Limo driver in deadly Cutchogue crash charged with criminally negligent homicide
The limo driver involved in a deadly 2015 Cutchogue limo crash has been charged with criminally negligent homicide. The driver of the pickup truck in the incident will face DWI charges.
Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota announced the findings of a grand jury investigation at a news conference on Wednesday.
"The person who is criminally responsible for this crash is Carlos Pino and Carlos Pino alone," said Spota.
Pino, of Bethpage, has been charged with four counts of criminally negligent homicide, as well as four charges of assault in the third degree. He has also been charged with reckless driving and failing to report a motor vehicle accident with the New York State Motor Vehicle Bureau. He is also facing infraction charges, including failure to yield right of way and failure to stay in a designated lane.
Pino pleaded not guilty to the 13-count indictment.
A limo driven by Pino and a pickup truck driven by Steven Romeo crashed at the intersection of Route 48 and Depot Lane in Cutchogue in July.
The limo was carrying eight women who were touring wineries in the area. Four of the young women were killed.
The grand jury was asked to consider vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide against Romeo. However, the grand jury chose not to indict him at this time.
Prosecutors say the vehicles were so close that even if Romeo immediately slammed on his brakes, he still would have hit the limo.
"Perfectly sober, Steven Romeo could not have avoided this crash," said Spota.
While Romeo is charged with DWI, he is not criminally charged in connection with the crash.
Pino's attorney has argued that it should be a civil liability and not a criminal one. The attorney said that Pino had been on the police force in Chile for many years. He is being held on $100,000 bond. Romeo was released on his own recognizance.