A family is coping with the loss of a father and husband on Thursday night.
On Wednesday, a Windsor Locks man was killed as he was tending to a pedestrian he accidentally struck on Route 75.
His death is bringing the family together, as his children fly home from all over the world.
“I thought something happened. You know, you know,” said Elsie Mangeri, Michael’s wife.
Rain was coming down in sheets on Wednesday night on Route 75 in Windsor Locks when Michael Mangeri was heading home on the familiar road he’s been taking for years.
“He plays pool on Wednesday. Every Wednesday,” Elsie said.
Near the Friendly’s restaurant, police said Mangeri collided with 30-year-old restaurant worker, Jessica Gelebert who just finished her first day on the job.
Police say Michael got out to check on Gelebert when he was struck by another car.
Michael’s wife Elsie was already asleep, but woke up around midnight and she noticed he wasn’t there.
Then, she saw an alert on her phone.
“It said the accident, and it said it was right up there and I knew he wasn’t home and they had the picture of the car,” Elsie said.
She had a bad feeling about the crash.
“I texted him, there was no answer of course, I called him and I got in my car and drove up and couldn’t get anywhere,” Elsie said.
The premonition confirmed when police arrived at their home. Michael was killed at the crash.
“I just screamed and woke up my roommate,” said Lauren Mangeri, Michael’s daughter.
Lauren lives miles away in Tennessee and was communicating with her mom, and learned about the tragedy over the phone.
Her brother John is flying home from Prague.
“He definitely was our backbone,” said Lauren.
In his den, Lauren and Elsie pour over the reminders of a life, fully lived, recalling father-daughter dances, the family trips to Gettysburg, and started pointing out his passions, like making steel models, while holding his new hobby in their hands.
“He wanted to go cross country,” Elsie said.
Michael was set to turn 65 next week and as the tragic news spread, family and friends have visited.
“They all said it doesn’t surprise them that he stopped to take care of the person or tried to help,” Elsie said.
Even in death, it gives this wife and daughter a sense of pride, knowing Michael’s last moments, summed up his entire life, he was helping, he was caring.
“Yeah, but I want to slap him, like ‘why did you do that,’ I respect him for doing what’s truly honorable, but he’s not here sitting with me,” Elsie said.
Gelebert is expected to recover and the crash is still being investigated.
The person who hit Mangeri has been identified, but police would not comment on any potential charges.
Over the last 14 years, police said there have been six deaths on Route 75.
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