By Michael O’Keeffe Newsday
SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. – A Mastic couple, whose wedding day was nearly derailed by a traffic accident, said they have received a tidal wave of good wishes from people who have heard the story of their wacky wedding day.
Joseph and Feliece DeMichele, both 36, praised Suffolk County cops — and especially Officer Cody Matthews and Sgt. Thomas Kennedy — for getting them to the Village of Lake Grove Town Hall on time for the ceremony.
“It is a holiday miracle,” Joseph DeMichele said, laughing, during a news conference Sunday at the Suffolk County Police Department’s Seventh Precinct in Yaphank.
DeMichele said the newlyweds and their children, Jayden, 10, and Gianna, 5, were driving west on Montauk Highway when their 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee got into a crash with a motorist who made a U-turn in front of their vehicle at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday. DeMichele said the other driver had been using her phone when the accident occurred. Police said that motorist was not ticketed.
Nobody was hurt in the crash, but the Grand Cherokee was sidelined with a flat tire and the family was shaken up — especially once the couple realized their six-year engagement might be further extended if they didn’t get to town hall on time. That’s when Kennedy asked the family why everybody was dressed up.
“I said, ‘Well, sir, I’m supposed to get married, and everything is crumbling in front of me,’” Joseph DeMichele said.
That’s when Kennedy took control of the situation, Feliece DeMichele said.
“He started pointing — ‘You do this, you do that, you get them there,’” she said.
The family jumped into Matthews’ Suffolk police SUV, and the bride and groom arrived at Lake Grove Town Hall just a few minutes late. They were married by Mayor Robert Scottaline.
Matthews was pressed into service as an official witness and even signed the couple’s marriage certificate after a friend bowed out at the last minute, Joseph DeMichele said.
“I was one man down, and he wound up being that man to save the day,” he said.
Matthews said he could empathize with the couple because he is getting married in June to his fiancee, Alyssa Cagna.
“I also have my own wedding coming up in six months,” he said. “I know how stressful weddings can be.”
The DeMicheles said they have been overwhelmed by friends, relatives and well-wishers from around the country who have contacted them after their story went viral.
“The news [media] has been calling us from everywhere, people have been contacting us from everywhere,” Feliece DeMichele said. “It’s crazy. It’s the craziest day ever.”