Eastchester woman among injured in deadly limo crash
An Eastchester woman was seriously injured in a limousine crash on Long Island that killed four other women from New York.
Melissa Angela Crai along with seven friends spent Saturday at a vineyard.
Police say the limousine they had rented to avoid driving under the influence had just left Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue, and the driver was attempting to make a U-turn on County Road 48 when it was broadsided by a red pickup truck.
The pickup truck driver, 55-year-old Steven Romeo, was allegedly driving drunk at the time. Police say he ran from the scene after he crashed. He was arrested shortly after and charged with DWI Sunday at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, where he is being treated.
Police have identified those killed in the limousine as Brittany Schulman, 23, of Smithtown; Lauren Baruch, 24, of Smithtown; Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack; and Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park.
In addition to Crai, Joelle Dimonte, 25, of Elwood; Alicia Arundel, 24, of Setauket; and Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn, remain hospitalized. Crai is in serious condition, according to Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Carlos Pino, the 58-year-old limousine driver, was also hospitalized with injuries.
Neighbors of the 23-year-old say they are keeping Crai in their prayers. They say they're relieved the Eastchester High School graduate survived the crash, but that they can't help but think of the ones who didn't make it.
Romeo was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond. A spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office says it upgraded the charges against Romeo for his alleged role in the crash.
The Long Island crash is the third tragedy to strike the Eastchester community in recent months. In June, police say Eastchester graduate Nicholas DePippo fell off a ledge to his death in Manhattan. On July 4, Tuckahoe graduate John Crimmins drowned while swimming at the Jersey Shore. All three graduated in 2010.