04/22/14 8:00am
04/22/2014 8:00 AM
Alberto Bengolea with three of the 15 horses boarded at the 4-H Camp on Sound Avenue. Veronica, left, was injured after someone cut the fencing on the property and the horses escaped overnight Sunday.

Alberto Bengolea with three of the 15 horses boarded at the 4-H Camp on Sound Avenue. Veronica, left, was injured after someone cut the fencing on the property and the horses escaped overnight Sunday. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Shortly before 6 a.m. Easter Sunday, Willow Tree Farms owner Mette Larsen was awakened by a Riverhead police officer knocking on her door.

He had come to the Roanoke Avenue horse farm to inform her that he believed eight of her horses had escaped from the property and were roaming free along Sound Avenue. Panic set in for Ms. Larsen, who wondered why her alarm system hadn’t alerted her.

It wasn’t until she had dressed and rushed outside that she realized the horses didn’t belong to her. The eight horses were actually some of the 15 that are kept one mile west at the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp on Sound Avenue.  (more…)

02/07/14 2:00pm
02/07/2014 2:00 PM

Barbaraellen Koch photo | Officer Dan Hogan on patrol on East Main Street in downtown Riverhead.

Last year, the number of criminal incidents reported in Riverhead was at its lowest point in more than a decade, continuing a downward trend that began in the early 2000s, according to annual police data.


12/07/13 3:43pm
12/07/2013 3:43 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A Toyota Prius was damaged after a collision near Herricks Lane in Jamesport, which briefly blocked traffic this afternoon heading westbound.

A woman was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center after a two-car accident on Main Road in Jamesport Saturday afternoon, Riverhead Town police said. The injuries were non life-threatening, police said.

The woman, driving a Honda Accord, was making a left out of Herricks Lane when she collided with a Toyota Prius heading westbound on Main Road about 2:45 p.m., police said. Traffic was briefly blocked going westbound.

Both cars were towed from the scene.

09/10/13 12:40pm
09/10/2013 12:40 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Lindsey Marino of Mattituck was arraigned Tuesday morning after being arrested for driving while intoxicated.

A 22-year-old Mattituck woman involved in a single-car crash early Tuesday while driving with a 17-month-old child in the car in Jamesport has been arrested on drunken driving charges, Riverhead Town police said.

Lindsey Marino was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra’s Law, as well as DWI and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

Ms. Marino was arraigned Tuesday morning, where she told Justice Richard Ehlers she grew up in Mattituck where she lives  with her parents. During the arraignment, prosecutors said Ms. Marino had no prior criminal history.

Police responded to the Main Road crash scene about 1:30 a.m., when officers found Ms. Marino’s vehicle off the roadway, police said. Ms. Marino was out of the vehicle with the child at the time.

Both of them were unharmed, police said.

An investigation at the scene led police to Ms. Marino’s arrest, police said.

Ms. Marino and the child were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for precautionary reasons, police said. At the morning arraignment, Justice Ehlers set bail at $5,000 cash or credit. Ms. Marino is due back in court Sept. 13.

Leandra’s Law makes it a felony to drive drunk with a child who’s under 16 in the car, even on a first offense.


With Carrie Miller

09/01/13 12:05pm
09/01/2013 12:05 PM


A Mattituck man has been arrested after he was involved in a two-car accident along Main Road in Jamesport where one of the vehicles flipped over and landed “within inches” of a nearby storefront early Sunday, authorities said. Three people, including the arrested man, were injured in the accident; none were seriously hurt.



Mark Palladini, 50, was traveling east on Main Road in Jamesport about 5:15 a.m. Sunday, when he crashed into a Nissan sedan with two men inside, police said.

Mr. Palladini’s 2006 Toyota pickup truck lost a wheel in the collision and flipped over, landing inches from the Grana pizzeria on Main Road.

“It nicked the building but there was no structural damage, thank God,” said Jamesport fire chief Duffy Griffiths. The pickup truck did take out two potted plants and benches that were in front of the restaurant, fire officials said.

Mr. Palladini’s speech was slurred and his breath smelled like alcohol when police interviewed him at the scene, and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, authorities said. He refused to take a breath test or field sobriety test at the scene and was arrested.

Mr. Griffiths said fire police closed the road for nearly two hours as the department’s rescue squad winched the flipped truck away from the building.

Riverhead ambulance volunteers took all three crash victims to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Mr. Palladini was arraigned before Justice Allen Smith Sunday afternoon, led into the courtroom wearing a blue t-shirt, jeans and bright yellow socks with no shoes. Mr. Smith suspended Mr. Palladini’s license because he refused to take a breath test.

Mr. Palladini asked if he could get a license to go to work, but Mr. Smith said that would not likely be possible and warned him not to drive.

“If you do, they’re going to pop you with a felony,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Palladini was released on his own recognizance, and walked unsteadily out of the courtroom with assistance from a police officer. He is due back in court on Sept. 17.


08/31/13 7:19pm
08/31/2013 7:19 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead police Sgt. John Vail (center) scans the ocean as Police Officers Christopher Parkin (left) and Rich Freeborn watch on.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead police Sgt. John Vail (center) scans the Sound as Police Officers Christopher Parkin (left) and Rich Freeborn watch on.

