Relatives recall teens killed in Farmingdale crash
Andy Sarrios clutched a piece of debris to his chest Saturday afternoon at the site of the crash that killed four Farmingdale High School students.
Sarrios, 18, a graduate of the school, said he was close friends with Jesse Romero. Romero's uncle Ariel Mejia, of Brooklyn, confirmed that Romero, 18, died in the crash.
"We had our good moments . . . He was just so funny," Sarrios said. He recalled that Romero was also religious.
Sarrios was among friends and family who paid their respects at the site of the collision early Saturday.
Mourners stopped by the impromptu memorial where about 12 bouquets of flowers surrounded a large utility pole.
One note read, "You will always be my homie for life."
Tom Tziamihas, 33, said his brother-in-law, Noah Francis, a 15-year-old freshman at Farmingdale High, was one of those who died.
Francis moved to Farmingdale in November from Kansas City, Kansas, after his father died in August, Tziamihas said. Francis' mother had died 14 years earlier.
Tziamihas said he and his wife, Francis' sister, Celeste, took the teen in last November and Francis enrolled at Farmingdale High.
"He's funny, very sociable, easygoing," Tziamihas said. "He was quick to make friends and adjusted pretty easily."
Ismael Rivera, 16, a sophomore at Farmingdale High, said he was a friend of Romero's, with whom he skateboarded in middle school.
Rivera said he also knew other victims in the crash, whose names Newsday is not releasing because they have not been confirmed by police.
"I came to show some love for my friends," said Rivera, standing at the crash site. When he heard about the deadly collision, Rivera said "my heart just dropped."
Outside one of the victims' family home, a stream of people came to offer condolences amid tears and hugs. The relatives declined to comment.
Father Michael Duffy, associate pastor at St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale, not far from the crash site, said during a Mass Saturday that the church will be open all day Sunday and a prayer service will be held Sunday night at 8.
"It's so important in times like this that we gather," Duffy said. "When one person is hurt, we all hurt."