Family remembers civilian victim in wrong-way crash

Family and friends are preparing to remember Joseph Rodriguez, one of two men killed during a wrong-way crash in Staten Island last week.

Family and friends remember Joseph Rodriguez, the civilian victim in wrong-way crash on Staten Island.

Family and friends remember Joseph Rodriguez, the civilian victim in wrong-way crash on Staten Island. (3/23/15)

LINDEN - Family and friends are preparing to remember Joseph Rodriguez, one of two men killed during a wrong-way crash in Staten Island last week.

The head-on crash involved Rodriguez and three Linden police officers he was friends with. Officer Frank Viggiano also died in the crash.

The driver, Officer Pedro Abad, Jr., and backseat passenger Officer Patrik Kudlac remain in critical condition. Investigators are checking to see if alcohol played a role.

The three officers involved have been the major focus of much of the reporting on the crash. Rodriguez’s family wants to make sure he is properly remembered.

“We have so many memories,” says cousin Harry Simone. “We used to play baseball, football, wrestle, all kinds of things.”

Friends say Rodriguez’s passing is being felt throughout the community, where he was involved in several kids’ sports teams.

“He was like a Linden mayor,” says Ray Wegrzynek, a friend. “Everyone knew who he was.”

Rodriguez wanted to be a Linden police officer or firefighter, like so many of his friends.

His wake is set for Tuesday, with a funeral taking place Wednesday.

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