Brianna Maglio was the sole survivor of a fatal car crash that killed five people on Montauk Highway on Saturday. The 22-year-old and her three friends were taking an Uber from a house party in Quogue to a dance club when a vehicle in the opposite direction crossed the yellow line and smashed into them head-on.
Maglio was rushed to the hospital in critical condition where she is being treated for her injuries. Ryan Kiess, Maglio’s boyfriend, was killed in the crash along with two brothers from Manhasset. Kiess’ father is waiting with Maglio’s family at Peconic Bay Medical Center. He said that “we are praying for Bri.”
According to Mr. Kiess, “Bri is like our third daughter. We love her and we need her to get better.” He explained that Brianna Maglio is in the ICU in critical condition. Doctors are currently doing everything they can to stabilize her and it’s unclear if surgery will be necessary.
Ryan Kiess’ father continued, saying that “people don’t know what they can do for us. Well, they can pray for Bri. She’s still in ICU and she hasn’t woken up. I kissed her this morning. I’ll kiss her this afternoon.”
Brianna Maglio was a student at the University of Scranton. She met Ryan Kiess while playing lacrosse for the school. The couple were together for six years before the tragic accident. Pictures of the pair filled their social media profiles, showing a couple very much in love.
“Ryan and Bri dated the past six years and were the cutest couple you ever saw,” Ryan Kiess’ father said. “Five-foot tall Bri and 6-foot-3 Ryan, they were just fun-loving people and would help anybody. Saturday night we were just having a party at our house. They helped clean up and left to go dancing and our lives were changed forever.”
Brianna Maglio was working as a nurse for New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan following her graduation from the University of Scranton. She grew up in Garden City, New York. Her hometown posted on Twitter in support of her recovery.
“Say a prayer for Brianna Maglio of Garden City tonight,” the post read. “She’s in critical condition from that awful car accident in Quogue that killed 5 people.”
Attached to the post was a picture of Maglio. The photo was captioned: “[Brianna] Maglio is the best, fun-loving, sweetest, young, beautiful, respectful, loyal person with a lot of energy. Always smiling. Her smile would light up a room.”
No new information about Brianna Maglio’s condition was available Tuesday morning. The prognosis is unclear at this time. She has been hospitalized for four days, and there is no indication that she will be released soon.
The tragic crash in Quogue claimed the lives of five men. Along with Ryan Kiess and brothers from Manhasset, the drivers from both vehicles were killed in the accident. The 32-year-old Uber driver, Farhan Zahid from Bay Shore, was killed. He was the driver of the Toyota Prius. The driver of the Nissan Maxima was identified as Justin Mendez, a 22-year-old from Brookhaven.
Police said that the Nissan Maxima crossed over the yellow line on Montauk Highway. It’s not clear whether Mendez was drunk at the time, but investigators suspect excessive speed was a main factor in the accident. They say Justin Mendez lost control of his vehicle and swerved into oncoming traffic.
According to their families, the Uber passengers were making the responsible decision by using a ride-share service. Kurt Kiess, Ryan Kiess’ father, said the group was all celebrating at his new house that night. “It was our first party. All of his friends were in the cottage, playing games and dancing.”
“They helped clean up and then they called an Uber to go dancing,” Kiess explained. “He walked into the living room and got into the car— and that was the last time I saw my son. You see these things on the news and you say, ‘That’s somebody else’ — and then it becomes your family.”
Ryan Kiess, Brianna Maglio, and the brothers from Manhasset got into their Uber around 10:30 p.m. It was around 11:20 p.m. when they crashed, according to police. Investigators are still trying to understand what happened and are working to make Montauk Highway a safer roadway.
“It’s a curvy road,” Kurt Kiess explained of the highway. “It shouldn’t be that dangerous. The amount of traffic on Montauk Highway has increased over the years.” Ryan Kiess’ father said that officials “need to be more responsible.” Kiess continued, saying that while “it can’t help my son … maybe it can help someone else.”
Update: Police have released additional information regarding the crash. According to Quogue Police Chief Chris Isola, Justin Mendez was running from police when he lost control of his vehicle on Montauk Highway. Isola said there was no official police chase but that an officer was in the process of putting his lights on when the tragic accident occurred.
Justin Mendez had a “quantity of marijuana,” according to police, and was attempting to outrun cops when he crashed. “The officer spots Mendez 1,000 feet inside the village of Quogue, heading west,” Isola said in a news conference on Tuesday. “There’s a sharp turn. The officer had a very brief view of the vehicle. He very quickly loses sight and never catches up.”
He continued saying the cop had only turned his overhead lights for “several seconds” before Mendez smashed into the Toyota Prius but claimed “there was no chase. The officer attempted to gain a view of the vehicle.”