The Long Island businessman charged with drunk driving in the horrific accident that killed four bridesmaids will likely face significantly upgraded charges, according to prosecutors.
Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Miller said Steven Romeo was behind the wheel of his pickup and drunk on Saturday night when he slammed on the brakes too late and plowed into a limo carrying the women, all friends who were out celebrating a birthday party. Three women were pronounced dead at the scene while one was declared dead after being taken to the hospital.
Romeo was charged with Driving While Intoxicated and held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond.
The 55-year-old was arraigned at his bedside at Eastern Island Long Island Hospital Sunday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty and his lawyer,Dan O’Brien, denied that his client triied to run from the gruesome scene, in which the limo was described as being almost sliced in half.
The women had just leftVineyard 48, on Long Island’s North Fork when Romeo’s pickup hit their vehicle Route 48.
The dead were identified asBrittney Schulman, 23, and Lauren Baruch, 24, of Smithtown, Long Island; Stephanie Belli, 23, was from Kings Park, and Amy Grabina, 23, from Commack.
The survivors: Carlos Pino, 58, the limo driver; Joelle Dimont, 25, from Elwood, Melissa Angela Crai, 23, from Scarsdale and Alicia Arundel, 24, from Setauket, All are in areahospitals.
The limousine was making a U-turn at the intersection of Route 48 and Depot Lane when it was struck by Romeo’s truck.
“The pickup truck was halfway through the limo,” witness Lynne Lulfs told the Daily News. “We saw bodies hanging out of the left side of the car. They looked like young girls. It was just arms, and heads and hair.”
This is not Romeo’s first fatal driving incident.
A lawsuit is ongoing regarding thedeath of one of Romeo’s employees, Andrew Leone.Romeo was operating a skid-steer loader when a bucket fell off and struck Leone and killed him, reported the Daily News.
(Prior versions of this story reported the women were at a bachelorette party; it has since been clarified that the group was at a birthday party.)