Michael Farrell and his brother, James Farrell, were killed in a horrific Quogue crash that killed five people and injured another. The Farrell brothers, who were both Manhasset alums, were riding in a Toyota Prius when a Nissan Maxima slipped over the yellow lines and smashed into them head-on.
According to police, both vehicles were heading in opposite directions on Montauk Highway near Quogue Street at around 11:20 p.m. when they crashed. Police in Quogue Village claimed the Nissan Maxima was heading westbound when it veered into oncoming traffic. Investigators are still trying to understand what happened and determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash.
Investigators suspect that excessive speed is the main cause of the crash. Authorities believe the driver of the Nissan Maxima was speeding down the highway when he lost control of the vehicle. Five people were killed in the crash including the Farrell brothers, who were riding in the Toyota Prius when the fatal crash occurred.
Police identified the other passengers of the Prius as 25-year-old Ryan Kiess and 22-year-old Brianna Maglio. Kiess died on the scene. Maglio was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in critical condition. It was reported that Ryan Kiess and Brianna Maglio were dating. It’s unclear whether Maglio was informed of her boyfriend’s death.
The driver of the Toyota Prius was 32-year-old Farhan Zahid from Bay Shore. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Zahid was an Uber driver who had been driving for the company for two years. He was driving four passengers when the tragic accident occurred.
The driver of the Nissan Maxima was identified as Justin Mendez, a 22-year-old from Brookhaven. Mendez was rushed to Southampton Hospital, but he was pronounced dead a few hours later. Investigators are trying to determine whether Justin Mendez was drunk at the time of the crash. Initial reports have come back inconclusive.
Many of the victims of the Quogue crash were from Manhasset, Long Island. According to reports, Ryan Kiess and James Farrell played lacrosse together and were childhood friends. The pair went to school together from elementary through high school. The Farrell brothers – along with Kiess and Maglio – got an Uber around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and were on their way to a dance club.
“It’s surreal. I’m in shock still,” Nina Kiess, Ryan’s mother, explained. “You never want your children to predecease you. It breaks our hearts. We see this happen on TV. … Then all of a sudden, boom, you have it happen to you. It’s like a nightmare. It’s a nightmare.”
Bill Cherry, who coached James Farrell, Michael Farrell, and Ryan Kiess at Manhasset High School, said that he remembered the men fondly. “I coached all three of them over the years and it’s just unbelievable,” Cherry admitted. “These were great kids, three-sport athletes, who played football, basketball, and lacrosse … This is so senseless, so heartbreaking.”
According to Kurt Kiess, Ryan Kiess’ father, Ryan and James Farrell were best friends. “They lived 200 yards apart; they took the school bus together and were sports teammates, playing lacrosse,” Mr. Kiess said, claiming that the men were like brothers. “There was a big group of them, the Manhasset High School Class of 2014. The boys were very close, they were always together.”
Kurt Kiess said his son met his girlfriend, Brianna Maglio, at the University of Scranton. They both played lacrosse and were dating for six years before the fatal Quogue crash. “They were a fantastic couple,” Kiess admitted. “We’re praying for her.”
Ryan Kiess, his girlfriend, and the Farrell brothers had all been celebrating at his parents’ new house. “It was our first party,” Kurt Kiess said. “All of his friends were in the cottage, playing games and dancing,” he said. “They helped clean up and then they called an Uber to go dancing. 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.”
Following the tragic crash on Montauk Highway on Saturday, the devasted families demand change to the roadway. “It’s a curvy road,” Mr. Kiess said. “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 said that while “it can’t help my son … maybe it can help someone else.” There had been no confirmation that any work will go into fixing the Montauk Highway.
An Uber spokesperson has since addressed the crash and its victims. “Our thoughts are with the families of Mr. Zahid and the four others who lost their lives in this heartbreaking crash, and we hope the survivor makes a full recovery.”