Teresa “Terri” Mankarious, 50, a former Astoria resident, died suddenly when an allegedly drunk driver fatally struck her in Ozone Park as she was walking her dog.
“She was taken from us and from me,” said her mourning fianc/, Erich Schnurer, 56, who witnessed her death on Saturday, August 11.
It was late that Saturday when the New Jersey couple was heading back from a Long Island outing and came across traffic on the highway.
“There was an accident, so we decided to sit it out, and get something to eat,” said Schnurer.
They pulled into the Esquire Diner on Cross Bay Boulevard, and after dining in the restaurant Mankarious decided to walk her dog, Stormy, while Schnurer went back to the car.
“I was cleaning it out, looking for my keys then I heard a cry from someone in pain,” he said. “I saw something fly right past me, and something white was on the sidewalk that wasn’t there before.” Mankarious, his bride-to-be, was dressed in all white that night.
Mankarious, who was hit by a 1993 Nissan, was sent flying - 50 to 60 feet from where she stood on the sidewalk - all in sight of her fianc/.
“When I rushed over to her, her hand started moving but then it stopped,” said Schnurer. An ambulance was called, but by the time Mankarious reached Jamaica Hospital it was too late. “They [the doctors] said she died from the trauma,” he continued.
Behind the wheel of the Nissan that killed Mankarious was Michael Barlow of Woodhaven.
According to Schnurer, Barlow was on his way home from a late Mets game after having a few beers.
Traveling northbound on Cross Bay Boulevard, he lost allegedly control of his vehicle and mounted it on the sidewalk where Mankarious was walking with Stormy.
“I still can’t believe she’s gone,” said Brendan, 17, Mankarious’ only son. He said that he woke up the next day expecting to hear her telling him to get out of bed, and was devastated when he realized she would never do that again.
“She did a hell of job as a single mother raising me, a teenage son,” he said, “and because of him [Barlow] she’s not going to be here to see me graduate from high school.”
As for Barlow, 23, he was arrested at the scene and charged with driving while intoxicated, according to police.
“I’d like him to meet me, Brendan, and Terri’s sisters so we could ask him why he had to take a person so loving and caring from us,” said Schnurer.
“She was a family person and she was my family, I never loved anybody like her.”
An avid writer of poetry, Schnurer found a poem Mankarious wrote recently entitled “May Angels Watch Over You.”
“Hopefully now she is at peace,” said Brendan.