Dawn Salamone isn't sad that Frank Nastasi Sr. is dead.
Nastasi killed three of Salamone's employees eight years ago when he deliberately drove his Cadillac at high speed into a Mount Ephraim McDonald's that Salamone managed. Nastasi died in prison this week, six months before his parole date.
"I don't feel any emotion for him," Salamone, 45, of Mount Ephraim, said Friday. "He changed not only the families' lives, but mine, too."
Nastasi, 60, of Haddon Heights, pleaded guilty to three counts of vehicular homicide in the May 15, 2002, crash that prosecutors said was a failed suicide attempt.
Three years later, Nastasi, a father of two, was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was serving his time at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton and would have been eligible for parole on Dec. 2.
Several of the victims' relatives said they wanted Nastasi to spend the rest of his life in jail. He died Monday, according to a family death notice, and was buried Friday. No cause of death was given.
Deirdre Fedkenheuer, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, confirmed Nastasi's death, which appears to have been of natural causes. Nastasi, who suffered a series of health problems, was hospitalized last Saturday.
"What happened was a tragedy for the women who were in the McDonald's. It was just as tragic for him and his family," Nastasi's former attorney, Charles H. Nugent Jr., said Friday. "He was a pretty kind and gentle person."
Nastasi suffered from mental illness, Nugent said, adding that the prisoner suffered a heart attack several weeks ago.
The three women killed at the 24-hour McDonald's on the Black Horse Pike - Cynthia Molino, 45; Joanne Marie Bowen, 52; and Nancy King, 49 - were among six employees at work that morning.
"They were dedicated workers. They were there when I needed them. I know in their personal lives, they were the same way," Salamone said.
Bowen, of Mount Ephraim, had almost called out sick on the day of the crash.
"Why don't you stay home? Dawn will understand," Bowen's husband, Wayne, said to his wife the night before, according to Salamone.
"No, no, I'm going in. Dawn needs me," Bowen told him.
Wayne Bowen, a maintenance worker at the restaurant, was due in around 5 a.m., about 40 minutes after the crash, Salamone said.
"They were always together," she said.
King was a manager who worked a 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift. Even though Salamone had said it wasn't necessary, King came in early that day to clean because Salamone was going on vacation.
King, a grandmother from Audubon who was planning to remarry, would ask fellow managers what their favorite cakes were and bake them for birthdays.
"She would give the shirt off her back," Salamone said.
Molino, of Mount Ephraim, had been promoted to overnight-shift manager just two months before the crash. "She had tears in her eyes, she was so excited," Salamone said.
Nastasi hit speeds of up to 100 m.p.h. before crashing through the front of the restaurant. His car plowed through the dining area and came to a halt in the kitchen. Only the drive-through window was open at the time.
The restaurant was razed and reopened in 2003. Salamone, who worked in management for about two decades with McDonald's, stayed with the company for almost a year after the crash.
"I didn't want to go back there. It was just too hard," she said.