A beloved Bayside high school teacher was killed in a two-vehicle collision on Friday, Nov. 20, when a wrong-way driver hit his car on the Sunken Meadow Parkway on Long Island, according to authorities.
Anthony Mariano, 44, was driving a 2007 Mazda CX7 SUV, when an off-duty firefighter, Joseph Norris, 38, drove his pickup truck the wrong way down the parkway, north of exit SM3, in Smithtown, Suffolk County, slamming into Mariano’s vehicle at about 7:30 p.m., according to law enforcement sources.
First responders had found Mariano dead at the scene of the accident, according to state police. Norris, a Babylon resident, was transported to Southside Hospital with serious injuries. An FDNY spokesperson told QNS that Norris is still hospitalized.
Norris was driving his 2008 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck southbound in the northbound lane when it struck the SUV, state police said.
The Sunken Meadow State Parkway was closed northbound and traffic was diverted at exit SM3.
No charges have been filed as the cause of the collision is under investigation. The state police is asking for anyone with information to call 631-756-3300.
Mariano, a resident of Kings Park, was a social studies teacher for 17 years at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, according to the New York Daily News. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariano’s wedding to his girlfriend of 10 years, Azzolini, was scheduled for next summer.
According to Azzolini, Mariano was always a cautious driver on the road.
“Anthony was my future … and getting on the highway the wrong way, that should not have happened. That should not have happened,” Azzolini said.
Matthew Mariano told the NY Daily News that his brother instilled knowledge in his students, allowing them to become the people they needed to be.
“That’s how he led his life. It wasn’t about him,” Mariano told the NY Daily News.
In the wake of his death, Mariano’s family is requesting that friends and relatives give money to two local charities he cared about: an animal shelter and a sports program for underserved youth.