A head-on collision in Deer Park that killed two men and critically injured a mother and child "rips the heart" out of the victims' close-knit communities in Brentwood and Smithtown, friends and neighbors said Saturday.

Robert Fattibene, 53, of Grandview Lane in Smithtown, and Herver Leonel Garcia Munoz, 32, of Macarthur Avenue in Brentwood, were pronounced dead at the scene Friday night, Suffolk police said.

Fattibene was driving a 2001 Dodge Durango north on Commack Road about 6:35 p.m. when he veered into the southbound lane and collided near Suburban Avenue with a 1999 Nissan Altima driven by Garcia Munoz, police said.

"It's a tragedy beyond comprehension," said Munoz's friend and neighbor Carlos Vargas. "To lose him and for this other man to die, and these innocents to get hurt, it's hard to understand."

Yesenia Marilu Martinez Vasquez, 24, a passenger in the Nissan, was taken by police helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital. Her 3-year-old child, Justin Martinez, who is also Garcia Munoz's son, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

Both the mother and child were listed in critical condition last night, police said.

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Fattibene's neighbor, Salvatore Abramo, 59, said Fattibene loved visiting family and friends in the area.

"He was a family man, and his family was everything to him," Abramo said. "He loved his community, and we loved him back. Something like this . . . it rips the heart out of our neighborhood."

Traffic was diverted away from the scene for hours Friday night as police investigated amid the crushed vehicles.

Residents said cars commonly speed in the area and crashes are a concern. "That's a dangerous spot," Deer Park resident Danielle Palmieri said of the area where the crash happened. "You have to be very, very careful driving through there."

The vehicles were impounded for safety checks, and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the crash to contact the First Squad at 631-854-8152.