Police identify 4 women killed in Cutchogue crash; pickup truck driver arraigned
Police have identified the four young women who were killed and the four more who were hospitalized when the limousine they were riding in was broadsided by an alleged drunken driver in Cutchogue Saturday.
Police say a red pickup truck plowed into a black limo as it attempted to make a U-turn on County Road 48 at Depot Lane. The limousine had just left Vineyard 48, a popular winery, when the crash happened.
The deceased victims have been identified as Brittney Schulman, 23, of Smithtown; Lauren Baruch, 24, of Smithtown; Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack; and Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park.
Four more women in the limo were hospitalized, and News 12 is told that two of them suffered serious injuries. The surviving women in the limo have been identified as Joelle Dimonte, 25, of Elwood; Melissa Crai, 23, of Scarsdale; Alicia Arundel, 24, of Setauket; and Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn. Arundel and Lipets are listed in fair condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.
The pickup truck driver, 55-year-old Steven Romeo, of Southold, was also hospitalized. He was arraigned on DWI charges Sunday at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, where he is being treated. He was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1,000,000 bond.
Romeo's attorney says he pleaded not guilty, and added that his client suffered serious injuries in the crash. He is due to appear in court on July 24.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office says it expects to "upgrade the charges significantly" for Romeo's alleged role in the crash.
The Suffolk Times reports that Romeo co-owns Romeo Dimon Marine, a boat services company based in Southold.
The Suffolk assistant district attorney says that the girls were out celebrating and were not part of a bachelorette party, but says there was a bride-to-be in the limo. She was among the survivors.
The limousine driver, 58-year-old Carlos Pino, of Bethpage, was hospitalized with injuries.
In a statement, the limo company said, "The ownership and staff of Ultimate Class Limousine express our condolences and deepest sympathy for the victims and their families. This was a tragic accident on what should have been a happy day for a group of young women... We are in direct contact with all authorities and we are providing all information that they have requested for their investigation."
The crash closed Route 48 from Mattituck to Southold for several hours Saturday. The road is one of the main North Fork thoroughfares.