OSSINING, N.Y. -- Stephen Dewey said he will always remember John Mangialardi, the Ossining Town Justice candidate who was killed by an alleged drunk driver Tuesday, as a "gentle giant."
The 55-year-old Briarcliff Manor man was struck and killed by a driver police said was drunk Tuesday night while reportedly crossing Route 9A in Ossining to hang up election signs. Mangialardi is survived by his wife and two children. He was an attorney, Judge Advocate General and lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard and a longtime member of St. Augustine parish in Ossining.
"John has been well known in our community as a great defense attorney and great person all around," said Dewey, the chair of the Ossining Republican Party. "He was a real gentle giant and a great man and this is a really tough loss for all of us. I spoke with his family (Wednesday) and they've asked to send prayers their way through this really tough time."
Dewey later said he was "shocked" after learning that Mangialardi was putting up campaign signs when he was struck and killed.
"Ironically he's out there putting out campaign signs. Most of us driving around Ossining saw the road blocked off and I didn't think much of it until I got the news that it was John that was killed," Dewey said. "It's a really awful thing and he was a really great man."
Ossining Town Councilman Peter Tripodi said he had lost "a really good friend and mentor."
"He was someone I looked up to and someone I could always trust to do the right thing," Tripodi said. "When I found out, I was in disbelief. John was everything you could want in a friend and in a person running for public office."
County Executive Robert Astorino issued a statement Wednesday sharing his thoughts on Mangialardi and the circumstances of his death.
“I was deeply saddened (Wednesday morning) to learn of the passing of John Mangialardi," Astorino said in an emailed statement to The Daily Voice. "John was a talented attorney, an aspiring public servant, a devoted husband, father, and my personal friend. He also served his community and his country with distinction as a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard."
Astorino also commented on the news that Mangialardi was killed by an alleged drunk driver.
“The news of John's death is especially difficult given the alleged involvement of a drunk driver," he said in the statement. "My heart and prayers go out to the Mangialardi family as they begin to deal with this senseless tragedy. I offer them my sincerest condolences and pledge my continuing efforts to combat the epidemic of drunk driving that has claimed too many of our better souls, like John. John will be greatly missed and always remembered.”
Michelle Sergio, 38, of Nanuet in Rockland County, was charged with a misdemeanor DWI and was arraigned Wednesday morning in Ossining Town Court. She is being held at the Westchester County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.