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Two Killed in Sag Harbor Accident When Car Bursts into Flames

Posted on 13 April 2011

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Two local men were killed on Saturday, April 9, when their car left the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.

At about 3:34 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, the Southampton Town Police responded to the accident on Brick Kiln Road near Pheasant Lane in Noyac.

Investigating officers determined the accident involved a 2006 Ford Mustang owned by Thomas Wheeler, 43, of Sag Harbor, who was a passenger in the car, and driven by Manuel Cunha, 58, of East Hampton. Police reports indicate the car was traveling west along Brick Kiln Road when it crossed over into the eastbound lane, then crossed back into the westbound lane before leaving the roadway and colliding with a tree in the front yard of 871 Brickiln Road. The car then burst into flames.

The Sag Harbor Fire Department and Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to the scene. The fire department extinguished the flames and closed the road for the duration of the investigation, a span of about six hours.

Preliminary determination indicates excessive speed was a contributing factor to the accident. Southampton Town Police are awaiting additional reports from the medical examiner’s office to ascertain if there are any other possible contributing factors.

Both occupants were pronounced dead at the scene and transported to the Suffolk County Medical Examiners Office. Police said that positive identification was made difficult due to the nature of the accident.

Visiting for Manuel Cunha will be at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor on Wednesday, April 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

Visiting for Thomas Wheeler will be at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor on Thursday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

The Southampton Town Detective Division is continuing the investigation and is requesting anyone that may have information about this or any other crime to please contact the Detective Division at 631-728-5000 or the Police Information Hotline at 631-728-3454.

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130 Responses to “Two Killed in Sag Harbor Accident When Car Bursts into Flames”

  1. shannone morgan says:

    I’m speechless. My heart is sad for my family and my life long friend Bork. Tommy and Manny will be so missed. Sag Harbor is too small for a tragedy this big.

  2. Christine says:

    Drunk and going over 100mph through a residential neighborhood, what do you expect to happen? I’m just glad they didn’t kill anyone else before they killed themselves. This town has a huge and glaring problem of people openly drinking and driving. I’ve lost count how many cans of beer I’ve seen in cup holders of trucks parked in town.

  3. wendy mattice says:

    My heart also goes out to the Cunha family… Regardless of WHAT happened they still have loved ones that will truely miss them..And to Christine I hope none of your DRUNK family members ends up like this….

  4. E.M. Maxx says:

    I’m so very sorry for all the victims families . Rip

  5. Darren Gengarelly SR. says:

    Rest in Peace Guys. You will be missed. luv ya hearns! miss u manny! god bless you both. And you too Christine. You seem to need it the most.

    Christine who? Big words for someone hiding there identity. I ,ve lost count how many of you gutless losers there are in this village hiding there identity while they run there mouths.

  6. Staci Otto-Martin says:

    This Christine person(ish)…very heartless. 2 people lost their lives and that will affect many people who cared about them and their families. BTW…Christine, did you get the autopsy reports?? You seem to know a lot about what happened. I agree with Darren Sr. Big words for someone hiding their identity. Look in the mirror…are you perfect??

  7. Tom Mac says:

    I am proud to be a native of Sag harbor. The most painful part though is losing people you know. That is nothing compared to the pain these two families are going through. I will miss them and always remember the good they both contributed to this community. We will also pray for you Christine. To live your life around gossip and innuendo must be a lonely and horrlble way to live your life. You have no compassion for your fellow man other wise you would at least have the courage to publish your name. Go back to where you came from because I do suspect you are not from here. You mush be a real piece of work to be with. Peace Sag Harbors sons see you on the other side

  8. Stephen Scala says:

    Unbelievable tragedy. Thoughts and prayers to their family and friends.

  9. Holly O says:

    Rest in Peace Tommy & Manny. My thoughts and prayers are with your family & friends. The Sag Harbor community is so amazing that I am sure they will take great care of your families, thats just how we are.

  10. dale says:

    christine you dont even know if alchol was even involved so dont even run your gums smut. This is a horrible tragedy that no family should have togo through Rip tommy and manny

  11. Kim Campsey says:

    Very sad. My heart goes out to their family and all there friends.

  12. Nicholas DePetris says:

    Christine, apparantly many people commenting are upset with your opinion. You have no right to speak about what you dont know, that’s pure ignorance. Thats really the problem with Sag Harbor, people like you revolving theirs lives around other’s bussiness. Very heartless and disrespectful, lets find out who you really are miss Christine?
    However I’d like to say RIP Manny and Tommy, WE LOVE YOU ! FOREVER 04/9/11 very very sad day

  13. Justin Butts says:

    RIP Tommy and Manny. Christine, keep your horrible assumptions and opinions to yourself and/or your sewing circle.

