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Retired Priest Killed, Driver Charged With Manslaughter In LI Crash

April 19, 2019 - 3:41 pm

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A Long Island community is mourning the loss of a reverend who died when an impaired driver rear-ended his vehicle in an early morning crash on Good Friday.

Just hours after he preached at the Mar Thoma Church in Merrick, authorities say the Rev. Chacko T. Mammen, 69, was killed on the Southern State Parkway.

The incident happened at around midnight just west of Exit 30 on the highway.

Police say Christopher Gomez-Almendarez, 23, of North Baldwin, was driving under the influence of drugs when he struck Mammen’s vehicle, causing the 69-year-old to lose control and crash into a tree.

Mammen was rushed to St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, where he was later pronounced dead.

Parishioners say Mammen had retired but remained very active in the church.

Gomez-Almendarez is charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, third-degree assault, and driving while impaired by drugs.