Friends, family mourn 23-year-old Amy Grabina, killed in limo crash

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CUTCHOGUE – Friends and family of 23-year-old Amy Grabina gathered Tuesday to mourn the young woman, who was one of four killed in a limousine crash Saturday in Cutchogue.

People began to arrive before well before the noon service held at Guttermans Memorial Chapel on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury.

The other victims who were killed in the crash were Brittany Schulman, 23, and Lauren Baruch, 24, both from Smithtown; Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park; and Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack.

Injured in the crash were Joelle Dimonte, 25, of Elwood; Melissa Angela Crai, 23, of Scarsdale; Alicia Arundel, 24, of Setauket; and Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn. The limousine’s driver, Carlos Pino, 58, of Bethpage was also injured.

According to a friend of Stephanie Belli, the women were on their way back from a birthday party at Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue when their limousine was T-boned by a pickup truck.

A Southold business man has been arrested and charged with DWI in the fatal limousine crash that killed four New York area women.

According to The Suffolk Times,  Steven Romeo, 55,  has been charged with DWI. He is the co-owner of a local marine contracting company called Romeo Dimon Marine service. Romeo was also involved in another fatal accident in January 2014, when a bucket fell off a skid-steer loader, operated by Romeo, killed a 30-year-old worker.

Romeo was arraigned at his bedside at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport Sunday afternoon. He entered a not guilty plea and is being held on a $500,000 cash, $1 million bond. He remains hospitalized.

Sources say Judge Rudolph Bruer left Southold Town Justice Court for the arraignment shortly before noon Sunday. As he exited the building, Mr. Bruer declined to speak with reporters.

Four women in their early 20’s were killed in the crash. Their four friends as well as the limo driver were seriously injured in the 5:15 p.m. crash, according to Southold Town police chief Martin Flatley.

The vehicle had attempted a U-turn at a median on a busy stretch of Route 48, Flatley said. The limo—registered to a Westchester County dispatch base—was hit was such force by the Dodge pickup truck, it nearly split in two.

The most seriously injured were airlifted by Suffolk County police to Stony Brook University Hospital, the driver of the limo was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital.

Three of the women were pronounced dead at the scene of the incident, a fourth woman died at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. A group of relatives and friends held each other, sobbing at PBMC Saturday night.

Agencies assisting in the investigation are the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, Southold Town Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department Vehicular Crimes Unit and the New York State Police.

Southold Town Police initially said the victims were part of a bridal party, but sources said they were simply friends out for a weekend getaway. The women rented the stretch limo so they could drink and travel safely between the vineyards.