Survivors meet in deadly encounter

July 2, 2009 1:21:52 PM PDT
In an odd and tragic twist of fate, two men who both cheated death in the past met with deadly consequences. Both made news for surviving incidents that could have killed them. One made an emergency plane landing, while the other was beaten by a group of men. Now, one of them is responsible for the death of the other.

Relatives of Bob Berkoski say the reality has yet to sink in. The 62-year-old pilot died while crossing the street Wednesday night, right in front of his home in Miller Place. The driver was heading westbound on North Country Road.

Greg Berkoski says his brother beat the odds in 2006, making news when he safely landed his plane on a Staten Island beach after having engine trouble.

The driver of the car that killed him, 34-year-old Shane Daniels, also made headlines in 1996. Daniels was the victim of a racially charged beating in Westhampton Beach. He cheated death back then as well, but suffered permanent brain and eye injuries.

Daniels told officers Berkoski jumped out in front of his car and he had no time to react. He did pull over and dial 911.

John Guiliano witnessed the aftermath and says Daniels was crying and overwhelmed.

"He wanted to help, but he was too distraught," Guiliano said.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident, but don't believe criminal charges will be filed.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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