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CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Four women were
killed while wine tasting on Long Island
last year on July 18th, 2015. A grand jury has just placed the blame
on the limo driver who was supposed to keep them safe. That
limo driver Carlos Pino, 58, was indicted on four charges of
criminally negligent homicide, four counts of assault,
failure to yield the right of way, reckless driving and
other traffic law infractions, Suffolk County District
Attorney Thomas Spota said.
Eight friends in Carlos Pino's limousine, after touring local
wineries, were hit by a pickup truck as the limo, was making a
U-turn on Route 48 in Cutchogue at the time.
4 of the 8 young women were killed, 4 other survived.
The pickup truck driver, Steven Romeo, was initially charged with driving while intoxicated.
The grand jury said limo driver was hired to drive the women safely on the winery tour and failed to do so.
“The person who is criminally responsible for this crash is Carlos Pino, and Carlos Pino alone,” Spota said. “He failed to take any precaution or any action to make sure he could safely enter the westbound lanes. He continued to attempt to make his turn without stopping, without looking.”
Because of the Jeep, Romeo, who was heading west at around 55 miles per hour,
did not see the limo pulling into the intersection until he was about 200 feet
away, Spota said.
“Mr. Romeo had only 200 feet to react to the hazard he saw, and stop his
vehicle,” Spota said. “A perfectly sober Steven Romeo could not avoid this
crash. An intoxicated Steven Romeo could not avoid this crash. It was simply
unavoidable from Romeo’s perspective.
Pino entered a not guilty plea and called the crash a terrible
unintentional accident. He said he did not see the drunken driver barreling toward him at 60 mph.
Spota said the grand jury did not indict Romeo on charges of vehicular
manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide because by law, “there must be a
link between Romeo’s intoxication and the cause of the crash, because in this
instance, the crash was unavoidable, either sober or drunk.
There is no such
link, and the grand jury failed; did not indict him for vehicular manslaughter.
The families of these 4 women are devastated and will pursue justice in this
wrongful death case. Limos are hired to insure the safety of
it's passengers. In this sad case 4 innocent lives were lost
that summers day due to the negligent act of 2 separate drivers.
Both the limo driver and the driver of the pickup truck were charged.
Since the crash, a traffic light has been installed at the intersection.
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