Man arraigned on DWI charges in Cutchogue limo crash; 4 victims identified

CUTCHOGUE -- A man was arraigned on DWI charges Sunday after police say his pickup truck hit a limousine on Long Island, leaving four women dead.

55-year old Steven Romeo of Southold was arraigned from his hospital bed and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond.

The collision occurred just after 5 p.m. Saturday along Route 48 in Cutchogue.

Eight women riding in the limo were coming from a nearby winery, when they were making a turn. A red pick-up truck t-boned the limo at the intersection along Route 48, leaving a trail of shattered glass and wreckage.



Police say the limousine driver was attempting to make a U-Turn at the intersection from an eastbound direction to a westbound direction and was struck by the pick-up truck traveling westbound on County Rt. 48.

The women inside the limo were celebrating a bachelorette party. When medics arrived, three were trapped inside the limo, and were found dead. Another was pronounced dead at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

The victims have been identified by police as Brittany Schulman, 23, of Smithtown, Lauren Baruch, 24, of Smithtown, Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park, and Amy R. Grabina, 23, of Commack.

Four other women were taken to area hospitals. Both the limo driver and the pickup truck driver suffered injuries, but they were not life-threatening.

Limousines are common in the area for people visiting the numerous wineries there.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said the driver of the pickup ran from the crash scene, but was caught and arrested for driving while intoxicated.

The police chief said Saturday's crash was "one of the worst accidents I've ever seen."

The collision marked the second car crash with multiple fatalities on Long Island in the last several days.

Last Sunday, a father and his two children were killed when their sedan was rear-ended and the car burst into flames. His wife - the children's mother - escaped uninjured.

A Queens man was charged with driving while intoxicated in connection with the crash and another man was charged with driving his friend away from the scene. Both have pleaded not guilty and deny any wrongdoing.

(Some information from the Associated Press.)
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