Police and firefighters from across the area swarmed Long Island Sound just west of Iron Pier Beach in Riverhead Saturday afternoon after someone reported a possible small aircraft crash a few miles off the beach.

Authorities later said they were unable to find any sign of the supposed aircraft after a roughly hour-long search.

The report initially came in as a call to police from a group who were driving near the beach, police said. The group thought they saw an ultra-light aircraft flying near the Sound, but when they turned around, they could see no sign of the plane, police said.

Riverhead police, Riverhead and Jamesport Fire Departments, the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, a Suffolk County police helicopter and the U.S. Coast Guard all rushed to the scene, said Riverhead police Lt. David Lessard.

Riverhead police and Jamesport Fire Department vessels were in the water searching for any sign of the plane near the off-shore oil terminal, but could find no evidence of a crash.

At 6:07 p.m., authorities called off the search. Lt. Lessard said the weather may have played a role in the false alarm.

“With the haze, maybe they didn’t see what they thought they saw,” he said.


08/13/13 2:50pm
08/13/2013 2:50 PM
JERRY DONAHUE COURTESY PHOTO | Monday's nights crash scene on Main Road in Aquebogue.

JERRY DONAHUE COURTESY PHOTO | Monday’s nights crash scene on Main Road in Aquebogue.

A 34-year-old Southold man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after crashing a work truck into a telephone pole in Aquebogue Monday night, police said.

Mario Chacon was traveling eastbound on Main Road, just west of Edgar Avenue, when he crashed into the telephone pole, breaking it in two, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Mr. Chacon was charged with DWI and arraigned Tuesday morning in Justice Court.

06/11/13 8:00am
06/11/2013 8:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead police officer Tim Murphy outside the town's police headquarters on Howell Avenue.

A brazen kidnapping in broad daylight, a handgun, two men named “Shawney and Q,” and ransom demands.

It all unfolded at a Jamesport gas station Saturday afternoon, two South Jamesport residents told police.

But if it sounds too far-fetched to be true, that’s because it was all a hoax.

Riverhead Town police say the abduction report  made Saturday afternoon was just a tale, and now the supposed abductee is being held in jail while he and a woman both face misdemeanor false reporting charges.

The story began to unravel almost as soon as it started at the American Gas station on Main Road about 5 p.m. Saturday, after a woman called police to report a kidnapping.

The intial caller — a third party to the hoax who was not arrested — told police Josephine Minerbo, 29, of South Jamesport had just told her Joshua Georges, 31, had been kidnapped, according to police reports.

After arriving at the station, police located Ms. Minerbo and questioned her about the incident. She told police she had been driving in a car on Main Road while Mr. Georges was driving another car. Mr. Georges had stopped to pump gas at the station, she said, but as he was pumping was approached by a black man, who lifted up his shirt to reveal a handgun, according to a police report.

The man then took Mr. Georges into another vehicle and drove off, heading west on Main Road, Ms. Minerbo told police.

Ms. Minerbo said she received a call a few moments later from two men — supposedly named “Shawney” and “Q” — who demanded she give them money in exchange for Mr. Georges’ safety.

But after further questioning by police officers, Ms. Minerbo revealed she and Mr. Georges had made the incident up, and that Mr. Georges was safe waiting in a house down the street.

The kidnappers Shawney and Q, she said, never existed.

Police arrested both Ms. Minerbo and Mr. Georges, and charged them with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a class “A” misdemeanor.

The motive for the hoax had not yet been determined, police said Monday.

Mr. Georges was arraigned before Justice Richard Ehlers in Riverhead Town Justice Court Monday and held on $250 bail, court officials said. He is due back in court on July 9.

Ms. Minerbo was given an appearance ticket and is due back in court on June 25 to be arraigned, court officials said.

She could not be reached for comment.


05/26/13 9:19am
05/26/2013 9:19 AM


Riverhead Police sent out a warning on Friday that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s “DWI task Force” would be setting up checkpoints in town over the Memorial Day weekend, but seven people were still arrested at those checkpoints Saturday night.

Arrested Saturday night at checkpoints in Riverhead Town were the following: Francisco Sabin, 36, of Sound Avenue in Riverhead, for DWI; Pedro Garcia, 30, of Front Street in Greenport, for DWI; Peter Helsinki, 18, of Middle Road in Cutchogue, for driving under the influence of drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana; Matthew Larson, 35, of Town Harbor Lane in Southold, for DWI; Shane Hands, 20, of Hillcrest Drive in Orient, for driving under the influence of drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana; James Hinch, 37, of Sweetbury Hill in Center Moriches, for DWI; and Alisa Raspanjini, 30, of Quaker Hill Path in Huntington, for driving while ability impaired.

Police say additional enforcement actions of this type can be expected in the future.

The Task Force was established by District Attorney Tom Spota last year and consists of officers from departments in the Riverhead Town, Southold Town, Shelter Island Town, Suffolk County, and New York State police departments.