07/24/14 11:40am
07/24/2014 11:40 AM
Celentano in hit and run

Jacqueline Celentano of Calverton is led out of Southampton Police Department headquarters in Hampton Bays for an arraignment following her arrest last year. (Credit: Carrie Miller file)

More than a year after he was hit by a car and left badly injured on the side of the road in Flanders, 25-year-old Aaron Hartmann still has memory problems, his mother, Linda, said. He stumbles over his words sometimes and has lost the peripheral vision in both his eyes.

When Mr. Hartmann gets tired, he limps on the leg that was broken in the crash, she said, making it difficult for him to get a job to support his young child.

“My son’s life is destroyed,” Ms. Hartmann said. (more…)

06/19/14 2:00pm
06/19/2014 2:00 PM
Jacqueline Celentano, 21, of Calverton is led out of Southampton Police Department headquarters in Hampton Bays Wednesday morning for a Justice Court appearance. (Credit: Carrie Miller file)

Jacqueline Celentano, 21, of Calverton is led out of Southampton Police Department headquarters in Hampton Bays Wednesday morning for a Justice Court appearance. (Credit: Carrie Miller file)

A Calverton woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report an accident following a hit-and-run crash that badly injured a Riverhead man last May, according to online court records.  (more…)

06/07/13 10:00am
06/07/2013 10:00 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | An undated photo of Aaron Hartmann, who was seriously injured Sunday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | An undated photo of Aaron Hartmann, who was seriously injured on May 12.

Athen’s Grill in downtown Riverhead will host a fundraiser today, June 11, for Aaron Hartmann, the 23-year-old Riverhead man who suffered serious injuries in a hit-and-run in Flanders last month.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward helping Mr. Hartmann pay for his medical bills and rehabilitation costs. The event will include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and appetizers, music and a 50/50 raffle.

The 23-year-old Riverhead resident was walking along County Road 105 about 12:50 a.m. on Mother’s Day from a friend’s birthday party when he was struck by a vehicle, which fled the scene, police have reported.

Mr. Hartmann was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center and later to Stony Brook University Medical Center with serious injuries, including swelling in his brain.

Two days after the crash, Jacqueline Celentano, 21, of Calverton was arrested in connection with the hit-and-run.

Ms. Celentano, a 2009 Riverhead High School graduate, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with physical injuries, a felony, and was freed on $30,000 bail after pleading not guilty.

Mr. Hartmann, who returned home last week after three weeks in the hospital, has broken bones in his left leg, sees double out of his left eye, and has poor vision in his right eye as a result of the May 12 crash.

He will have to rehabilitate over the next several months to relearn how to walk, he said.

The fundraiser will run from 6 to 8 p.m. on June 11 at the Athens Grill at 33 East Main St. in Riverhead.

psquire@timesreview.com

06/01/13 12:00pm
06/01/2013 12:00 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO |  Aaron Hartmann, joined by his mother Linda, returned home Friday after three weeks of treatment following a hit-and-run crash.

Aaron Hartmann sat in a wheelchair in the center of his living room, idly spinning the wheels back and forth Friday afternoon. Earlier that day, doctors had removed the staples from his left leg, where a car smashed into him in Flanders three weeks ago.

With an eyepatch perched on his head, he said he sees double out of his left eye, and his right eye’s vision is “no good” anymore.

Still, Mr. Hartmann isn’t complaining.

“I’m alive,” he said.

Mr. Hartmann returned home Friday after three weeks of treatment for serious injuries he suffered in a hit-and-run crash while walking in Flanders early on May 12.

The 23-year-old Riverhead resident was walking along County Road 105 about 12:50 a.m. on Mother’s Day from a friend’s birthday party when he was struck by a vehicle, which fled the scene.

Mr. Hartmann was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center and later to Stony Brook University Medical Center with serious injuries, including several fractures in his leg.

Two days later, Jacqueline Celentano, 21, of Calverton was arrested in connection with the hit-and-run crash.

Police said they were able to identify a red 2000 Chevy Impala sedan parked outside a Riverside home as the vehicle that struck Mr. Hartmann.

Ms. Celentano, a 2009 Riverhead High School graduate, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with physical injuries, a felony, and is free on $30,000 bail.

