More sacrifices for the American way of life. From Newsday, July 6:

Two killed in livery cab crash on Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

Two people were killed and another critically injured early Wednesday when a livery cab rear-ended a tractor trailer on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Woodside and erupted in flames, police said.

Walter Lima, 28, of Corona, the driver of the livery cab, a Lincoln Town Car, was pronounced dead on the scene of the 4:30 a.m. crash, police said.

Firefighters rushed the front seat passenger, Ellen Centero, 35, also of Corona, and a back seat passenger, Juan Velle, 34, of Sunnyside, to Elmhurst Hospital Center, officials said. Centero was pronounced dead at the hospital, while Velle was listed in critical condition Wednesday night, police said. Centero’s family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“He was the best one,” said Lima’s mother, Maria Mercedes Siguenseia, who was waiting for her son to pick her up at 6 a.m. in her Corona home to drive her to the airport for a flight home to Ecuador. “The first thing he would do when he saw me was hug and kiss me on the cheek. I told him to leave his job and come back with me to Ecuador.”

The accident occurred as the livery cab closely followed the 18-wheeler in the westbound, three-lane portion of the expressway just before the Broadway overpass, police said.

The tractor trailer driver, who was unhurt, told police that he began to slow his rig because he was not certain the truck could clear the 12-foot, 9-inch overpass, police said. The livery cab barreled into the truck’s rear, wedging its hood underneath a metal footrail and exploding in flames, police said.

A police Emergency Services Unit truck had to pull out the cab, its top sheared off, from the back end of the truck. No summonses were issued to the truck driver, who stayed on the scene.

Lima’s mother and ex-wife said Wednesday that they tried to warn the father of two about the dangers of the job. Again and again, they asked him to find other, safer work, but he refused. The emigrant from Cuenca, Ecuador, typically began working at 3 a.m. and ended his shifts at 10 a.m., working six days a week, they said.

The tractor trailer is owned by Hub Truck Rental Corporation, based in Farmingdale, records show. A person who picked up the phone at the company explained that the particular 18-wheeler was rented out for the day, but declined further comment.

The stretch of road where the accident happened has been under construction for the past year, and was the site of a January fuel tanker explosion in which 8,000 gallons of gasoline spilled onto the expressway, sending flames and black smoke into the air. No one was hurt in that incident, which occurred on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

See more reasons WHY WE FIGHT.