By Jano Tantongco
After getting a call last month that his father had been in a serious car accident, 28-year-old Vincent DeRiso rushed to the scene on Bellerose Avenue.
“Right then and there, I knew exactly where on Bellerose. It’s known for people getting into car accidents all the time. I immediately went right there with no hesitation,” he said.
When DeRiso arrived, he found that his father, Michael Preston, was seriously injured and was brought to Stony Brook University Hospital where doctors ultimately amputated his leg.
“Right now, we’re just making him aware that life as you know it is going to be different,” DeRiso said, explaining that after Preston’s recovery, he’ll have to undergo rehabilitation and learn to adjust to a wheelchair and prosthetic leg.
Preston, 55, had surgery Monday to remove three more inches from the amputation site, and remained under sedation as of Tuesday’s deadline.
To help cover Preston’s medical bills and remodel his East Northport home to make it wheelchair accessible, the family is raising money through GoFundMe (GoFundMe.com/PrestonFamily) with goal of $30,000. As of press time, $5,153 had been raised.
DeRiso said his father, who owns a welding company and was a marine mechanic, may have to retire.
According to reports, Preston was in a motor vehicle accident in 2010 that killed his wife, Victoria, and his father, Theodore, in Searingtown. DeRiso confirmed the reports.
DeRiso added that, in light of that accident, his younger brother, 17-year-old Dan Preston, earned the 12th Man award from the Suffolk County Football Association for overcoming hardship during the 2015 season as a running back and safety on the Northport High School football team.
DeRiso said his father is “passionate about his kids, making sure we’re all good.”
He continued, “His passion is his kids and fishing. I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to getting on a boat and being able to retire on a boat.”
On the night of the crash, DeRiso said he was at a friend’s home when he received the call.
“My dad was still awake and was able to tell the gentleman to call me directly,” he said, referring to a man on the scene.
Police said Preston was driving a 2010 Honda Element when he struck a guardrail while going in front of 223 Bellerose Ave. in East Northport at around 10:05 p.m. on April 29.
East Northport Fire Department Chief Wayne Kaifler Jr., who responded to the scene, said Preston was “somewhat pinned” in his vehicle after the crash.
“We were able to extricate him and bring him safely to a landing zone where he was brought to Stony Brook Hospital via a helicopter,” he said. “We called for the helicopter because of the severity of his injury. It wasn’t a normal routine call.”
Kaifler said firefighters removed Preston through the back hatch of the car. He was then brought to nearby Veterans Park where a Medevac helicopter landed to transport him to the hospital.
Kaifler said, “The volunteers, as always, did an excellent job to assist the patient who was in need.”