  14. My heart goes out to the families of this tragic accident. Being a lifelong native, I have close associations with them. I know the old Sag Harbor guard will rally around them during this difficult period. Rest in peace Manny and Tommy. You won’t be forgotten.

    Christine, you are one “Holier Than Thou” sick individual. I hope you get some help!

  15. Heywood J. says:

    Hey Christine, you sound like you have inside info. Maybe you are on the EMT squad? Wake up, drinking and driving is a nationwide problem, not just exclusive to our quaint little town. But you don’t go jumping to conclusions about an accident without KNOWING what you’re talking about. THAT is ignorance. Let’s not forget the families, and more importantly the children left behind with no father.

  16. Sue says:

    Christine, How do you know they were drunk and how do you know how fast they were going…Were you there? Regardless, you apparently haven’t a sympathetic bone in your body or any children for that matter. There are children affected by this tragic accident and they certainly don’t need to be reading something like this..Maybe you shouldn’t go to town anymore and perhaps you shouldn’t be looking in vehicles as you pass by. If you don’t like what you see don’t look!
    As for our friends that were taken from us so tragically, WE ALL LOVE YOU! Watch over us!
    Love you Tommy

  17. s.walsh says:

    very sad what happen!!… my heart goes out to both families and all friends that knew these 2 great guys!!….

    -and no one is perfect and you shouldnt assume things when you clearly dont know the truth!-

  18. James T says:

    I was a close friend of Tommy’s. The guys will be missed.
    -christine, time and place, this is not either of the two.
    -christines defense-she apparently is the only one hear who will say what we all already know, you guys can talk shit around the bar but as soon as a stranger pipes up you become a hypocrite. In the town circle of close friends of these guys there has been like 10 dui’s this year and now two deaths. Maybe its time y’all started looking after your fellow man so shit lie this does not happen.

  19. wendy mattice says:

    Shannone…My heart goes out to you Cherryl your mom and the whole rest of your have my deepest sympathy..Please tell Cherryl if there is anything she needs please do not hesitate to call.R.I.P Manny and Tommy…The Mattices From up state N.Y…..

  20. lou manning says:

    Hey-I googled Manny Cunha’s name and found an article in the east hampton star from a few years ago about someone with this name age 56 being arrested for trying to steal a wheelbarrow from the front yard of someones home in Springs.The owner was home and stopped him as he was putting the wheelbarrow in his van.Is this the same guy who was in the car with Tommy?Just wondering.

  21. Heywood says:

    Hey Lou, what difference does it make? Why would you drag something up with absolutely NO relevance to this accident? Some people need to
    be quiet and reflect….

  22. Phil Beller says:

    Manny was a good person with a big heart and am proud to say he was my friend. He is someone I will never forget and I personally will miss him very much. I send my deepest sympathy to both families over this tremendous loss.

  23. Kellie Butts says:

    My heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of Tommy and Manny’s family and friends. Regardless of the circumstances, it is a terrible loss.

  24. Bruce says:

    Went to school with Manny. Remember cutting first period shop class at Pierson with him a couple of times and going for breakfast the Paradise Restaurant, or should I say the OLD Paradise Restaurant, frequented by REAL people back then.
    Although it’s been 4 decades, I can remember him as a good guy and a real person, much more so than the ones here posting comments of poor taste.

  25. Tim Martin says:

    My heart goes out to both families. The level of loss I feel cannot be put into words. I feel for them in their time of mourning as well. I think it has been made clear already that if you don’t have something nice to post, this is not the forum for you. When thinking of how terribly I’m going to miss my friend, the concept of alcohol never entered my mind, funny how that works…..May you both rest easy. Tommy, I’ll miss you bro.

  26. Sue says:

    Rest in Peace Boys and just know there are alot of people who will keep your spirits on their shoulders. As we walk through life, you guys will be with us

  27. john forrester says:

    I’ve lived in Sag Harbor for only 10 years and did not know either of the men who left us in such a tragic way.I send my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of both victims. I don’t think Mr. Manning meant any harm with his post.I too went online to find more information about the occupants based on the posts already submitted as no information was provided in the news reports. I stumbled on the same news item in the Star that he was inquiring about.That’s the problem with the internet.The information one can access has a tendency to isolate the human element from the cold hard data.I think he was,as I was, wondering if either of the occupants of the car were someone we may have known.I will send a prayer to all who are grieving this loss.

  28. Monica Taylor says:

    Although I did not know either one of these gentlemen, my heart and thoughts are with the families and loved ones they left behind. My deepest sympathy to all.

  29. Della says:

    My sincere condolences and prayers to both the Cunha and Wheeler families and friends at his time. It is a tragic loss and is overwhelming to everyone I know. As for the few idiots that had to “Google-a-gossip” or have nothing better to do in life than to go around “peaking in everyone’s trucks” just shows that you obviously haven’t got a life of your own to begin with. How pathetic and horrible. NO ONE has the right to judge these two men, irregardless of your assanign statements. Does stealing a wheelbarrow have any bearing of losing a life? Does it even matter what the cause of the accident was at this point?…These two men are gone and they leave behind families and friends that are struggling with pain and grief and will be forever. I hope your halo is squeaky clean..because you never know when your own day is up and someone like yourself is going to judge you.

