Woman killed in 35-car LIE pileup had survived Hurricane Sandy

Posted at 6:31 PM, Dec 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-20 18:35:25-05

She was a victim of Sandy and then she was a victim of the 35-car smashup on the Long Island Expressway.  Now the community of Blue Point is in mourning the death of 68-year-old Christa Zepf as Suffolk County police continue their investigation.

“She was a beautiful, wonderful woman,” Nancy Mitzman, Zepf’s neighbor told PIX 11. “This is tragic.”

Neighbors reacted with shock and grief that a really beloved member of their community was killed in that fatal, fiery crash that shut down parts of the Long Island Expressway for more than half a day.

Suffolk County police are still trying to figure out why the driver of a tractor trailer lost control and then smashed into several cars heading eastbound near exit 68. A chain reaction crash followed involving an incredible number of cars, 35 in all. Two of them caught fire.


The horrific aftermath of the multicar pileup on the LIE that killed a 68-year-old woman. .

Police are now looking into the possibility that a construction zone less than a mile ahead of the crash reduced lanes from three lanes to one. A police spokeswoman told PIX11 that the tractor trailer might have crashed into cars that were slowing down or changing lanes. But that is only one of the possibilities being investigated.

The one fatality was still recovering from the Superstorm Sandy.

“It’s been really hard for this community,” Mitzman said.” The surge did so much damage here and now Christa.”

Neighbors say Zepf may have been on her way to the ferry to visit her daughter in Connecticut. Zepf’s house on the Great South Bay in Blue Point still being repaired after Sandy.

“She’s in heaven,” another neighbor, Dr. Norma Garcia said. “I just feel for Hubert because he’s a good husband.”

The tractor trailer that started the 35-car pile was carrying debris from Hurricane Sandy from Eisenhower Park in East Meadow to Riverhead. The tractor trailer has been impounded and at least three of the victims are still in the hospital.