Four women were killed in Long Island when the limousine they were traveling in was hit by a pickup truck on Saturday evening. Three of the women died immediately on impact, while another was taken to a local hospital where she later died. Two others were airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital in serious condition.
The four victims were identified as Brittany M. Schulman, 23, Lauren Baruch, 24, Stephanie Belli, 23, and Amy R. Grabina, 23, the Southhold Local reported.
They were part of a group of seven friends in the limo, including a bride, who were "celebrating a wedding," Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Elizabeth Miller told the Southhold Local.
The group had hired a driver to take them to and from wineries around Long Island so they could drink carefree. The bride survived the accident, but is one of the two women in a serious condition.
The driver of the pickup truck, Steven Romeo, pleaded not guilty Sunday to driving while intoxicated, WABC-TV reported. The 55-year-old's bail was set on $500,000 cash or $1 million bond and he is expected on court Friday.
The driver of the limousine, Carlos Pino, attempted to make a U-turn at a traffic signal in the east end of Long Island to head west. Romeo attempted to hit the breaks before the collision but wasn't able to stop the vehicle in time. Both drivers suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Witnesses said those involved in the crash were visibly shaken, screaming in their bloodied evening dresses.
Romeo tried to flee from the scene of the accident but was caught and arrested by authorities.
Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said the crash was "one of the worst accidents I've ever seen."
Route 48 in Cutchogue is popular with wine aficionados, who usually hire limousine services when visiting Vineyard 48 so they can drink without having to worry about getting behind a wheel on their journey home.
Limo companies have come under criticism from local residents, however, who claim limo drivers drive dangerously and park outside people's homes.
Flatley said the limo driver's U-turn "was a dangerous move."
New York state police is investigating the accident.