Joseph “Jay” Rizzuto, a Binghamton University senior majoring in history from Rockville Center, Long Island, died Sunday, Jan. 22 after suffering head and lung injuries in a car accident on Jan. 18. The crash took place while Jay was traveling back to school.
A funeral mass in Jay’s honor was held Saturday at St. Agnes Cathedral. He was 21 years old.
Jay’s car spun out of control while he attempted to maneuver around a parked truck on Route 9W in Cornwall around 10 p.m. Road conditions were icy, according to his father, Joseph Rizzuto, who provided details of the accident to The Long Island Herald.
Rizzuto told the Herald that police confirmed that alcohol was not a factor in the accident. Jay was taken to the Westchester Medical Center and was in a medically induced coma in the days between the accident and his death.
During his time at BU, Jay was a respected student, a tennis and poker player, a sports fan and a great person, according to friends who shared their thoughts with Pipe Dream.
Pat Madej, a senior majoring in English, said that Jay was one of his best friends on campus after they lived together in Hinman College their freshman year.
“He was a great all-around guy, people loved being around him, he was fun to be with,” Madej said. “It’s going to be tough not having someone like that around anymore.”
Jeanette Paez, a senior majoring in biology who also had known Jay since her freshman year, emphasized that Jay had a wide impact on campus.
“He is one of the faces you always see, he will be missed,” Paez said. “This will be a major loss for seniors this year.”
Kevin Greer, a senior double-majoring in history and political science, credited Jay as a major reason for why he came to Binghamton after they attended high school together at Chaminade.
“He was one of the most jolly guys around,” Greer said. “He always knew how to get people laughing and have a good time no matter what.”
University President Harvey G. Stenger Jr., in a statement to Pipe Dream, wrote that he was deeply saddened to learn of Jay’s death.
“He showed great promise and was an active and valued member of our community,” Stenger said. “On behalf of the entire Binghamton University community, we express our deepest sympathies to Jay’s family and friends. They are in our thoughts and prayers.”