But 20-year-old Maria refused to leave the woman stranded at midnight next to her broken car in such snowy weather."I say 'no, please don't go, it's too dangerous. But she doesn't listen,'" the Fresh Meadows mother said Tuesday, two days after an out-of-control car took her daughter's life.Moments after the St. John's University sophomore and her friend Gregory Voulgaris stepped from their Nissan Ultima, Elena Kaliakmanis looked out of the back seat window and saw a car coming at her, spinning madly on the ice-laden road.The force of the impact crushed Kaliakmanis' car to the point where she was trapped inside. Only after the door was pried open, did Elena step out and see her daughter lying motionless yards away. A severely injured Voulgaris lay next to her, moving slightly.The wailing mother dropped beside Maria and covered her with her jacket."It was me and my daughter and so much blood," the woman sobbed at her Queens home, too shaken to rise from her couch.Maria died at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, where Voulgaris, 22, a LaGuardia Community College student, remains in critical but stable condition, police said.Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Cherralene Kemp, 23, of Riverhead, was driving westbound on the LIE when she lost control of her 1994 Infiniti while trying to change lanes, according to police. It struck a guardrail and careened across the road, hitting the other guardrail before coming to a rest.Unhurt but stranded in the frigid cold, Kemp managed to flag down the car Maria Kaliakmanis was driving en route to her parents' summer home in Shirley.As Maria was about to hand Kemp a cell phone, a 1995 Mitsubishi driven by Corinne Figueroa, 23, of Bellport, barreled into them, hitting Kemp's car first, then Maria and Voulgaris and, finally, Kaliakmanis' car, police said. Kemp was uninjured and Figueroa was treated for minor injuries, police said.Voulgaris suffered two broken legs, a punctured lung and bruising on his brain, his sister, Maria Yamani, said Tuesday."He got bumped up pretty badly, but we're fortunate. We still have him. The girl's family doesn't," Yamani said inside the family's Astoria apartment.Elena Kaliakmanis, 51, said she, Maria and Voulgaris had left the Shirley house around 11 p.m. for "some fresh air," since Voulgaris had been helping Maria study for a business class for three hours. After a pit stop at a 7-11, the three were driving home when they spotted Kemp's accident.Hours later, police visited Maria's younger brother, Arias, and father, Ilias Kaliakmanis, at the Long Island home. The 14-year-old reacted so hysterically to the news, his parents had to admit him to Queens Hospital Center Monday night."He screamed, 'my sister dies, I'd like to die with her!'" Elena Kaliakmanis said.Nassau police said an investigation was ongoing but that the accident did not appear to be criminal in nature.Those who knew Maria described her as an extremely bright young woman dedicated to her pharmaceutical studies and a faith-driven life."She would take too many courses and they would pile up, but whatever she put her mind to she ended up doing well," said Alexander Safos, a mathematics instructor at St. John's who tutored Maria in high school and college. Over the years, the two formed a strong bond religiously and in their shared Greek heritage.On Tuesday night, as Safos stepped out of the shower, Elena Kaliakmanis called him on the phone with news of Maria's death."I was dripping with grief," he said.Like Maria, Voulgaris is also no stranger to a solid work ethic - taking night classes as an accounting major at LaGuardia Community College while working for an insurance company in Manhattan during the day, according to his father, Constantine Voulgaris.And his sister, Yamani, said stopping to help a total stranger in a snowstorm was not at all out of character for her younger brother."That is so Greg," she said. "If he had the choice to do it again, he probably would."Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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