Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 24-year-old Wantagh man was killed when he crashed his vehicle in Levittown over the weekend.Nassau county police said Eklind Veizas was driving his Toyota northbound on Wantagh Avenue when the vehicle left the roadway and hit a utility pole and tree near the corner of Grey Lane at 3:39 a.m. Sunday.He was pronounced dead at the scene.Second Squad detectives impounded the vehicle and are continuing the investigation.
Soto had never anticipated such an event when he first decided to sign up for the Marines. As a 23-year-old working for a landscaping company in Hollywood, the Texas native was walking down the street one day in 1940 when he saw a military poster. “There was this Marine guy on there, and boy he looked sharp up there,” Soto said. “It said, `Join the Marines and see Guatemala, Australia, Japan.”‘ That was all it took for Soto to enlist. Pretty soon, the private was in training in San Diego and then assigned to the USS New Orleans, which would be his home for the next three years. At the small Alhambra back house where Soto now lives, one wall of his living room is dedicated to his time in the service. The front page of an old newspaper from the day after the Pearl Harbor attack is encased. Next to it, are pictures of Soto in his military uniform and a shadow box with several medals inside. Among them is a purple heart. Soto received it after he was wounded during the November 1942 Battle of Tassafaronga, near Guadalcanal. “I remember it was dark,” he said. “You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. All of a sudden, zoom. We felt the (Japanese) torpedoes.” Soto was standing next to his 5-inch anti-aircraft gun when he heard an explosion. “I got hit in the head and the shoulder, and I was knocked unconscious,” he said. “No one saw me.” Dozens of men on his ship died, and several U.S. ships in the battle were badly damaged or sunk. On the New Orleans, damage to the ship’s hull sank the stern of the cruiser, but the crew managed to keep the ship afloat. After finally being discovered by sailors, Soto was taken to safety and treated for his wounds. Soto was promoted to sergeant in 1943 and discharged in 1946. He got married shortly after and had two children, but he got divorced in the 1980s. Before retiring 20 years ago, Soto worked for the postal service and then as a secretary for a Los Angeles junior high school. Every now and then, a bad memory slips in. “When you see all those bombs exploding, bobbing heads in the water, waiting to be rescued – it’s a lot,” he said. “I’ll never forget that day. I’ll never forget it.” email@example.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I remember that morning I was up at 6 a.m.,” the 89-year-old said. “Breakfast was at 8 a.m., so I started polishing my rifle, shining my shoes. I was passing the time.” When the emergency sirens went off, Soto dropped everything and ran up on deck only to see other U.S. ships “taking a heavy beating” in what has become an infamous day in U.S. history. Soto’s ship – a 9,000-ton heavy cruiser – was in dry dock at the time, sans power and under repair. About two hours later, as quickly as everything had begun, the attack that would eventually lead the U.S. into World War II was over. “We got a lot of survivors,” he said. “They were burned very bad, very bad. There was a lot of damage done. The Japanese did more damage that day than the whole war. I will never forget that day.” ALHAMBRA – It was about 7a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, when Joe Soto heard the sirens aboard the USS New Orleans go off, signaling an emergency. “All of a sudden we heard, `All hands to battle stations, all hands to battle stations,”‘ Soto said. “`This is not a drill.”‘ A fleet of Japanese planes and midget submarines had begun their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Soto was shining his shoes.