Popular Mount Vernon pizzeria owner dies in I-684 crash

Posted: Updated:
MOUNT VERNON -

The owner of a popular Mount Vernon pizzeria died over the weekend in a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 684, prompting an outpouring of support across the city.

State police say 69-year-old Maria Piscopo, who owned Johnny's Pizza, was riding in the passenger seat of her son's SUV when they rear-ended another vehicle around 1 a.m. Saturday.

Joseph Piscopo, 47, pulled over to the highway shoulder. Then a box truck slammed into his vehicle. Emergency workers brought everyone involved in the crash to Westchester Medical Center, where Maria Piscopo was pronounced dead. 

Police are still investigating the accident.

For almost 80 years, people have been going to Johnny's Pizzeria for its famous thin crust pizza. The neighborhood staple has been owned and operated by the Piscopo family since it opened in 1942.  Maria's late husband, also named Joseph, had taken over the business from his father.

Victor Fiorenza, the owner of Tony and Victor's auto repair across the street, says he has known the Piscopos for years. He says the whole neighborhood is mourning.

"They're a nice family and I just pray for them," he says.

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