NEW YORK – The Community of Archangel Michael in Port Washington is in mourning over the tragic death of two young Greek-American brothers, who were among the five people who lost their lives in a deadly car accident which also left one woman in critical condition on July 24 in Quogue on Long Island.
The brothers and Manhasset residents, 25-year-old James P. Farrell and 20-year-old Michael O. Farrell, are the grandchildren of the founding member of the Archangel Michael Community, Katina Athinaiou, and children of Eleni Athinaiou, a Sunday School teacher, very active in the Community.
According to official data from the Quogue Village Police, it all happened at 11:20 PM Saturday night, on Montauk Highway in Quogue Street. The Farrell brothers were reportedly Uber passengers along with their 25-year-old friend Ryan J. Kiess and his 22-year-old girlfriend Brianna M. Maglio. The vehicle, a Toyota Prius driven by 32-year-old Farhan Zahid, collided head-on with a Nissan Maxima driven by 22-year-old Justin B. Mendez, which, under unclear circumstances, appeared to have been speeding and driving in the opposite lane. The passengers and drivers were killed instantly in the head-on collision while Maglio, who, according to information The National Herald received, is still being treated in critical condition at press time.
According to Kurt Kiess, Ryan Kiess’ father, the tragic irony is that the unfortunate young people chose to travel with Uber as a safer option than driving themselves, as they were headed out to enjoy the nightlife. Earlier, the young people had attended a housewarming party for Kiess’ parents before deciding to continue their night out.
“They were 2014 high school graduates from Manhasset High School. They were very close, they were always together,” said Kurt Kiess, noting the close friendship between his son and James Farrell, going back to childhood.
"We are shocked"
Speaking to TNH, the presiding priest of Archangel Michael Church, Fr. John Lardas, expressed his sorrow for the tragic event, which has shocked the community and the region as a whole.
"Especially the younger brother, Michael, I knew him a little better, because he was a year older than my son. He was a student at Villanova University, studying finance and real estate. He was excellent in his grades and observed the Greek manners and customs. I would say he was a child of the family and the church. James, also a very good kid, graduated from University of Pennsylvania and was an athlete in lacrosse. Both of these children were baptized Orthodox. Their grandmother, Katina, is from Roumeli,” said Fr. Lardas.
The funeral service for the two brothers will be performed at Archangel Michael Church in Port Washington on Friday, July 30, 11 AM, while the visitation will take place Thursday, July 29, also in the church, from 4-8 PM.
“Our hearts are broken. The young men played on the basketball teams of the Community, went to our school while their mother taught in the Sunday School. It is a pity that the lives of young people are lost from one moment to the next,” said the presiding priest of the parish.
The loss of the Farrell brothers spread grief in the wider community as well with the University of Pennsylvania publishing a farewell post for James, who captained the lacrosse team in 2018. University officials said in a statement: “The Penn Athletics community is heartbroken and saddened by this tragic loss… Our thoughts remain with the Farrell family and everyone who knew James during this incredibly difficult time. James left an indelible mark on Penn lacrosse as a captain and leader on our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and he will be truly missed,” ABC-7 Eyewitness News reported.
Villanova’s Vice President for Student Life Kathleen Byrnes said in a message to students, faculty and staff, ABC-7 reported: “It is with great sadness that I write to share the tragic news that Michael Farrell, a rising junior in the Villanova School of Business, passed away in a car accident on Long Island, NY, this past weekend… We want to extend our deepest sympathy to Michael's family and friends on this heartbreaking loss. Michael's brother, James, also passed away in the accident. We ask that you keep Michael, James and their family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. The University Counseling Center and Campus Ministry are available for anyone who is grieving and wishes to talk with someone."