Freak Major Deegan Expressway accident leaves 1 dead, 1 injured

A 22-year-old man was hit twice on highway after inspecting car damage


In a tragic chain of events early on Aug. 13, a 22-year-old man was thrown into oncoming traffic while checking damage to his car on the Major Deegan Expressway, ultimately resulting in him losing his life, police said.

Justin Francisco, a Mount Vernon resident, was driving a 2018 Honda Accord with two male passengers who are 22 and 23, respectively, southbound on Major Deegan Expressway last Sunday around 4 a.m.

At some point Francisco lost control of his car on the wet roadway, according to the New York Police Department’s highway collision investigation squad, causing him to strike a wall near West 238 Street. With his vehicle disabled in the left lane of the southbound expressway, Francisco left his car to inspect the damage.

Unfortunately, just moments later, a 61-year-old man in a 2021 Subaru CTX collided into the Honda. This caused the stationary Honda to move forward, hitting Francisco and hurling him over the center wall of the highway and into oncoming northbound traffic.

Subsequently, a 37-year-old man in a 2021 Jeep Wrangler traveling northbound in the left lane struck Francisco. The 37-year-old, similar to Francisco, lost control of his Jeep on the wet roadways, striking the wall on the right and flipping over.

The 37-year-old was partially ejected through the soft-top roof, as the Jeep slid down the road, said police.

When EMS arrived at the scene they pronounced Francisco dead. His two passengers were not injured. The 61-year-old man and his 20-year-old passenger were also not hurt, police said. The 37-year-old man, however, was transported to Saint Barnabas Hospital in critical condition.

According to the New York Daily News, a relative of Francisco’s said he was giving a lift to friends who were visiting his brother.

Francisco’s uncle, Felix Zhinin, told the Daily News, “He was with his brother and they were hanging out. And he went to pick up friends to bring them back to his brother’s house. He was with one or two friends when he passed away.”

Zhinin told the newspaper he was practically a father to Francisco.

According to the New York Police Department’s traffic fatalities stats, there has only been one traffic fatality within the 50th Precinct in 2023. There were three reported collisions on an intersection at Major Deegan Expressway within the 5-0 for the month of July, according to the NYPD.

Major Deegan Expressway, accident, Justin Francisco, Mount Vernon,