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Soldier Who Fought 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Killed in I-490 Crash

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Rochester: Soldier Who Fought 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Killed in I-490 Crash
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A U.S. Army Sergeant and combat medic who openly opposed the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy has been identified as the man killed on Interstate 490 Thursday night.

Darren Manzella, 36, gained national attention in the fight to end the military's policy against gays from serving in the U.S. military. Numerous online tributes have popped up in Manzella's honor.

Steve Ralls, a former publicist with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network who worked with Darren remembered his service and his generosity.

"He was an exemplary service member, and he was just an extraordinarily giving person. He always had a smile. He continued his advocacy for a repeal on his own dime and on his own time after being discharged from the Armed Services. It's an extraordinary loss because not only was he, he was a newlywed, he just wed his partner on July 5 and was starting a career with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, continuing his service to men and women in uniform because that who he was, a very giving and generous person," said Ralls.

"There are a lot of people serving on active duty today, open about who they are, who have Darren to thank for that and I think that will be is legacy."

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Manzella was trying to push his car out off of 490 after a minor crash. That's when deputies say another vehicle hit him from behind.
Manzella was pronounced dead at the scene.

The drivers of the other vehicles were taken to local hospitals and are expected to be okay.

Manzella was a native of Portland, Chautauqua County. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP