from the passenger side of the vehicle around 5 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.Friends and co-workers of Winefsky, who worked in member services at Bell Plaza Sports Club on Bell Boulevard on and off for several years, said they were stunned to learn of his death.”He was just here on Friday,” said Mark Ochetal, a club trainer and friend of Winefsky.After news of Winefsky's death broke Tuesday morning, a newspaper story about the traffic accident and a letter to Bell Plaza members from the staff were placed at the club's front desk.Winefsky was well-liked by members of the club, who upon learning of his death came to the club with “nonstop questions and nonstop stories” about Winefsky, said Larry Dodge, the club's manager.”There was nothing not to like about him,” Dodge said. “He was really very happy with where he was in his life right now,” Ochetal said. “He had a good girl, he had a good job,” he said, referring to Winefsky's girlfriend of two years.Ochetal said he wished he had been at the scene of the accident Monday morning. This way, he could have jumped in after Winefsky.”He wouldn't think twice about doing the same thing for me,” he said. “He was just that type of person.”

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