A young man who was trapped in a burning car fire in Hampton Bays this weekend succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, leaving a heartbroken family and friends and a lifetime of dreams unrealized.
Brian A. Gutierrez-Arteaga, 20, was known as a "renaissance" man among his friends — he spoke three languages, played the ukulele, drew, and painted.
"He was an artist," said Tony Rosalia, of Southampton, who raised Gutierrez-Arteaga as his own son after the young man's father had to leave the county. At the time, Gutierrez-Arteaga was only 11 years old.
Through tears on Monday morning, Rosalia said that his son died at Stony Brook University Hospital on Sunday after battling third-degree burns for a day and a half.
"He was a good boy," said Rosalia, who said that Gutierrez-Arteaga was burned from the feet up after a car he was riding in on Friday night swerved to avoid a deer on Red Creek Road in Hampton Bays, went into a spin and came to a rest against a tree and caught fire.
Rosalia said Gutierrez-Arteaga tried to get out of the car, but his seatbelt jammed. Eventually, with the help of his two friends, who were able to exit the car, he was able to get out.
"On the way to the hospital, he asked everyone to tell his mother, his friends and Tony that 'I love them' and will see them in paradise," said Rosalia.
"He had a lot of faith in resurrection," added Rosalia, who said he met Gutierrez-Arteaga while teaching Bible studies to his mother, Marisa Arteaga, of East Hampton, his father, Cesar A. Gutierrez–Gonalez, and sister Surisaddai.
Gutierrez-Arteaga grew up in both East Hampton and Southampton, graduating through home-schooling, Rosalia said. He also traveled a lot with Rosalia, who is a court interpreter.
"He loved traveling," Rosalia said. "We've been to France and Spain."
After high school, Gutierrez-Arteaga moved to Colorado Springs with family to start an educational program for a position as a physician assistant and was back in Southampton working before leaving to go back to school in Colorado.
"He was such a brilliant boy, a classy boy," said Rosalia. "I know we will see him again. I have faith, just as he did."
Services for Gutierrez-Arteaga are scheduled for Tuesday at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Water Mill at 7 p.m.