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Survivor of July limo crash files latest notice of claim against town, county

T0723_crash_page1_TG_CAnother survivor of July’s fatal limousine crash has filed plans to sue Southold Town and Suffolk County, alleging their negligence played a part in the limousine crash that killed four young women.

Alicia Arundel, a 24-year-old Setauket resident who survived the crash, filed a notice of claim Tuesday afternoon, making her the fifth victim or family to do so.

Her claim alleges the town and county are partially responsible for the crash because there was only a blinking yellow light installed at the intersection of Route 48 and Depot Lane in Cutchogue, where the crash occurred.

“The dangerous conditions including the absence of traffic control devices, lights and traffic signs at the subject intersection existed prior to the aforementioned motor vehicle accident for an unreasonable period of time,” the claim stated.

As a result, it stated, Ms. Arundel “sustained multiple severe serious and permanent injuries,” including a crushed left humerus and cuts to her face, both of which required surgery. The claim also indicates she suffered extensive psychological and emotional trauma.

On July 18, the limousine, driven by Bethpage resident Carlos Pino, tried to make a U-turn at the intersection to head west. A pickup truck driven by 55-year-old Steven Romeo of Peconic struck the limousine as it turned.

Four women were killed: Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park; Lauren Baruch, 24, of Smithtown; Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack; and Brittney Schulman, 23, of Smithtown. Four others, including Ms. Arundel, survived.

Mr. Romeo was arrested and faces a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge. Prosecutors do not expect to assign any criminal charges to Mr. Pino.

Ms. Arundel’s claim of intent to sue is the fifth filed against the town and county in the months following the crash, all of which accuse the town of “negligence, carelessness and recklessness.”

In August, the father of Ms. Baruch filed a notice of claim against Southold Town and Suffolk County. One week later, both Joelle DiMonte, a survivor of the crash, and the family of Ms. Schulman filed similar notices.

On Friday, the mother of Ms. Grabina filed her own notice of claim.

Another survivor, Olga Lipets, 24, filed a separate civil suit in Brooklyn in July against both drivers.

Legislator Al Krupski said after the crash that the blinking yellow light at the intersection will be upgraded to a standard traffic light.

Mr. Romeo is due back in court Sept. 18.

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Photo caption: Firefighters on the scene of the July 18 fatal crash in Cutchogue. (Tim Gannon file photo)