Driver pleads not guilty in NY crash that killed 4

Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal crash between a limousine and sports utility vehicle Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Cutchogue, N.Y. Multiple visitors to New York wine country were killed Saturday and others were seriously injured in the crash on the eastern end of Long Island, law enforcement officials said. (Randee Daddona/Newsday via AP)

CUTCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) — A driver whose pickup truck slammed into a limousine on Long Island, killing four young women, is being held on $500,000 bail after pleading not guilty at his hospital arraignment.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley plan to discuss the case at a midday briefing on Monday.

Steven Romeo was arraigned on a misdemeanor DWI charge Sunday at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport.

His lawyer, Dan O’Brien, offered condolences and said his client had remained at the crash scene. “It’s a tough situation,” said O’Brien.

Flatley identified the dead as Brittany M. Schulman, 23, of Smithtown, on Long Island’s North Shore; Lauren Baruch, 24, also of Smithtown; Stephanie Belli, 23, of nearby Kings Park; and Amy R. Grabina, 23, of Commack, also on the North Shore.

Four other women and the limo driver were hospitalized.

The longtime friends had been at a winery on Long Island’s East End on Saturday afternoon.

Their driver was trying to make a U-turn at an intersection along Route 48 in Cutchogue when the pickup hit the limo broadside, authorities said.

The intersection has long concerned residents because of the convergence of limousines making U-turns amid oncoming traffic on the rural road, according to Newsday.

It was the second Long Island crash with multiple fatalities in a week.

On July 12, a man and his two children, ages 8 and 4, were killed when their car was rear-ended and burst into flames on the Southern State Parkway in Bay Shore. His wife, the children’s mother, escaped without physical injury. The other motorist was charged with driving while intoxicated.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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