Funerals begin in Farmingdale crash that killed 5 teens

Kristin Thorne reports on latest developments in Farmingdale car crash which took the lives of 5 teenagers over the weekend. (WABC)
May 13, 2014 3:01:25 PM PDT
Friends, family and classmates gathered Tuesday to bid a final farewell to the first of five Long Island high school students to be laid to rest following a deadly crash over the weekend.

Funeral services for 18-year-old Jesse Romero were held at the Arthur F. White Funeral Home in Farmingdale.

A wake for 17-earold driver Tristan Reichle, who was behind the wheel when his car careened into oncoming traffic and struck an SUV early Saturday, took place at the Fredrick J. Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage.

Grief counselors remain on hand at Farmingdale High School, where all five victims were students, though one had already graduated.

Four of them -- Reichle, Romero, 14-year-old Carly Lonborg and 15-year-old Noah Francis -- died immediately after the accident, while the fifth, 17-year-old Cody Talanian, died at Nassau University Medical Center late Sunday.

"I'm doing bad," said Emilio Romero, Jesse's father. "My son is my life, from when he was born until now."

Romero tell us that his son had been hanging out with the four other teens at a restaurant in Farmingdale and had just texted him that he was on his way home.

As the community continues the grieving process, police are still investigating the cause of the deadly crash.

CLICK HERE to see images from the scene of the crash and from the emotional vigil

Eyewitness News obtained exclusive surveillance video which shows the minutes leading up to the crash on Conklin Street. a road known for speeding.

It shows two cars driving side by side traveling at a high rate of speed. Minutes later an ambulance goes by.

It's unclear if one of these cars was the car carrying all the teens.

Bruce Sargente works along the busy road and says people speed all the time.

"Something has to be done. i don't know what needs to be done, if you have to put a cop on every street corner. I don't know how to fix it," said Sargente.

We spoke with State Senator Kemp Hannon via Skype today from Albany.

He says they are requesting that a study be done of the roadway to see if something can be done to fix the road.

"There's a lot of resistence to speed cameras but frankly if we continue to have deaths we have to say speed limits have a purpose, can be expanded," said Hannon.

Family members say the friends had been hanging out, as they did many times before, in a parking lot about a half a mile away from where the accident happened.

"He had so many things that were going well for him," Reichle's uncle George Gasparotti said. "He got a job. He was going to be 18 in two weeks. He had everything the whole world."

Many students at Farmingdale High School wore green Monday, the school's color, to show their solidarity.

School principal Glen Zakian was expecting the coming days to be the most difficult of his career.

"We will have grief counselors, social workers, guidance counselors, school psychologists all on staff, ready to help not only our students, but our faculty as well," he said. "There going to be looking at their student body and knowing there's a loss in their classroom, too. So our main goal is to help the students get through this, and then the faculty and staff as we fight through this."

Next to the spot where the crash happened, friends have been leaving flowers with notes, colorful reminders of the bright lives lost and the dark cloud now hanging over Farmingdale.

A wake will be held for Lonborg Wednesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Trudden Funeral Home at 385 Main Street in Farmingdale. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Kilian's Church at 485 Conklin Street in Farmingdale.

A wake for Talanian will be held Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home, at 603 Wantagh Avenue in Wantagh. The funeral will be held at 10:45 a.m. Thursday at St. Kilian's.

Francis will be mourned at a wake Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Arthur F. White Funeral Home, followed by a prayer service at 6 p.m. His body will be brought to Kansas City for burial.

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