Oakdale Teen Killed in Crash; Driver Arrested
Apr 11, 2010 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Long Island Press
Eugene Franjola, 17, of Oakdale died Saturday night when his car was struck by an unlicensed driver in Ronkonkoma, police said.
Franjola had six-pack abs, loads of friends and a younger brother who adored him, his family said Sunday.
"He liked to look good," said Franjola's mother, Barbara Franjola. "And he did look good. He wanted to become a model."
Franjola's passenger, Stephen Massina, 16, of Sayville, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition, police said.
Both teens were students at Connetquot High School.
PHOTOS: LI teen dies in Saturday night crash
Police arrested David Heise, 28, of Mooney Park Road in Selden, for driving with a revoked license. Police said he drove a Dodge pickup truck westbound on Veterans Memorial Highway into the BMW Franjola was driving south on Ocean Avenue when the vehicles collided at 11:22 p.m. Saturday.
Heise pleaded not guilty at an afternoon arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip. Bail was set at $25,000. His family members who attended the arraignment declined to comment.
Heise is due back for a court appearance in Central Islip Thursday morning.
Teen Dies 10 Days After Ronkonkoma Crash
A 16-year-old Sayville boy who was critically injured in a Ronkonkoma crash died Tuesday, 10 days after he was hospitalized, Suffolk County police said.
Stephen Massina was pronounced dead at 3:08 p.m. at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Police said Massina was a passenger in a BMW driven southbound on Ocean Avenue by 17-year-old Eugene Franjola of Oakdale when the vehicle was struck by a westbound Dodge pickup truck at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Highway on April 10 at 11:22 p.m.
Franjola was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where he died.
David Heise, 28, of Selden, who was driving the truck, was arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle for driving with a revoked license, police said.
He pleaded not guilty at First District Court in Central Islip on April 11. He was released on $25,000 cash bail on April 15 and is due back in court on May 13.
Stephen Massina Jr.'s mother knew Sunday there was nothing more anyone could do for him, as he lay in a coma after he was critically injured during a car crash in Ronkonkoma a week earlier.
"You know your son is gone, but his heart is still beating," Margaret Massina said Tuesday afternoon, about two hours after her son, 16, was taken off life support at Stony Brook University Medical Center and pronounced dead. "It's torture.... A mother knows."
Doctors on Sunday had told the Massina family, of Sayville, that Stephen was brain dead, but he was kept on life support because of the teen's wishes to be an organ donor, his mother said.
The Connetquot High School sophomore was a passenger in a BMW that was struck by a 2008 Dodge pickup truck at Veterans Memorial Highway and Ocean Avenue on April 10 at 11:22 p.m., Suffolk police said. The BMW driver, Eugene Franjola, 17, of Oakdale, was killed. The truck's driver, David Heise, 28, of Selden, was arrested and charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
The deaths of the two teens are "certainly weighing heavily on Mr. Heise," said his attorney, Eric Besso of Sayville. "We certainly know we weren't the cause of the accident."
Heise pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was released on $25,000 bail, Besso said.
Suffolk Det. Sgt. Daniel Molloy said the investigation is ongoing. Detectives were conferring with the district attorney's office about whether charges will be upgraded, he said.
Stephen's grandfather, Robert Massina Sr., 76, of East Islip, said he will always remember the teen, one of his 13 grandchildren, as "a big, strapping boy" who was on the school's wrestling and football teams.
The grandfather said he's glad that before the crash, the teens had already dropped off the two girls they had attended a dance with earlier that night.
Days before he was pronounced dead, news of Massina's condition spread on Facebook memorial pages started by classmates. His mother said she posted a message on Sunday so that teens could begin mourning. "I felt I needed to let them know he had passed," she said.
"Eugene and Stephen were from an amazing community," she said. "It has really rocked the entire community. The support has been relentless."
Margaret Massina, 45, said her son was a peaceful child, who enjoyed fishing with his father, Stephen Sr., 46.
"My baby boy," she said through tears from the hospital. "He was an absolute angel."
The teen also is survived by his sister, Meagan, 17, and grandmothers Nancy Massina of East Islip and Barbara Bennett of Patchogue.
David Heise made a decision to drive as an unlicensed and reckless driver he deserve to spend time in jail!
He sure does deserve to spend the night in jail.. I hink many nights in jail. If he was at home where he was supposed to be not driving and obeying the law these two fine young men would be alive today. it saddens me to think of this. I do hope the judge sends a message to Mr. Heise a strong one that he is not above the law and that laws are in place for a reason. His prevous record shows he clearly has no regard for laws. Lets not let these boys deaths go unpunished!
This is so tragic. My heart goes out to the families.
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