QUOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Anguished friends and relatives returned to the devastating scene Monday with tearful gestures of support, unable to fathom that five young people are dead and a sixth is clinging to life, following a weekend head-on crash on a curve along Montauk Highway in the Village of Quogue.
“They did everything right. They absolutely did everything right. Unbelievable, unfathomable. The Kiess’s lost their only son, the Farrells lost two out of three of their boys, and we are all praying for Brianna,” said Kathy Gray, a family friend from Manhasset.READ MORE: Gov. Kathy Hochul Increases Pressure On COVID Vaccine Holdouts As Deadline For Health Care Workers Approaches
The hamlet of Manhasset is in mourning. The tragic collision claimed the lives of two brothers and their best friend. All three were sport stars at Manhasset High School, and went on to college stardom: Michael Farrell, 20, James Farrell, 25, and Ryan Kiess, 25.
Ryan’s 22-year-old girlfriend Brianna Maglio of Garden City, a neonatal nurse who played college lacrosse at Scranton, remains in critical condition.
The four had been celebrating the Kiess’s new Remsenberg home, cleaned up after the family party, called an Uber at 11 p.m. to take them dancing in nearby Southampton. Experienced Uber driver Farhan Zahid, 32, a father of three, responded in his Toyota Prius.
“It’s a big loss. Just unbelievable. Can’t imagine he is no more. I still think he is around me and is coming back,” said his widow Hifsa Ahmed.
As Farhan drove eastbound through Quogue, his Uber was struck head on by 22-year-old driver and sole occupant of a Nissan Maxima Justin Mendez, of Shirley, who apparently veered into oncoming traffic.
Quogue police are determining if excessive speed was the cause. His parents are devastated.READ MORE: Global Citizen Live Returns To Central Park For Star-Studded Concert
“I don’t know how what happened, but I don’t want anyone to think any less of my son, because he was a good boy. He was our everything,” Justin’s father Octavio Perez said.
“He didn’t live to see, this because the guilt would have just chewed him up. He probably wouldn’t have been able to function, taken somebody else’s life. My son was very humble,” said Justin’s mother Aida Perez.
Locals are calling the curve treacherous.
“It’s a very, very hard curve, especially at night. Hard to see the cars coming. At minimum, should have a serious yellow light constantly flashing,” said Quogue resident Lynn Mestel.
State Police are assisting Quogue police with accident reconstruction, and plan to hold a briefing Tuesday.
The grieving parents are in shock and understandably unable to contain their emotions.
“This is an unthinkable tragedy both personally and professionally for me. I had the pleasure of knowing Michael, James and Ryan, as well as their families, while students from 7th-12th grades and beyond. These boys come from beloved families who are extremely connected and valued members of our community. All three of them were fun, bright and well-rounded gentlemen both on and off the playing field and will leave a profound and positive impact on our school community. I am truly saddened over their losses and send my most sincere condolences to their families, friends, and loved ones,” said Manhasset Secondary School Principal Dean Schlanger.MORE NEWS: NYC Congressional Representatives Call On President Biden To Intervene In Rikers Island Crisis
“Our thoughts are with Mr. Zahid and the four others who lost their lives in this heartbreaking crash, and we hope the survivor makes a full recovery,” said an Uber spokesperson.