Her attorney, John Russo, said at her arraignment that his client left the scene of the accident out of fear.

Mr. Hartmann says he remembers going to the party, but has no memory of what happened once he left. He can barely remember waking up in the hospital bed, fighting swelling in his brain.

He says he has a long road ahead of him. It’ll be at least another three weeks until he can put weight on his leg.

Aaron’s mother, Linda, said at first she felt bad for the alleged driver, saying the young woman must have been afraid.

But Ms. Hartmann said she cannot forgive, saying she heard from police that Ms. Celentano tried to hide the vehicle and turned herself in only after police arrived at her house to arrest her.

“I have absolutely no compassion now,” Ms. Hartmann said. “The rest of her family that have to deal with it, I can feel for them, but not what she did. That was like hitting him and leaving him like roadkill.”

psquire@timesreview.com

05/21/13 11:00am
05/21/2013 11:00 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | An undated photo of Aaron Hartmann, who was seriously injured Sunday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | An undated photo of Aaron Hartmann, who was seriously injured on May 12.

Detectives are still “actively investigating” the early morning crash that seriously injured a 23-year-old Riverhead man on May 12, authorities said this week.

The Southampton Town Police Department is looking into the possibility that others may have gotten involved in the incident after the crash itself, although no additional charges have yet been made

The probe will continue “to right any other wrongs,” Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa told the News-Review.

Meanwhile, Aaron Hartmann, the man injured in the crash on County Road 105, is continuing his recovery at Stony Brook Medical Center, relatives said.

Mr. Hartmann’s uncle, Bobby, said his nephew is in stable condition. He’s speaking a bit, though quietly, and breathing without the assistance of a respirator. Doctors are monitoring his brain for any swelling and conducted a skin graph on his leg last week.

Although police arrested Jacqueline Celentano, 21, of Calverton, last Tuesday for leaving the scene of the crash on County Road 105 in Flanders, Bobby Hartmann said he still wants answers as to why no crime scene and accident investigation happened immediately after police were called to the scene.

Police Chief Robert Pearse had told the News-Review officers didn’t fully recognize the seriousness of the injuries, and some confusion involving second-hand information also led to the delay.

Bobby Hartmann said he just wants to be sure no such serious crimes are mishandled in the future.

“What type of safeguards are they going to implement to make sure this happens again?” Bobby Hartmann. “We want to make lemonade out of lemons, and find out what can be learned from all of this.”

He also said that if Ms. Celentano was aided in attempting to allude police after the hit-and-run crash, then those people should step up and faces charges, to “pay their pound of flesh,” for any possible wrongdoing.

Ms. Celentano, a 2009 Riverhead High School graduate, was arraigned last Wednesday in Southampton Justice Court and later posted $30,000 bail. Two Riverhead Stop & Shop employees, who declined to give a name, said Ms. Celentano has been working at the Riverhead supermarket on Route 58 for about a year.

Detectives are looking into whether Ms. Celentano had been working late the night of the accident, Sgt. Costa said.

Bobby Hartmann asked that residents continue to pray for his nephew and Ms. Celentano.

“It’s OK to be mad at the situation,” he said, asking people to temper any feelings of ill-will toward her. “But she’s in the justice system now. She deserves to have her soul saved just as Aaron does or anybody else.”

cmiller@timesreview.com

with Michael White

05/16/13 12:40pm
Celentano in hit and run

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Jacqueline Celentano, 21, of Calverton is led out of Southampton Police Department headquarters in Hampton Bays Wednesday morning for a Justice Court appearance.

Update: Jacqueline Celentano, who was arrested Tuesday in connection with the hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a Riverhead man early Sunday in Flanders, posted $30,000 bond and was released from jail Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Ms. Celentano, 21, of Calverton was arraigned in Southampton Justice Court Wednesday morning on a felony charge for leaving the scene of a crash with personal injury.

She was then transported to the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside, where she posted bail about 4 p.m., jail officials said.

Aaron Hartmann, the man injured in the crash on County Road 105, is recovering at Stony Brook University Medical Center, where his condition has been improving, relatives have told the News-Review.

Ms. Celentano lives with family in Calverton and works in Riverhead, her lawyer, John Russo, said in court Wednesday.

