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The beloved Maspeth bar owner killed by a wrong-way driver close to a year ago might soon have his name immortalized on the street where he grew up.
Community Board 5 voted last week to co-name 60th Drive in Maspeth “George Gibbons Jr. Way,” after the deceased Gibbons, who was killed when Peter Rodriguez drove his car the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway service road and smashed into the livery cab where Gibbons was seated in the back.
Rodriguez was sentenced to up to seven years in prison in May. The driver of the livery car was hospitalized with severe head, neck and back injuries while Rodriguez’s passenger, who initially fled, returned to the site of the wreck and was also hospitalized for head injuries.
Rodriguez was arrested one month after the crash in Connecticut by the Regional Fugitive Task Force, according to the NYPD.
The vote to co-name the street for Gibbons now heads to the City Council. A spokesman for Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said they are hoping to vote on the proposal this winter.
Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5, said the family brought the idea of a street co-naming to the board.
“The family has been so gracious throughout this whole ordeal,” said Giordano. “They have showed so much grace and class every step of the way.”
Gibbons’ family members said seeing his name on the block where the bar owner grew up would be a great way to remember the Maspeth man.
“Our father still lives on that block and a lot of people we grew up with are still there, too,” said Brendan Gibbons. “To see my brother’s name up there, to remember him, it keeps his name alive.”
He said his sister lives on the block with her children and, if a sign is put up, they would see it every time they walk to school — serving as a way for the young children to learn about their uncle.
Brendan Gibbons also said that while police could not prove Rodriguez was driving under the influence of alcohol because he was not caught until a month after the accident, the street sign would still be a great reminder to stay safe on the road.
“When you get behind the wheel, you never know what might happen,” he said. “It’s a reminder to everyone else.”
In keeping his memory alive, the family has since reopened the bar, Gibbons’s Home, which is now being run by Gibbons’ five siblings.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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