STATEN ISLAND — The retired EMS lieutenant killed in a horrific Eltingville car crash Monday night was a grandfather who recently got engaged, friends and neighbors said.
David Restuccio, 58, a paramedic for Staten Island University Hospital, was engaged to be married to Lorraine Giordano, a doctor for the FDNY, at the beginning of summer, according to Facebook and friends.
Bernice Halpern, 78, who lived across the street in from Restuccio in Meiers Corners for nearly 50 years, said the entire neighborhood was excited about their engagement.
"Everyone was so happy for him," Halpern said. "It was kind of like a new beginning [for Restuccio]."
Restuccio, who was previously married and had two sons and two grandchildren, was a lieutenant for FDNY EMS for nearly 20 years before he retired and reportedly a first 9/11 first responder.
"He seemed to be a very caring person," Halpern said. "A helpful person."
Restuccio's tennant Michael Hagai, 31, who knew Restuccio all his life, said that it was hard to find a nicer guy.
"Fantastic guy," Hagai said. "I can't find one thing that would say annoyed me about him."
Hagai said that Restuccio loved being a paramedic and that he couldn't stop doing the job, even after retiring from EMS in 2006.
"He loved his job," Hagai said. "If he could be involved in saving some one's life, that was his calling and he knew it."
On Monday, a BMW drove across the median on Hylan Boulevard and struck the ambulance Restuccio was driving at around 7:10 p.m., cops said.
Restuccio was taken to Staten Island University Hospital in critical condition after suffering cardiac arrest, and later died, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The unidentified driver of the BMW was thrown from his vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, cops said.
Two other victims were in stable condition but under evaluation, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.
When Restuccio wasn't working, he enjoyed skiing and camping, and spending time with his two grandchildren.
"When he spoke about his grandkids his eyes lit up," Halpern said.
Halpern said that she was shocked when she read about Restuccio's death in the newspaper this morning, and still can't believe what happened.
"It still hasn't penetrated," she said.
"I just saw him a few days ago," Halpern said. "You never realize that that would be the last you see him."