He was a kid who loved to make others laugh.
At Garrison “Red” Nieves’s funeral, his family was surrounded by friends who loved him and an online community that loved his creativity and friendship.
There his family met people who connected with Garrison throughout his life. Among those in attendance were childhood friends and a young woman who stayed with him in his final moments.
“Our family was just so thankful. It was nice that she was there and holding his hand and talking to him and kind of comforting him until they took him in the ambulance,” said Sharon Oquendo, Nieves’s aunt.
In the afternoon on July 1, police responded to a fatal hit and run in Hamden CT. Nieves was on his way to visit friends when he was struck by a car while on his moped scooter. Hamden police are investigating and looking to identify the suspects of the crash.
According to police, two cars were seen traveling southbound on State Street at high speeds, driving recklessly and crossing the double yellow. One of the cars, a Toyota Corolla, was reported as a stolen vehicle on June 17.
The car struck Nieves, and the driver of the Corolla left the car at the scene, possibly getting into the second vehicle, a blue Honda, registration AS-54198. The car and drivers were last seen driving southbound on State Street.
“I would really like to catch these guys and hope the community can come together and not only pray for my son,” said Edwin Nieves, father of Garrison.
Nieves remembers his son as goofy and happy with the desire to make the people surrounding him laugh. Garrison was the youngest of three brothers, two step-siblings, and one of many cousins in a large Puerto Rican family.
“I have never been good at making friends, my life has been about work and providing,” his father said. “But with him (Garrison) he was just able to talk to people and connect with them so easily. I would tell him to be serious. He would say ‘I just want people to be happy’.”
Following in the footsteps of his siblings’ Garrison was involved in music, creating an online presence under the name “Red”. He created art and music under that name to a Facebook and YouTube page. Through music, he made connections and developed friendships with people.
In June 2019, Garrison uploaded a song on his YouTube page titled “Leaving 2”, it was a message to his family and friends in CT. He was preparing to travel, with hopes of meeting some of his longtime friends on the other side of the globe.
The message read, “Thank you to everyone who’s joined me on my journey over the years I’ll never forget all the beautiful memories my friends have given me all the amazing times we’ve shared together thank you for everything always keeping me in your thoughts.”
“Because of social media, he had friends in Australia and friends in Japan,” said Oquendo. “He wanted to travel and see his friends. It wasn’t until he passed that all of his friends reached out to us. I just wish the world had a chance to know him.”
Along with his father, Garrison leaves behind his mother Janice and step-mother Laurie Martinez as well as his siblings Edwin Nieves Jr, Steven L. Nieves, and stepbrothers Elvin Martinez and Joshua Martinez and sister-in-law Leah Migilore.
While Garrison was not able to travel during his life, plans to travel to all the places where is son wanted to see and spread his ashes.
Garrison was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Hamden police have released photos and are asking for the public’s help to identify suspected drivers involved.
If anyone has any information, they are asked to contact Officer Nicholas Lovett at (475)201-1201.