East Northport resident and Class of 2020 Northport High School graduate Leonel Lopez died tragically in a car accident early Saturday morning near the intersection of Verleye Avenue and Jericho Turnpike (between Larkfield and Elwood Roads). Lopez was the passenger in a car that drove into the back of a tractor-trailer. The driver of the car is being charged with driving while intoxicated.
Lopez was 23 years old, and for the past four years worked at Tim’s Shipwreck Diner in Northport Village. His four younger siblings are currently in the Northport school district, attending Northport High School, East Northport Middle School and Pulaski Road Elementary School.
“On behalf of the entire staff at the Shipwreck, we all are devastated by this tragedy,” said Shipwreck owner Denis Beyersdorf. “We join the community in mourning the loss of Leo. His infectious smile would brighten anyone’s day.” The Shipwreck is planning to honor Leo and support his family in the coming weeks, Beyersdorf shared with Journal, adding that details on how and when will be shared soon.
In a GoFundMe campaign organized by his friend Bessi Castellon, Lopez is described as a “kind, loving, hardworking, humble and compassionate person.” Donations are being collected to support his family and to pay for Lopez’s burial services. So far $6,265 of the campaign’s $10,000 goal has been raised.
Owners at Mi Pueblo Restaurant, where Lopez frequented, wrote in a Facebook post, “We are heartbroken to tell everyone that our dear friend and frequent customer…tragically lost his life in an automobile accident on Saturday night.” The Kings Park restaurant will be donating half of the proceeds from this Wednesday, March 22 to Leo’s family “as they deal with this overwhelming loss.” Mi Pueblo is located at 95 Pulaski Road in Kings Park.