Police continue to search for a hit and run driver that took the life of a Cardinal Spellman High School cheerleading coach and mother of three from Pelham Bay.
Michelle Muccio, 44, was driving south on I-95 near Gun Hill Road with her 16-year-old daughter Francesca, around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17 when a speeding vehicle abruptly cut in front of her.
The erratic maneuver sent Muccio’s 2004 GMC Envoy to spin out, flipping over the road’s metal guardrail, and continuing to roll over several times.
Michelle was partially ejected from the vehicle and did not survive the impact.
Francesca escaped with only minor injuries. She was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center and has now returned to her family.
Her last words to her mother were “Mom be careful” just before the crash.
“It was bad and they knew it,” said Domenick Muccio, Michelle’s father-in-law.
“Her mother had fallen on top of her and my granddaughter had to crawl out of the window,” he added.
Michelle and Francesca were returning from a fundraiser at Cardinal Spellman, where Michelle often dedicated much of her time as a cheerleading coach.
“The kids thought of her as their other mother. She helped the school whenever she was needed,” said Spellman’s principal Daniel O’Keefe. “This is a loss for Spellman, for the Bronx and all of New York City,” he added.
The school held a special Mass on Monday commemorating Michelle’s life.
Domenick recalled that when the Spellman cheer squad had qualified for nationals in Florida, their flights had been cancelled due to a blizzard.
“She had two buses there in no time, she wasn’t going to let anything stop them, just like that, they drove down to Florida in a blizzard,” said Domenick.
Earlier in the day, Michelle was in midtown Manhattan for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, where the Spellman cheer squad had performed.
Her love and devotion to the Spellman cheer program was just like that of her own family.
“She was the core of our family, a person that everyone should have in their lives,” said Domenick. “She did everything for everyone,” he added.
The Muccio family is now left with a huge unanswered question: who was the driver that is responsible for tearing apart their family.
Francesca isn’t able to recall much from the accident, but remembers the car as a dark, SUV similar to her mother’s.
According to Domenick, several social media postings claim the same driver had dangerously cut around them just moments before the accident, helping to reconstruct the vehicle’s movements prior to the accident.
He believes this information will help the police catch the driver.
“That person broke a family, they should turn themselves in,” said Domenick. “That’s what my girls want to know, who killed their mother,” he added.
Michelle is survived by her husband of 22 years, Christopher; her three daughters Nikki Marie, Francesca and Daniella Muccio.
A GoFundMe page was created to defer the costs of her funeral and has raised over $12,000 in just over two days from all of the people and lives Michelle touched.