  30. E.M.Maxx says:

    I’m happy people are putting this christine A@$hole in her place!!!!! All I know is Tommy was always nice to me,always had a kind word no matter what was going on in his life. You should be a bit more compassionate when the first half of your name is christ…….

  31. Christine Mazzeo says:

    Heywood- Just to make things clear I am the only “christine” on the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corp. I have recieved many phone calls from your very presumptuous comment. I do not appreciate you assuming that everyone with an opinion has insider’s knowledge and therefore jeopardizing my reputation.

    To The Families: This is such a tradgedy. I am very sorry for your loss.

    p.s. people that comment :fact or fiction should use their real name.

  32. Shannon Early-Tait says:

    Having grown up in Sag Harbor, this one really hit close to home. As I explained to my husband – we live in Dutchess County in his childhood town – how I knew the families, I started thinking back to life in town. It’s touching to know that the “Old Guard” is still there when someone is in need. That’s something that others don’t easily understand, but I do.
    In regards to “Christine’s” comments: I, too, was angered by her callousness. But as I see in the responses, in the wake of such negativity, a comraderie abounds. In the wake of this tragedy, our Village will grow stronger.
    My heart goes out to the friends, families, and children left behind.

  33. Heather Williamson says:

    Rest in Peace Tommy and Manny. Hearing about this accident was so shocking. Both of them were so full of life and energy. Comments about how Sag Harbor rally’s during times like these is so true. It is the best value of a “small town”. To those who have negative comments, this is neither the time nor the place. To the families that both Tommy and Manny left behind, may your hearts be find comfort in the knowledge that they are in a better place.

  34. Ralph DiSpigna says:

    I have known these guys a long while. Both were gentlemen to me and my wife and family. WE will miss Mannys big hellos and Tommys smile every time we saw them. Rest in Peace.

  35. Jean Ely says:

    I am so sorry to hear of this. What a sad thing for the families, and for Sag Harbor. Don’t worry about the crappy comments, since Miss Christine and Mr. Wheelbarrow are obviously in the minority. Thank you, Della and all who posted here in the name of common humanity.

  36. steve levy says:

    Don’t blame the sinner-blame the sin. ALL OF YOU!

  37. Frank King says:

    Have not seen Tommy in years but I loved him like a brother.
    Tommy I miss you and shed tears for you.
    Sorry my life in the Navy put such time between us.

  38. Jean Ely says:

    And the sin being???

  39. Rollin Kiefer says:

    Tommy, Bob and I loved you like a brother as well as Dave. I am sobbing like a child typing this. Heartfelt sympathy to both families. I can’t believe you are gone Tommy. Go eAsy bro…..

  40. E.M. Maxx says:

    Hey Levy WTF?????? Let these two rest in peace. Kids are involved. This is a horrible tragedy. Let the families grieve without having to read bull$&@t.

  41. Had the greatest pleasure in knowing both these awesome feelas we all leave here someday most of us go to heaven. These two went right through the pearly gates .Many fond memorys of manny and tom they both had the biggest given hearts of anybody i have met .eternity in heaven isnt a bad choice god bless there familys and may there best memorys be there always gone but not forgotten.I took them across the ferry two weeks ago and will never forget them.Manny came up to the pilot house and hugged me and kissed the back of my head i will never forget them both i will pray for all of us to see god someday ill see you there and remember our god i8s a forgiven god peace on earth till we meet again!

  42. Lon Parisi says:

    It’s been two days and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I never in a million years would have thought I’d be writing to a blog like this. Tommy Wheeler was a once-in-a-life-time friend and person. I’ve known him since I was 12 years old (about 32 years). I remember him being the “new kid” in town (even though I was from The City). We were as tight as tight can be. He was one of the most real people I’ve ever met. He was a groomsman in my wedding, a great “surrogate uncle” to my kids, and just a great friend. If you didn’t know him, you missed out on someone special in this life. He was an honorary brother in my family and I’m sure his family would reciprocate the feeling. I loved him as a person and there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him or him for me. This world is certainly worse without him. I can’t stress enough what a great friend Tommy was to me, my parents, my children, my in-laws, and every ancillary person I introduced him to. I think most of us share a similar feeling for the people associated with this horrific event who are no longer with us.

