"He was a wreck. He was crying, 'I couldn't save the lady,' " recalled Monica Thompson, a co-worker at the East Harlem garage on East 110th Street where he was depot chairman for the Transport Workers Union."
SECOND VICTIM: Amid Thursday's headline-making tornadoes, a tree hit the car of Aline Levakis (below) in Queens, killing her and leading Richard Bermudez (above) to come to her aid. A day later, he suffered an aneurysm. (Photo: Neil Miller)
In two days, he was to marry his love and set sail on a honeymoon cruise.
But a hero bus driver who tried to save a woman fatally crushed by a toppled tree in last week's tornado has died from an aneurysm brought on by the rescue attempt -- just before his wedding, and about a month before he was to retire, according to the New York Post.
As the violent winds blew through Queens last Thursday, Richard Bermudez leapt into action to try to rescue Aline Levakis from her crushed Lexus sedan on the Grand Central Parkway. Levakis had pulled over as the tornado struck, and moments later, a tree fell on her car.
Bermudez, 57, a bus driver from St. Albans, was able to help Levakis' husband, Billy, but could not get to her as she cried out for help. Aline, 30, died at the scene.
At the bus garage the next day, Bermudez was haunted by the accident.
"He was a wreck. He was crying, 'I couldn't save the lady,' " recalled Monica Thompson, a co-worker at the East Harlem garage on East 110th Street where he was depot chairman for the Transport Workers Union.
"He was saying, 'It's still in me. I can still hear this lady screaming and there's nothing I can do to save her,' " said Thompson.
Aline Levakis, 30, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and her husband, Bill, in an undated vacation photo. Mrs. Levakis was killed when a 100-foot willow tree crashed into thier car after she had pulled to the side of the Grand Central Parkway near Jewel Avenue in Queens during the storm.