Four young New York women are dead and four are injured after a drunk driver crashed into their limousine in Long Island on Saturday.
According to New York Daily News, 23-year-old Stephanie Belli of King's Park, 23-year-old Amy Grabina of Commack, 23-year-old Brittany M. Schulman and 24-year-old Lauren Baruch, both from Smithtown, were killed when Steven Romeo T-boned their limo that had just left Vineyard 48 Winery in Cutchogue, New York.
The accident occurred when the limo driver, 58-year-old Carlos Pino, allegedly tried to make a U-turn through a blinking traffic signal at an intersection near the winery on Route 48 at around 5 pm, Daily Mail reports.
Romeo, 55, hit his brakes, but his pickup truck smashed through the stretch limousine, nearly splitting it in half.
A witness told New York Daily News,
The women injured in the crash were 25-year-old Joelle Dimonte of Elwood, 23-year-old Melissa Angela Crai of Scarsdale, 24-year-old Alicia Arundel of Setauket and 24-year-old Olga Lipets of Brooklyn.
The New York Times reports two of the survivors were "critically injured," while New York Daily News described Arundel and Lipets as being in "fair condition."
Initial reports said the women were celebrating a bachelorette party, but according to Daily Mail, the gathering was later discovered to be for someone's birthday.
One of the injured women, however, is a bride-to-be, and it appears the rest of the girls who died were her bridesmaids.
At least three of the victims knew each other since childhood.
Romeo, who also sustained unspecified injuries in the crash, was allegedly caught fleeing the scene of the accident but denies doing so.
He was charged with driving while intoxicated and is being held for a $1 million bond or $500,000 in cash.
Although Romeo pleaded not guilty, the charge will likely be upgraded following an investigation.
Romeo is the co-owner of a boating business called Romeo Dimon Marine Services. He and his business partner, Kris Dimon, are currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed after an employee was struck in the head and killed at work.
The death, which occurred in January of 2014, was deemed an accident by police, but Romeo and Dimon were fined $28,000 for four safety violations.
Romeo will appear in court on Friday.
Citations: The four smiling friends killed in birthday party limo trip by drunk driver with a bride to be and four others injured (Daily Mail), Long Island limousine crash victims were best pals with bright futures accused drunken driver pleads not guilty to DWI (The New York Daily News)