Man accused of DWI in death of 84-year old Long Island woman

NJ Burkett reports on drunk driving accident on Long Island which resulted in the death of an 84-year-old woman. (WABC)
May 5, 2014 4:45:57 PM PDT
A man on Long Island is charged with drunk driving in a deadly accident that killed an 84-year old woman.

Joy Rogalle had ten children and 13 grandchildren. She was a devout Catholic who died on her way to church.

"You have to make the right choice not to do that, all the time, everybody has to make that choice and this gentleman obviously made a very bad choice," said the victim's daughter, Leslie Rogalle Healy.

Police say it happened at 3:30 Sunday afternoon, on a stretch of Carleton Avenue in Central Islip, where witnesses said the driver suddenly swerved into oncoming traffic.

"He switches into the southbound lanes at the time the collision occurs with Mrs. Rogalle's car and resulted in her death," said Lt. Ed Reilly of the Suffolk County police.

The driver was identified by police as 29-year old Charles Koukalenios. No one answered the door at his home in East Islip Monday afternoon.

Her daughters say Joy Rogalle was a happy, independent woman, a volunteer for Catholic Charities who would have celebrated her 59th wedding anniversary this summer, who survived a cancer scare just a few months ago.

"We were all so happy she was back to being her independent self, driving around again like she was allowed to, on her way to church and this is what happened. Somebody decided to drink and drive. It's terrible," said Healy.

The other driver was hospitalized but his injuries were not life threatening. He's charged so far with DWI. But this investigation is not over, and the charges could be upgraded.

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