Cutchogue crash raises questions about limo safety
The crash in Cutchogue that claimed four lives is raising questions about limousine safety.
Southold Town police say limo drivers have been cited in the past for failing to yield the right of way when making wide U-turns.
"Over the last two or three years, we've had issues with limousines making very difficult turns at the intersection," says Southhold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley. "I'm sure we write at least, especially during the busier months, probably at least 10-12 summonses a month."
Amy Grabina, Brittney Shulman, Lauren Baruch and Stephanie Belli were killed last Saturday when their limo was broadsided by Steven Romeo after leaving Vineyard 48.
As News 12 has reported, Steven Romeo's red pickup truck smashed into the limousine as it made a U-turn on County Road 48 at Depot Lane. He was arraigned on a charge of driving while intoxicated at his bedside and is under the custody of the sheriff. He was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond. Prosecutors have said that Romeo's charges will likely be upgraded.
A neighbor in Southold, who asked to remain anonymous, showed News 12 an email they wrote three years ago that addressed the issue of limo drivers making wide U-turns.
He wrote "If a limo is broadsided by another car...how many injuries will occur? Those are answers none of us would like to see."
Legislator Al Krupski told News 12 that the county has been planning to replace the blinking light at the intersection with a new traffic light this fall.
A statement issued by the town of Southold says, "Public safety is the town's foremost concern, however, there is an investigation underway and until the town has an opportunity to examine the results of the same, it would be premature to comment at this time." They added that the town "looks forward to the opportunity to have a full discussion on the issue of traffic safety town-wide and will continue to make every effort to take the necessary steps to make our roads safer."
According to Stony Brook University Medical Center, injured passengers Alicia Arundel and Olga Lipets are in good condition. Melissa Crai is in fair condition. The hospital's trauma center says that the patients are all recovering and are expected to have a favorable outcome.