Today’s news:

Astoria woman loses leg in 30th Ave. car accident

An Astoria woman lost her leg last Thursday after a school safety vehicle crashed into another car before pinning her against a 30th Avenue storefront, police and hospital representatives said.

Seulia Parera, 36, was in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital this week following the amputation of her left leg below the knee immediately following the accident, hospital spokesman Dario Centorcelli said.

Her children Bruno, 8, and Marianna, 15 months, were treated and released from the hospital Thursday night for scrapes, bruises and minor lacerations.

Two school safety officers and the driver of the other vehicle were treated for their injuries and released, Centorcelli said.

Witnesses said Parera, an immigrant from Brazil, was entering Man’s Deli and Grocery on 30th Avenue with her two children when the NYPD school safety van came down 48th Street at a speed they described as excessive. The van collided with a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling eastbound along 30th Avenue before it crashed into the deli storefront, crushing Parera’s leg as it pinned her between the vehicle and a column, police said.

“She didn’t move at all,” said Brian Gamard, 11, an Astoria resident who was driving past with his mother at the time of the accident. “It looked like she was paralyzed.”

The school safety vehicle was traveling with its siren blaring and lights flashing to Bryant High School in Astoria, located one block south of the accident site. Driver Carlos Ortiz, 54, and a female officer had been called to help another officer being assaulted by two male students, police spokesman Lt. Elias Nikas said.

Giovanni Pisciotta, a pizza man who was cooking at Mama Carmelo’s Pizza and Restaurant two blocks away from the accident, ran to the scene when he heard the crash. He and another bystander set Parera on the sidewalk after others put the vehicle in neutral and pulled it away from the wall to free her.

Pisciotta said Parera was covered with glass from the shattered storefront, which he removed from her as they awaited the arrival of the ambulance.

“She wasn’t even screaming in pain,” Pisciotta said. “She was asking about where her children were.”

Witnesses said Parera’s infant daughter Marianna sat in her baby carriage a few feet into the store following the impact, and they believed Parera had been pushing the carriage into the store at the time of the accident. Parera’s 8-year-old son Bruno, who had been riding nearby on roller blades, was comforted in the arms of neighbor Leodis Lourdes as his mother awaited medical attention.

The metal frame of the storefront was mangled by the impact of the vehicle, which landed directly in the front door of the store, and every window but one along the 30th Avenue side of the store was shattered.

The deli was purchased only a month ago by Jimmy Lee, his brother John said Monday.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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