3rd person dies in crash that killed Hoboken priest and sister in Freehold

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Josh Einiger has the story of Father Michael Guglielmelli from Hoboken.

A third person has died from a tragic car crash in New Jersey last week, that also killed a beloved priest and his sister.

Another passenger in Guglielmelli's car, 85-year-old Antoinette Gallina, died over this past weekend.

The car the priest was riding in was rear-ended by the driver of a pickup truck on June 4th.

In the City of Hoboken, Father Michael Guglielmelli sure was somebody.

And now he's gone.

"He was my priest, and he was my confidant, and he was my friend, and, I'm going to miss him," said James Lisa, a parishioner.

At St. Francis of Assisi, where he served as the pastor for decades, congregants held on to each other as they digested the news.

The 81-year-old fixture of the town was in a violent car crash in Freehold alongside his 87-year-old sister Dolores. Neither survived.

"She died instantly we understand," said Matthew Guglielmelli, the victims' cousin.

Matthew is their first cousin and grew up right next door to them, just around the corner from the church he would grow to lead.

"We can't get over this, I don't know how we're going to deal with it," Matthew said.

Neither do many of his parishioners, who streamed all night into the small church, laid flowers and, inside, lit candles for a man with a giant sense of humor for whom now they must grieve without him to tell them how.

"I think he would say above all forgive how this happened, find it in your heart to find strength, don't look to blame. Understand tragedy happens," said Christina LaBruno, a parishioner.

"He was ready to go to the Lord whenever the Lord wanted him. So we know that he's there now. So we have to accept that, it's just that we all needed him a little longer," said Diane Cappelluti, a friend.

This all happened just before 7 p.m. in Freehold. Investigators say Father Mike and his sister were in a minivan, sitting at a red light when they were rear ended by another car.

Monmouth County prosecutors say so far there's no sign of criminality on the part of the teen who caused the crash, but the investigation continues.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer also offered her condolences and order flags in the city to be flown at half-staff last week.

Related Topics:
religionpriest diescar crashtraffic fatalitiesHobokenFreehold
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