Giovanny Sanchez would suggest trips to the beach and late-night fast-food runs to friends on a whim. He rarely missed a movie premiere staring a superhero, and even tattooed the Joker’s smile on his bicep.
“He was a live-for-the-moment type of guy,” said a friend, Eric Schnieder, 26, of Silver Spring, Maryland. “He really did live life to the fullest.”
Sanchez was one of three people killed in Wednesday’s early morning crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens. On Thursday, friends and a neighbor recalled the gregarious 24-year-old’s short life.
Relatives at Sanchez’s family’s home in Selden declined to speak on Thursday, but a neighbor, Debbie Clark, said: “We need more like him in this world.”
Sanchez, who authorities said was from Brentwood, and Christina Formato, 24, of Franklin Square, were killed when the 2010 Infiniti sedan they were riding in slammed into a barrier at the Maurice Avenue exit in Maspeth shortly before 4:20 a.m. Wednesday.
The impact severed the sedan in two, sending the mangled front end flying onto the roadway below, the NYPD said. The driver, Michael Fabre, 25, of Oakland Gardens, also died in the crash.
Two unidentified passengers in the car — both from Franklin Square — were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center. One, a 22-year-old woman, was in critical condition, and the other, a 23-year-old woman, was in stable condition, police said Thursday.
The crash, which caused a chain reaction of collisions resulting in several injuries, remains under investigation, according to police, who were examining whether excessive speed was a factor.
In an email, Simon Williamson, who served with Sanchez in the Army National Guard, said his unit “loved Sanchez ... Both as a fellow soldier and a human being.”
Williamson said Sanchez’s drive was so infectious that he motivated the entire unit at the Norfolk Armory in Norfolk, Virginia.
“He loved his family, he loved the Army, he loved his battles,” Williamson wrote.
Schnieder said Sanchez wanted to be like his dad, an Army veteran stationed in Germany, and that Sanchez himself was a father, with a young son named Jace.
Sanchez had lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but returned to Long Island over a year ago to live with his mother and other family members. Schnieder said.
“His sisters were his world,” Schnieder said.
Shon Johnson, 26, of Virginia Beach, recalled Sanchez was upbeat, even when working an early morning maintenance shift at a Norfolk, Virginia, apartment complex.
“Most people need their coffee at seven in the morning. Gio would just hop out of bed and he’s ready to go,” Johnson said. “You could just feed off of his energy if you were down.”
Though Sanchez spent time away from New York, he still loved his New York Giants, said Schnieder, a New England Patriots fan. The two looked forward to when the teams played, and teased each other like they were rivals.
Sanchez’s death turned Thursday’s Giants and Patriots preseason game into a somber occasion for Schnieder.
“That’s going to be little different without him,” he said.