Who was Justin Mendez? NY driver who sped past cops and killed 4 in head-on crash dies
QUOGUE, NEW YORK: A speeding car raced into oncoming traffic and hit an Uber head-on in a horrific accident that killed five people, including both the drivers. According to the police, the driver in the catastrophic Long Island accident that killed him and four others was attempting to avoid policemen at the time and had turned off his headlights seconds before the collision, news outlets reported on Tuesday, July 27.
In another instance of a car crash this week, a driver was charged with DWI and vehicular manslaughter after a car crash on a Queens highway killed a mother and daughter.
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Recently, 'Bridgerton' author Julia Quinn's father and sister died in a Utah crash after being hit by a "drunk driver" who was reportedly three times over the drinking limit. Earlier in June, popular film and TV actress Julia Banes died in a hit-and-run crash while she was on her way to meet her wife in New York City.
In the July 27 accident, Justin Mendez was allegedly speeding 15 mph over the speed limit on Montauk Highway in Quogue when a police officer flashed his patrol car's lights in an attempt to pull over Mendez' Nissan Maxima, according to cops. However, Mendez continued driving and may have even turned off his car's lights before losing control at a hairpin bend and colliding with the Uber driver's Toyota Prius, driven by Farhan Zahid, a married father of three young children. According to police, brothers Michael Farrell, 20, and James Farrell, 25, as well as passenger Ryan Kiess, 25, were also killed.
It's unclear whether Mendez was attempting to avoid the police, who claim they never chased him down. “The officer very quickly loses sight and never catches up,” said Quogue Police Chief Christopher Isola at a press conference Tuesday, as reported by New York Daily News. “The officer did observe (the car) at a high rate of speed along with some witnesses.”
Uber driver Farhan Zahid and his passengers, heading out in the Hamptons, were killed in a horrific head-on Montauk Highway crash— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 26, 2021
Lacrosse tied them all together. Only one survived
Speeding wrong-way driver Justin Mendez, 22, of Brooklyn also diedhttps://t.co/zBMLMehVqs
Who was Justin Mendez?
Justin B Mendez was a 22-year-old from Brookhaven in Suffolk County, according to the New York Post. He was taken to Southampton Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Police said there was a small amount of marijuana in his car and in his system.
Mendez's life should not be judged by one error, said a Shirley neighbor who knew the young man. “He’s a good kid,” the neighbor told NY Daily News. “He’s young, 22. He did something stupid. We’ve all been there.” Speaking to CBS 2, Mendez’s parents corroborated the fact. “I don’t know how what happened, but I don’t want anyone to think any less of my son, because he was a good boy. He was our everything,” Mendez's father Octavio Perez said.
His mother, Aida Perez, told the news outlet that Mendez would not have been able to live with the guilt, had he survived. “My son would not have been able to live with that," she said. “I’m at peace with where he’s at because I know that if he would have stood, either way, his fault or not, he would have played it over in his own mind that (he) took these people’s lives. And Justin would not be able to function.”
Her son was on his way home from doing laundry with his girlfriend when he crashed, Perez added. He had moved out of their Shirley home about a year ago, she claimed, and she remembered him as a "peaceful person" who had worked for the past three years caring for the old and disabled. “We called him our big teddy bear,” Perez said. “He treated everyone with respect. Better than I did, actually.”
Uber driver Zahid’s family said they feel no resentment toward Mendez. “He’s not with his family anymore,” Zahid’s brother-in-law Syed Rizvi, 30, said. “The parents lost their loved one. That son would have been just as important as our brother-in-law was to us.”
A GoFundMe has been set up by Mendez's aunt Amanda Tuason to help pay for funeral expenses. At the time of writing this article, the page raised $3,643 of the $15,000 goal.