Driver in Long Island crash that killed 5 was speeding in excess of 100 mph: Police

WABC logo
Friday, October 8, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

Police have released new information about a head-on collision on Long Island that killed five people and seriously injuring another earlier this year.

QUOGUE, Long Island (WABC) -- Police have released new information about a head-on collision on Long Island that killed five people and seriously injuring another earlier this year.

Investigators say black box data shows the Nissan Maxima involved in the crash was traveling at speeds upwards of 106 mph before the driver veered into oncoming traffic and hit a Toyota Prius on Montauk Highway in Quogue just before midnight on July 24.

The Prius was operated by an Uber driver who had four passengers.

ALSO READ | Officers race through Brooklyn to save life of 1-year-old

That driver, 32-year-old Farhan Zahid, and passengers 20-year-old Michael Farrell, his 25-year-old brother James Farrell, and 25-year-old Ryan Kiess were all killed.

The fourth Uber passenger, 22-year-old Brianna Maglio, was critically injured. She was Kiess' longtime girlfriend.

The Maxima, driven by 22-year-old Justin Mendez, who was also killed, was traveling at 86 mph at the point of impact, with no indication of braking.

The Prius was going 27 mph, down with braking from a top speed of 38 mph.

Village Police Chief Christopher Isola said a Quogue officer traveling eastbound saw Mendez speeding in the westbound lanes and turned around to pull him over, but the officer didn't catch up before the crash.

"I saw a red car near the old VFW in Quogue on Montauk Highway," a witness told police. "I did not realize after my headlights had illuminated the vehicle that the red car had no lights on and was completely blacked out. When this vehicle passed me, it appeared as the vehicle was traveling at over 100 miles per hour, which sounded like a race car, taking my breath away. Next, I saw a police car with emergency lights on around 100 yards or 10-15 seconds behind the red car, with the police car not making any headway of closing the distance between them."

The Attorney General's Office said there was no cause to file charges against the police officer who was following the Maxima.

Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne sat down Friday with Kiess' father, Kurt Kiess, to discuss the police department's findings.

"How did he get up to 106 miles per hour?" Kiess asked of Mendez.

Kiess said he believes Mendez was fleeing from the officer, and he filed a notice of claim against the Quogue Village Police Department as well as Suffolk County for not maintaining a safe roadway.

"The road is plenty wide enough," he said. "It could have a center divider in it."

ALSO READ | Brian Laundrie's father continues search for son in Gabby Petito case

Kiess said he won't stop until a divider is added to the roadway.

He also said Maglio, the sole survivor of the crash, is still in critical condition.

"It's a long, long road," he said. "We love her. She's getting better."


* More Long Island news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a News Tip