Today’s news:

Glendale man dead after minor auto crash

A Glendale man who was on his way to church died Saturday from traumatic injuries he suffered from a seemingly minor car accident in Maspeth in which the other vehicle left the scene, police and family members said.

Michael Maroney, 57, of 65-70 Myrtle Ave., was remembered by his children for his deep religious convictions and a sense of humor that helped him during an often difficult life.

“He was a wonderful man,” said Victoria Maroney, 22, one of Michael Maroney’s four children. “He had a wonderful sense of humor. He always gave up his time.”

Michael Maroney had been riding in the front passenger seat of a 1990 Subarbu driven by Josef Hettich, his children’s godfather, when a 2001 red Ford van struck the car in the front driver’s side at the intersection of Flushing Avenue and 64th Street around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

The van drove away westbound on Flushing Avenue, police said.

Victoria Maroney said the other driver had rolled down his window to ask if everyone was okay, then drove away before the extent of her father’s injury was apparent.

The accident appeared minor since both cars had been driving at moderate speeds and the vehicles were not significantly damaged, family members said.

But Victoria Maroney said the accident was fatal for her father because he suffered from a condition that limited the mobility of his neck, which snapped from the force of the collision, making it impossible for him to breathe, she said.

“When my brother got out of the car, he noticed my father was gasping for breath,” Victoria Maroney said.

Hettich and Maroney’s 20-year-old son Christian began performing CPR until paramedics arrived, but they were unable to revive him.

Maroney died at 9:18 p.m. at St. John’s Hospital from traumatic injury suffered in the accident, a hospital spokeswoman said.

He leaves behind his wife of 23 years, Elfriede Maroney, 57; daughters Victoria, 22, and Claudia, 21; and sons Christian, 20, and Peter, 14.

At the time of the accident, Maroney had been riding with Hettich, his two sons and his children’s godmother to St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in Jackson Heights for religious services.

Maroney lived his whole life in the vicinity of Ridgewood, where he grew up as a middle child in a family of 11 children.

His children said his life was turbulent at times — he served as a soldier in the Vietnam War at age 18 — but they said he had strong religious convictions that he passed onto them.

A chef who made food at a Catholic girls’ school in Brooklyn, Michael Maroney had spent the day cooking dishes and hosting a few dozen family and friends at home for a party celebrating his daughter Victoria’s graduation from nursing school at Queensborough Community College.

“He was cooking. He loved doing what he was doing, serving people, making sure everyone had what they wanted,” his son Christian Maroney said. “He loved to cook, he loved to see people satisfied. That’s how he left.”

“Everybody that came on Saturday said that it was the happiest they ever saw him,” Victoria Maroney said. “Then when he left, I know he died happy.”

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

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