The two young drivers killed in a three-car accident last week were identified Monday by Nassau police as a Hicksville teenager and a Mount Sinai man.
Hicksville High School senior Kashyap Patel, 17, was going west on Old Country Road about 11:30 p.m. Dec. 22 when his Acura collided with a Volkswagen driven by Nicholas Zarzana, 26, who was turning out of a catering business, authorities said.
Zarzana's relatives could not be reached for comment Monday.
One of Patel's cousins described the student as an Advanced Placement scholar who was "mature" and was waiting to see if the Georgia Institute of Technology had accepted him as a civil engineering major.
"He always wanted to pull out from me what I learned in life," said Krupesh Patel, 30, of New Hyde Park. "He had a long-term plan and he knew how to get there. He always had a smile on his face and handled everything that came at him."
What the cousin called Patel's "million-dollar smile" was well known among friends and family, a sign of the teenager's evergreen positivity.
"Whatever question or comment he had, it was always preceded by a smile," Patel said.
The teenager's passion for life showed in his photography, Patel said. A brick wall, a friend's eye, a sunset in a car's side-view mirror -- the teenager posted scores of his shots online on Flickr, and his cousin said photography was Kashyap Patel's way of sharing how he looked at things.
In an online posting, the Hicksville school district Monday offered condolences to Patel's family and friends and grief counseling for students when they return Jan. 5 from the holidays.
Police said they continue to investigate the crash. Patel's Acura had skidded across the road and slammed into a tree, while Zarzana was ejected onto the roadway, where he may have been hit by another vehicle, police said.
The Volkswagen then struck a Prius, whose driver was not seriously hurt. Two passengers in the Volkswagen were taken to a hospital, but there was no update Monday on their conditions, police said.
With Gary Dymski