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Tragedy struck the Aluska family on Mother’s Day in Lindenhurst, N.Y., when an 80-year-old woman, who had backed up her car and thought she put the car in drive, jumped a curb and pinned 55-year-old Diane Aluska against a wall, killing her.

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The mother was walking to her car with her 16-year-old daughter Jenna after Sunday mass. Aluska sacrificed her life for her daughter, pushing her out of harm’s way, according to police and witnesses.


“[The elderly woman] thought that she had put it in drive. She left it in reverse, hit the gas, started speeding backwards, lost control, and jumped the sidewalk,” Suffolk County Detective Sgt. James Murphy told reporters. “Her mom sees the car jump the curb, she actually grabs her by her shoulder and pushes her. She saved her life, without a doubt.”

Witness Joe Biggs described what he saw to CBS New York.

CBS New York/screenshot

“At the last second you could see the mother kind of throw the daughter out of the way and sacrifice herself to try and save her own daughter so that was pretty heartfelt,” Biggs said.

Jenna Aluska was saved by a mother’s love on Mother’s Day.

The teen sustained non-life-threatening injuries after being clipped by the vehicle rather than being pinned against a wall like her mother. Both she and her mother were rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center.

Before that, bystanders lifted the car off Aluska and performed CPR. Diane Aluska was pronounced dead at the hospital.

CBS New York/screenshot

The driver of the 2005 Toyota Corolla has been identified as 80-year-old Ann Riolo, who also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say the incident “appears to be non-criminal” and “just a terrible accident.”

Charges are not expected.

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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