GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) – A Catholic priest run down by a woman accused of driving drunk was remembered Saturday for his lighthearted humor and optimism.

More than 800 people attended the funeral for William Costello, a monsignor who retired full time from the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1998 but continued to celebrate Sunday Mass at the Church of St. Anne.

“Everybody who knew him was devastated by what happened,” said Cynthia Cervoni, who works at the church rectory. She remembered Costello as “probably one of the happiest people I’ve ever known.”

“He just loved what he did,” she said. “You never really saw him upset and he always had a smile.”

Costello was out for a stroll in East Hampton after visiting his sister on Tuesday when he was hit by a car driven by Karen Fisher, whose license had been suspended after being arrested in April for drunken driving.

Police said Fisher’s blood alcohol reading after Tuesday’s crash was 0.28, more than three times the legal limit. She was arraigned on drunken driving and other charges.

At a wake on Friday, St. Anne’s pastor Monsignor John Gilmartin said that Costello would want to forgive Fisher.

“He would want to help this woman and pray with her,” said Gilmartin. He said he lived with Costello for several years at the rectory, where both were die-hard fans of the New York Mets.

“We got the scores in the morning, then went to do Mass,” Gilmartin said.

Costello, who was a priest for 54 years, served in numerous parishes across Long Island. He held several leadership roles in the diocese, including as a member of the Priest Senate, and was on the board of Catholic Charities and Little Flower Children’s Services in Wading River.


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