Samuel Shepard, 18, killed in Lamborghini test-drive crash, cops say
A teenager who took a "test drive" in a high-powered sports car died after crashing early Friday in Mount Sinai, an accident that shut down County Road 83 for about nine hours, Suffolk police said.
Samuel Shepard, 18, of Mount Sinai, was driving north at 2:25 a.m. when he lost control of a 2010 Lamborghini and slammed into a guardrail near Route 25A, police said.
The passenger and owner of the car, Michael Power, 49, of Port Jefferson Station, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Power, a longtime friend of the Shepard family, had met the teenager at a parking lot near his home. They started talking about taking a test drive in the Lamborghini, said Det. Sgt. Michael Fitzharris of the Sixth Precinct.
"I think it was probably just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kid, and this man chose to give him this opportunity," Fitzharris said.
The two were returning to the parking lot when the crash occurred, police said.
No witnesses have come forward on the speed of the car, but Fitzharris said, "I would suspect it was excessively fast."
Shepard, who graduated in June from Mount Sinai High School, was pronounced dead at Stony Brook University Hospital.
In a telephone interview Friday, Gene Shepard said his son had recently been selected to join the elite Army Rangers and was supposed to start serving in October.
Shepard, who owns Good Shepard Autobody in Port Jefferson Station, said Lamborghinis were his son's favorite car.
"Since he's a kid, he's been around cars," the father said. "He was a very talented kid with his hands. He always helped me at the shop. ... He used to see his dad was working hard, and he'd pick up tools and start helping."
He said his son planned to serve in the Army for about eight years, then become a police officer.
"He had his whole future planned out," Gene Shepard said. "He knew exactly what he was going to be doing."
Shepard said he had no idea about the impromptu test drive with Power, who had known Samuel since he was 4.
"I'm numb," the father said.
With John Valenti