Elba community remembers Thruway crash victim

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ELBA, N.Y. (WIVB)- A seat will be now empty at the New Covenant Church in Elba. A dear member of the congregation, 64 year old Edward Torres,  was killed during Tuesdays pileup on the Thruway.

“I didn’t believe it,” said Pastor Edward Brown Jr.

He and Torres were close friends for 25 years.

“It’s been really hard, there’s nothing easy about it,” he said.

NYS Police told News 4 Torres was traveling east on the Thruway, behind a tractor trailer. The rig suddenly braked when it came upon the pileup. Torres couldn’t stop in time and hit the back of the truck.

At least 15 to 20 smaller vehicles and 10 tractor trailers were involved in the crash, according to police.

One person is in the hospital with life threatening injuries.

Torres was a pastor of a Spanish congregation, before joining the New Covenant Church where he helped with bi-lingual services.

For the past decade and a half, Torres has filled the same seat every Sunday.  He played the tambourine every service, bringing joy to his community.

“It was his smile, it was his personality, he was just alive,” said Pastor Brown. “He brought life with him.”

Pastor Brown said there are only about 25 people in their congregation. This loss is deeply affecting their close knit community.

“They said to me what a loss, it’s just something we can’t even begin to understand or what it’s going to be like without him,” he said. “We’ll always hold him in high esteem and always miss his tambourine, always miss the smile, always miss the laugh and the conversation.”

A memorial service is still being planned for Torres.

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