Richard McWilliams and his ten-month-old son Donny were on their way home from trick-or-treating with family and friends Halloween night when they were struck by a car on Grant Avenue in Islip around 6:30p.m.

McWilliams, in an effort to save his son, pushed Donny’s stroller out of the way, receiving the brunt of the hit himself. The Cadillac Sedan that hit Richard and his family was speeding down a residential block without any lights.

Richard and Donny were brought to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip to be treated after 911 was dialed by his sister and neighbors who witnessed the incident.

Donny’s car seat was ejected from the stroller after the car clipped its back wheel. Richard was hit in the legs, shooting him upward onto the hood of the car, his arm and head breaking the windshield. He then barreled to the pavement once the car slammed on its breaks, hitting Richard again before making a complete stop.

Donny is currently healing from a concussion alongside his father who suffered a major tibia and fibula break, knee dislocation, sprained wrist, internal bruising and muscle tears throughout his chest and rib cage, road rash, and facial lacerations resulting in over 20 stitches. Richard has currently undergone one surgery for his leg and is scheduled for second one later this week.

“My entire family is traumatized from this accident,” says McWilliams. “My four-year-old [son] and two six-year-old nieces are for sure, they had to watch me get slammed and pancaked into a bloody mess right in front of their young innocent eyes.”

“This accident and the repercussions could have totally been avoided and are 100% caused by negligence and irresponsible behavior behind the wheel,” says Richard. “The driver had no headlights on after dark and was speeding down my residential block towards a stop sign fifty feet away on the one night of the year you expect groups of children and families to be walking the streets. More care and attention needs to be had and utilized when driving in a residential area, especially on a holiday like Halloween. Anyone who does otherwise is reckless, including the driver in this incident.”

McWilliams’ wife, sister, nieces and children, along with neighbors and friends from the neighborhood were with him during the incident.

“My sister didn’t think I was going to make it from how I looked. My wife has been a super mom with PTSD, as I like to describe her at this point. She is still working full time, while taking the boys to and from school and (with help from family) taking care of me, as well as my pet lizard.”

Richard is the proud owner of a community beloved store Blast from the Past, a vintage toy and game store in Bayshore, however due to his injuries and upcoming surgery, he is unable to work, leaving his wife with most of the household responsibilities.

“The way it’s affected the children is the most heartbreaking to me. Leonardo won’t sleep anywhere but next to me though as he wants to make sure my ‘boo boos’ get better and that he is there in the middle of the night if I need a band aid to fix them! I’m so proud of him for being so strong and stepping up to help me.” Leonardo is Richard’s older son, Donny’s big brother who witnessed their accident.

“We are hurt, traumatized and healing, but the most important thing is that we still have each other and more time together. I am trying to stay positive,” Richard told The Messenger.

Richard posted his store hours on Facebook that Halloween Day, beginning with the words “Be safe out there!” His next post is five days later, where he shares his initial thoughts waking up on the concrete after being hit by the car. “The only thought I can muster and put into words are ‘is he alright?’” explains Richard. “I can finally hear someone answer with ‘he’s fine, you need to stay still though.’ I’m not sure who answered me, but I believe them. My entire soul relaxes, and I am grateful.”

Friends and community members refer to Richard as an amazing person who always finds a way to help others.

“He would give you the shirt off your back if you needed one,” says Richard’s sister, Eileen, who organized a GoFundMe for Richard and his family. Eileen has raised over $16,000 for her brother and is just about to reach her goal of $20,000. Family describes him as a loving husband and father of his two boys.

Blast from the Past is currently accepting donations of vintage items to help maintain the flow of inventory that Richard usually provides. “We will play it day by day after the holiday, but we will fight to keep as much normalcy within the walls of Blast from the Past as possible through this tragedy,” says Richard. “We open at 10:00a.m. seven days a week and will continue to do so throughout the holiday shopping season. We ask for our communities’ support while choosing where you shop this holiday season as every $1 spent with us will help us through these months of struggle that face us.” This coming Saturday is Small Business Saturday and the perfect time to get holiday shopping done early while supporting your local business owners.

Donations can be new or used and played with. All are accepted by Blast from the Past.

Here is a list of items that could help the store:

– Vintage video games and handhelds and systems (Atari, Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation, Gameboy, Turbo Grafx, Neo Geo, Xbox) Nintendo switch, PlayStation 5

– Vintage toys such as Star Wars, GI Joe, Mego, Voltron, transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He Man, Thundercat, Marvel and DC characters

– Vintage girl toys such as Barbie’s, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, She Ra, Monster High, Bratz dolls, Trolls 

– Lego loose bins, figures, or sealed sets 

– Horror figures, movies, and memorabilia

– Movies new or used (VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, laser disc, Beta)

– Comic books, graphic novels, Manga, trading cards, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering 

It is vital to drive safely every day, however on Halloween, extra caution and eyes on the road should be the first priority of anybody getting behind the wheel. Families trick or treating should always be aware of their surroundings, and if you feel the need to drive on a night where kids are running around the neighborhood, be sure to follow the rules of the road, be responsible, and have a watchful eye. Reckless driving should never be tolerated.

Richard was a hero to his son that Halloween day. His paternal reflexes saved his son’s life without any hesitation or regard for his own. The Messenger admires and commends Richard on his heroic actions, and we wish him and Donny a speedy and full recovery.

Richard (middle) with sons, Donny (left) and Leonardo (Right) after the accident.
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Kaitlyn Foley is an Entertainment and Lifestyle Reporter and Staff Writer for the Messenger Papers. She is the weekly author of our Seasonal Column on Page 17. As a graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology, Kaitlyn has a passion for fashion journalism and creative writing. In addition to writing, Kaitlyn also works as one of our Media and Website Associates.