Mattituck grad on leave from Navy hit by taxi, critically injured

Zach Pileski posted this picture of his brother, Ben, after Sunday's accident and asked the community to keep Ben in their thoughts and prayers. (Credit: Zach Pileski/Facebook)
Ben Pileski is listed in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital. His brother, Zach, posted this picture of Ben after Sunday’s accident and asked the community to keep him in their thoughts and prayers. (Credit: Zach Pileski/Facebook)

A Mattituck High School graduate, on leave from serving in the U.S. Navy, was critically injured Sunday in Montauk after he was hit by a taxi while crossing the street.

Benjamin Pileski, 20, of Mattituck was walking with a group of people on Montauk Highway when the accident occurred shortly before 3:10 a.m. just west of Carl Fisher Plaza, according to an East Hampton Town police report.

His friend, Justin Tyler, 20, of Cutchogue was also hit by the 2001 Honda van and appeared to have “rolled over the hood of the vehicle, breaking the windshield,” according to the report.

The vehicle involved in the crash is registered to JEB Tech of Bohemia, the report states.

No tickets or violations were issued and no arrests were made, according to the report.

The driver, Muhammad Irfan of Shirley, was driving with two passengers and stated to police that he was traveling west when two pedestrians “ran from the south side of the street onto Montauk Highway” and he was unable to avoid the collision, the report states.

No other witness statements were included in the officer’s narrative. Police Capt. Chris Anderson didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

Both victims were initially taken to Southampton Hospital, the report states, and later transported to Stony Brook University Hospital.

Mr. Tyler’s mom, Susan, said her son returned home Monday night and had suffered a “slight skull fracture where the head meets the neck.”

“From what I understand, if it had been a fraction off of where it was, it could have been horrendous, so he’s very lucky,” she said, adding that he suffered a mild concussion and had “a small spot of blood on his brain.”

As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, Mr. Pileski was listed in critical condition, hospital spokeswoman Elizabeth Streich said. His family wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Ms. Tyler said her son and Mr. Pileski have been very good friends throughout their childhood and enjoyed playing sports. They had gotten together over the holiday weekend after Mr. Pileski, who’s serving in the Navy, returned home.

Ms. Tyler said she’s grateful community members have contacted her to express their support.

“It’s very comforting — everyone is reaching out with calls and texts,” she said. “It seems like nothing to the person offering help, but to the recipient — until you’re in that situation — it’s huge.”

Sunday’s incident comes nearly a year after another Mattituck High School graduate, Kaitlyn Doorhy, was killed Aug. 22 at age 20 after a car struck her while she was crossing the street near her sorority house in Bridgeport, Conn.

Kait’s Angels, a non-profit charity group dedicated in Ms. Doorhy’s memory, posted the news about Mr. Pileski’s accident on its Facebook page and asked the community to keep him and his family in its thoughts and prayers.

“It’s a waiting game at this point and he and his family are in need of all of your angel prayers and positive energy,” the message reads. “Kait, please watch over this young man and guide him back to us.”

Senior naval science instructor Major Bill Grigonis said in an interview Tuesday he was saddened to learn of Mr. Pileski’s condition and is hoping for a speedy recovery.

“By joining the Navy, I think he was pursuing that path not only to give back to his country but it was also something in his heart that he wanted to do,” Major Grigonis said. “Everybody is saying a prayer for him and hoping he gets better soon.”