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Top Stories 2015: Four killed, six injured in Cutchogue limousine crash

12/29/2015 9:00 AM |

Left: Amy Grabina, Lauren Baruch, Stephanie Belli (top) and Brittney Schulman. (Credit: Facebook)

Four young women were killed and six people were injured this summer when a pickup truck collided with a limousine on Route 48 in Cutchogue.

The July 18 crash occurred when a vehicle driven by Peconic resident Steven Romeo struck the limousine as it attempted to make a U-turn at the intersection of Route 48 and Depot Lane.

Limousine passengers Lauren Baruch, 24, of Smithtown; Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park; Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack; and Brittney Schulman, 23, of Smithtown, were killed. Fellow passengers Alicia Arundel, 24, of Setauket; Melissa Crai, 23, of Scarsdale, N.Y.; Joelle DiMonte, 25, of Elwood; and Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn were injured, as were Mr. Romeo and limousine driver Carlos Pino of Bethpage.

Following the crash, Mr. Romeo, 55, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. Later, it was revealed that his blood alcohol level was below the legal limit when a blood test was administered one hour and 40 minutes after the crash, but it investigators have maintained he was drunk at the time the incident occurred.

A number of people have since filed notices of claim against Southold Town and Suffolk County, alleging that both entities knew the intersection was dangerous but neglected to make it safe by installing a traffic light there. At the time of the crash, the site only had a flashing yellow light.

Ms. Arundel, Ms. DiMonte and the families of Ms. Baruch, Ms. Grabina and Ms. Schulman have all filed notices against the town and county. Mr. Pino has filed a notice of claim against the town. In addition, Ms. Lipets has filed a separate civil suit in Brooklyn seeking monetary damages for the serious injuries she sustained.

In October, a new traffic light was activated at the intersection of Route 48 and Depot Lane. It does not include a left-turn signal.

Photo: Left: Amy Grabina, Lauren Baruch, Stephanie Belli (top) and Brittney Schulman. (Credit: Facebook)

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