It happened around 4 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Palisades Parkway, near Exit 16, in Stony Point.
The tree sliced right through the vehicle, and the front seat passenger, identified as 48-year-old Anthony Apostolico, of Chester, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, 20-year-old Vincent Apostolico, was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center via helicopter and is listed in critical condition.
The rear passenger, 17-year-old Elizabeth Apostolico, was transported to Westchester Medical Center for treatment of leg injuries.
Vincent Apostolico owned the popular Italian Food Center and Deli in West Haverstraw and was well known in the area.
"I don't have words to explain this," Armando Llivisupec said. "He has been not just my boss, but my friend, my confidant, my brother, my family."
On Monday, loyal and faithful customers arrived not so much to get lunch, but to offer condolences.
"Anthony and his family have been here for so many years," customer Kate Gebbia said. "Anthony was just like an all-out guy. He'd help bake, cook. He did whatever you wanted from him."
And that partly explains what endeared the longtime business owner to people throughout Rockland County and beyond. He greeted people with kindness, treated them with respect. and served with gratitude.
"Everything he did, he had a smile on his face," employee Sean Porter said. "He did a lot for this community. People loved him. People came in, his face lit up. People's faces lit up. He was a great man."
His wife, Tanya, provided Eyewitness News with a picture of the family.
"He was also just so friendly," customer Ken Borchers said. "And if you didn't have a dime in your pocket, he would just say take the sandwich and go. That's just the way he was."
The investigation is ongoing, but strong winds were reported in the area at the time of the freak accident.
The northbound Palisades Parkway was shut down for hours into Sunday evening.
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