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5 Long Islanders, Including Brothers, Die After Wrong-Way Car Crash; Woman in Critical Condition

People logo People 7/27/2021 Naledi Ushe
a man smiling for the camera: facebook Ryan Kiess and girlfriend Brianna Maglio © Provided by People facebook Ryan Kiess and girlfriend Brianna Maglio

A group of friends and their Uber driver died in a tragic car crash in Long Island, New York on Saturday when a motorist traveling in the opposite direction veered into their lane and hit them head on.

The accident, which authorities say occurred shortly after 11 p.m. on Montauk Highway near the neighborhood of Quogue, took the lives of five people including brothers Michael Farrell, 20, and James Farrell, 25, Newsday reported. Both were pronounced dead on the scene.

James' former lacrosse teammate Ryan Kiess, 25, also died there, the NY Daily News reported. All three were of Manhasset, Long Island.

Kiess' girlfriend of six years — Garden City resident Brianna Maglio, 22 — is the only survivor and is currently at Peconic Bay Medical Center, listed in critical condition, the New York Post reported.

Farhan Zahid, 32, who was driving the group in his Toyota Prius, was killed in the crash, too, authorities told the outlet. The Bay Shore resident, like the majority of his passengers, was declared dead at the crash site.

Justin Mendez, 22, of Brookhaven, Long Island, is said to have been the driver of the oncoming Nissan Maxima, the NY Daily News reported. He was taken to Southampton Hospital and was later pronounced dead there.

Quogue Village Police believe speed was the leading cause of the crash, Newsday reported.  

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Michael and James Farrell, Kiess, and Maglio had been at a family house party on Saturday night before the accident, the NY Daily News reported. They called an Uber to take them home after 10:30 p.m.

Kiess' father, Kurt, spoke to the outlet about the love his son had for Maglio. Kiess and his girlfriend both played lacrosse at Scranton University.

"Ryan and Bri dated the past six years and were the cutest couple you ever saw," he said. "You would look at a couple like Ryan and Bri and think they would be a great family. That's what was taken away from us."

Kurt added, "I'm at the hospital and we are praying for Bri. Bri is like our third daughter. We love her and we need her to get better. She's in ICU and it's very serious. 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."

a man smiling for the camera: Ryan Kiess and girlfriend Brianna Maglio © facebook Ryan Kiess and girlfriend Brianna Maglio

The grieving father also touched on all the young adults involved in the crash.

"They were good kids, they did everything right," he told the NY Daily News. "They were kind people. They were caring. They loved each other. They had the whole world in front of them."

"We love our children as much as anyone loves their own child. Hug your kid because you never know. My son walked out the living room door at 10:30. I gave him a high five and said, 'Have fun.' My wife hugged all the kids and said, 'Have fun. Be safe.' That didn't happen," Kurt said.

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Speaking to Patch, Kurt said, "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. He walked into the living room and got into the car— and that was the last time I saw my son."

Kiess' mother Nina told Newsday her son was a "gentle heart, gentle giant."

"It's surreal. I'm in shock still. You never want your children to predecease you. It breaks our heart," she continued. "It's like a nightmare. It's a nightmare."

Both the University of Pennsylvania and Scranton University issued statements regarding their former students.

"Our hearts are heavy today.. We mourn the loss of @ScrantonMensLax alum Ryan Kiess '18/'20, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident late Saturday evening. He was 25," Scranton wrote on Twitter. 

They added, "Former @ScrantonWLAX letterwinner Brianna Maglio '19 was also involved in the accident and is still in critical condition at a local hospital…. please keep both the Kiess & Maglio families in your thoughts and prayers."

The University of Pennsylvania remembered its former athlete, writing, "Our hearts are broken following the news out of Long Island this weekend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Farrell family. James was a captain during the 2018 season for us."

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An Uber representative told NY Daily News that Zahid had been a driver for them for two years.

He was a father of three, News 12 Long Island reported.

"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," the company said in a statement.

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