Driver dies when car crashes into Williston Park home

Samuele Petruccelli
A driver suffered from a heart attack and crashed into the kitchen of a Williston Park home Monday morning. (Photo courtesy of Kerry Collins, Village of Williston Park Building Inspector.)

A driver stricken by a heart attack died Monday morning when his maroon Cadillac crashed into a Williston Park home which had to be evacuated, police said.

The driver, later identified by friends as John Arcese, was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police declined to confirm his identity.

Police said no other injuries were reported.

Surveillance video captured by an auto repair shop shows Arcese speeding through the intersection of Willis Avenue and William Street. He then hit a storage unit and a parked SUV, before crashing into a homeowner’s kitchen on Lehigh Street.

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The impact of the car moved floor joists in the home, and there was concern the bathroom above the kitchen might fall in, said Williston Park Building Inspector Kerry Collins. The home was declared unsafe and evacuated by the family.

Dylan Guo was working at Euro-Car, an auto repair shop just across the street from the accident, when he heard the impact of the car hit the home. Initially, Guo said, thought a tractor trailer hit a bump.

“I look over. First I don’t see a tractor trailer,” Guo said. “And then I look further and I see the car inside the house.”

People responding to the crash were unable to remove Arcese from the car and had to wait for first responders to cut an opening, said Eddie Guan, owner of the auto shop.

John Koerner said he had known Arcese for over 30 years, calling him a good man who knew how to make others laugh.

“He had a great humor about him,” Koerner said. “He was the funniest guy, the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.”

Arcese often drove around Williston Park in his maroon Cadillac with his dog accompanying him, Koerner said.

Michael Vietri said he knew Arcese for almost 30 years, regularly bowling against him at Herrill Lanes in New Hyde Park.

“He almost always had a smile on his face,” Vietri said. “He could make anybody laugh.”

Herrill Lanes was also the site of his Elvis Presley-themed wedding, which over 300 people attended, according to Koerner.

“John lived for his kids,” Vietri said. “He was dad of the year every year.”

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