A 90-year-old Aquebogue man died shortly after being involved in a two-vehicle accident on Middle Road Friday morning, according to Riverhead Town Police and his family.
Columbus Redden, who spent decades working at Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue, was the passenger in a pickup truck when the crash occurred. Mr. Redden was initially taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center, but was later airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he died later that day, according to Riverhead Lt. Rick Boden.
A car driven by a 74-year-old Middle Island man was exiting Foxwood Village onto Middle Road and collided with the pickup truck driven by 78-year-old Jerome Hogan of Riverhead, Lt. Boden said.
The accident is still under investigation, Lt. Boden said, although no charges have been issued so far. The traffic signal at the entrance to Foxwood Village is a red flashing light, and the flashing signal on Middle Road is yellow.
Mr. Redden’s stepson of almost 40 years, George Grigg, said his stepfather loved working and had been on various Long Island farms for more than 45 years.
“He turned 90 in January and has always maintained at least two, sometimes three jobs,” Mr. Grigg said.
He added that his stepfather was helping his friend, Mr. Hogan, when the accident occurred.
“After retiring from Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue, he would help farmers such as Mr. Hogan whenever he was needed,” he said. “In his spare time he would maintain his garden and chickens.”
Crescent Duck Farm owner Doug Corwin said Mr. Redden started working at the duck farm in 1971 or 1972 and worked right up until he neared 90 years old.
“It got to the point where I had to say, ‘Columbus, I can give you a few hours here and there, but there’s no way you can keep going,’ ” Mr. Corwin said.
Mr. Redden was originally from Georgia and migrated north after serving time in the U.S. Army, Mr. Grigg said.
“He will be surely missed by family and friends around Riverhead,” he said.
Malcolm Grigg, who was also a stepson to Mr. Redden, echoed those sentiments.
“He was better to me as a stepfather than regular fathers are,” he said.
Mr. Grigg recalled his stepfather as someone who was very active for his age.
“The only thing he enjoyed more than working was his love for the New York Mets,” he said. “Over the years he had slowed down from fishing, but it was also a passion.”
Mr. Corwin said he loved listening to Mr. Redden’s stories, which included tales from his days in World War II.
“He’s the kind of guy you like to know in your life,” he said. “He was old school. A heck of a man.”
Funeral arrangements were not yet available.
WITH CHRIS LISINSKI