By John Toolejtoole@eagletribune.com
---- — WINDHAM – Businessman William DeLuca III, whose charitable and community interests have made him a popular town resident, is in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital after a freak accident during Sandy.
Police Capt. Michael Caron said DeLuca was a passenger in a vehicle struck by a falling tree as the storm moved through town Monday afternoon.
The accident happened at about 5 p.m. on Range Road, near Hawley Road, and kept the busy road closed for about two hours.
“We had a motor vehicle accident on Range Road just above Cobbetts Pond,” fire Chief Tom McPherson said. “There were three occupants in the car. One occupant was seriously injured due to a tree that had fallen on the vehicle.”
DeLuca was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Boston, McPherson said.
DeLuca’s business interests include Bank of New England, which his father founded, and the DeLuca auto dealerships in the Merrimack Valley, Selectmen’s Chairman Bruce Breton said.
In Windham, DeLuca is a quiet, but popular presence through his involvement with the Cobbetts Pond Improvement Association and charitable causes.
“Bill is one of those people in the community who are so involved at the grassroots level,” Selectman Kathleen DiFruscia said. “He is one of the people who make Windham the community it is.”
DeLuca is one of the most generous people DiFruscia knows. He is the first to lend a helping hand to someone who is out of work or otherwise in need, she said.
“He is very quiet about it,” she said.
DeLuca also has supported town fireworks displays and work at Griffin Park.
“He does a lot of charitable work,” Rep. Mary Griffin said.
“He is very community oriented,” Breton said.
DeLuca is a past president of the Cobbetts Pond group, a leader on association projects such as dam maintenance, DiFruscia said.
“He is the one always orchestrating that,” she said.
DeLuca, his wife, Maz, and their family were foremost in the minds of community leaders who were concerned for their welfare.
DiFruscia said she was devastated to learn DeLuca was seriously hurt.