    A lot of this blog/forum has addressed someone named Christine. I’m not a hater and I don’t want to light her up. Christine is obviously a very lonely person that has nothing better to do than make her own pathetic life seem better by degrading the misfortunes of other people. Notice she is the second blogger. I guess she couldn’t wait to be the first (or second) one to show her dysfunctional opinion of people she didn’t really know. Believe it or not I actually feel bad for her as well as the few other haters on this blog. If they really new Tommy Wheeler (I didn’t know Manny really), their accusatory overtones wouldn’t exist. Their comments would be remorseful due to the realization that some great people are no longer with us. Instead, they’d rather count of beer cans in parked vehicles and extrapolate details while combining speculation and inference.

    I have an idea. Since Christine is the self-professed seer of Sag Harbor, please provide all of us with the next winning numbers for the NYS Lottery since you have such prescience about what the future will bring. Oh wait, that may too tough. Instead, please provide us with yesterday’s winning numbers. At least you’d be regurgitating something based in fact rather than pure speculation. Sorry all. I couldn’t help it. I can’t just let someone talk about a great friend and not have a retort. I refuse to let some small-minded people defile the name of a person I have had the honor to know and respect. Call me crazy.

  43. Staci Otto-Martin says:

    Excellent Lon!!! We know the truth and you summed it all up perfectly.

  44. Rollin Kiefer says:

    Well said Lon. Seems like yesterday we were at jc’s singing karaoke with Charley.
    See you at the service.

  45. Alexis says:

    Whoa, everyone needs to ease up on Christine…never in her post did she say that they deserved to die, it is an absolute tragedy for certain. It is horrible that they are leaving loved ones behind and so sad. IF it is TRUE that they were drinking and also traveling down a windy road at over 100 miles an hour that is sad as well. Any of you who are ridiculing Christine how would you feel if your child had been riding their bike and these men hit them under those circumstances? It is a small town and it is not difficult to get the facts quickly, we all know this. I understand that there is a time and place for everything but maybe this IS the time, when everyone is paying attention to point out that people need to be much more careful and not so reckless as this is what happens.

  46. Missie Mahoney says:

    Wow…someone called me and told me to read the comments on here. I have to say….Everyone has an opinion and some of those opinions need to be kept to yourself. There are 3 children of Tommy’s who are missing there father right now and will grow up without him.

    I have been friends with Linda Wheeler for 30 years and everyone seems to forget there is also a wife who has lost her husband some who ment the world to her. I have seen grown men fall apart when they learned of the accident, so words that will hurt someone needn’t be said!!!

    This accident by far was a tragedy. Two people lost there lives….Children lost there father… a wife lost her husband…many friends lost a dear friend… thats what people should be thinking about!

  47. Dan Parkinson says:

    My heart goes out to all family and friends of these two men.I too lost my father at a young age in similar circumstances.Every time I look at my children I think about that day long ago.It is a constant reminder to me of how much I love my children and what it means to them to have me as their father.This is a tragedy of uncountable measure that I hope can be a reminder for all of us to PLEASE drive safely every time we get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.The life you save may be your own or someone else’s.
    May God bless us and keep us safe from harm.Deepest sympathy to all who knew them.

  48. Sue says:

    I do not live in Sag Harbor. As a matter of fact I live across the country on the west coast. But I know a little about Tommy through his wonderful mother who is my dear friend. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak Frannie and Bobby are going through right now. And I’m sure that Manny’s family is going through the same. I just pray that the Lord will give them the strength and comfort and grace to get through this painful tragedy. Life will never be the same for them … but I pray that the love of family and friends will keep them going. Frannie, I’m here for you if you need me.

    Rest in peace Tommy and Manny.

  49. David Murphy says:

    I met Tommy through Lon back in the early 90s. Even though I only saw him maybe a few times a year he made you feel like a friend. He had a gift for making people laugh and an infectious smile. I remember going to pick Tommy up to golf one morning and before we could back out of the driveway one of his boys (maybe Lucas) came running up to the car to give Tommy a rock. Not sure why but Tommy made sure to thank him for the rock. He apparently got many rocks but thanked them just the same for each one. He got such a kick out of his boys.

    Tommy – I didn’t see you much in the last 10 years. You made me laugh so much. And now I can’t help but cry as I think of you. Rest in peace my friend. Visits to Sag Harbor will be a little lonelier without you there.

  50. craig B says:

    Thank you for that Dan.I will never forget.I will always remember.One more very important thing you overlooked.In addition to driving SAFELY (put those cell phones away) you must always drive DEFENSIVELY.I have been inches away from collisions from deer jumping across the road and drivers in the oncoming traffic lane crossing over the line more times than I care to remember.There are many reasons why people lose control of their vehicles and this is not the place to discuss that.But these are the 2 basic things you learn to watch out for early on living out here.I doubt we’ll ever know what really happened but if nothing else I hope we can remember these two unfortunate souls by honoring them with safe responsible conscious behavior every time we put on our seatbelts.I also would like to extend my deepest sympathy for all who survive them.

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