Wednesday 11:30 a.m.: The 21-year-old Calverton woman charged with leaving the scene of a crash that seriously injured a Riverhead man early Sunday in Flanders was held on $30,000 bail after answering to a judge in Southampton Town court Wednesday.

Jacqueline Celentano, a 2009 Riverhead High School graduate, is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident with physical injuries, a felony.

She turned herself in to police about 6 p.m. Tuesday after consulting her lawyer, John Russo, Mr. Russo said in Town Justice Court in Hampton Bays. She lives with family and works in Riverhead, he told the judge.

Before setting bail, Justice Deborah Kooperstein said she was concerned it took so long for Ms. Celentano to come forward to authorities.

Mr. Russo answered that his client left the scene out of fear.

An assistant district attorney argued Wednesday for $80,000 bail, saying Ms. Celentano “put her interests above society’s.”

Several family members ranging in ages attended the arraignment but declined to speak to a reporter afterward.

Mr. Russo said outside the courtroom that the family would be posting bail.

JACKIE CELENTANO

Wednesday 10:15 a.m.:  Southampton Town Police have arrested a 21-year-old Calverton woman in connection with the hit-and-run crash that seriously injured Aaron Hartmann of Riverhead early Sunday morning.

Jacqueline Celentano was brought into custody at 8 p.m. Tuesday night. During the investigation, police were able to identify a red 2000 Chevy Impala sedan parked outside a Riverside home as the car involved in the crash, police said. The car was impounded.

Ms. Celentano, a 2009 Riverhead High School graduate, will be arraigned at Southampton Justice Court today on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident with physical injury.

“The family is very grateful for the diligent work of the Southampton police,” said Bobby Hartmann, Aaron’s uncle, who along with other family members was initially critical of the department. “We ask that prayers be sent in two directions now, one for Aaron and his speedy recovery, and also for the girl and the family; this could be a crossroad in her life.

“Thank God he will bounce back from this.”

“We’re very grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and the fine police work by Southampton,” Mr. Hartmann added.

Check back for more details as they become available.

BOBBY HARTMANN COURTESY PHOTO | Aaron Hartmann gives a thumbs up from his hospital bed to let friends know he’s doing OK.

Wednesday 10 a.m.: Aaron Hartmann’s family gave an update on his condition Wednesday morning. “He’s stable. No news is good news; the longer he’s stable, the better his odds,” said his uncle, Bobby Hartmann. “The swelling on his brain is down. He’s got another CTSCAN today. His legs all pinned up.

“He’s somewhat alert and a little agitated, understandably. He’s got a ways to go but he’s in stable condition, which is good news. We’re just worried about any risk of infection.”

Aaron also spoke his first word since the accident today, Mr. Hartmann said.

Tuesday 1:50 p.m.: Southampton Town Police Chief Robert Pearce said detectives are making progress in investigating the hit-and-run crash that seriously injured Aaron Hartmann of Riverhead early Sunday morning.

He also said police at the scene of the crash, which happened just before 1 a.m. on County Road 105, “did not realize the extent of the injuries at the time,” which was partly why an accident investigation failed to get under way immediately.

“We are treating this very seriously,” he told the News-Review about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, less than four hours after Mr. Hartmann’s uncle, Bobby Hartmann, took to WRIV radio asking why police didn’t treat the area as a crime scene immediately.

Chief Pearce said once police received word from hospital staff on the extent of Aaron Hartmann’s injuries, “That’s when we said, ‘Alright we’ve got to get detectives on this.’”

He added that third-hand reports that reached police as to what, exactly, had happened to the 23-year-old also contributed in delaying the investigation.

Police will update the public as the hit-and-run investigation continues, he added.

COURTESY PHOTO | An undated photo of Aaron Hartmann, who was seriously injured Sunday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | An undated photo of Aaron Hartmann, who was seriously injured early Sunday.

ORIGINAL STORY: The uncle of a 23-year-old Riverhead man seriously injured in an apparent hit-and-run crash along County Road 105 in Flanders early Sunday took to the airwaves Tuesday morning with questions for Southampton Town police.

Bobby Hartmann, uncle of Aaron Hartmann, who’s been sedated and on a ventilator at Stony Brook University Medical Center after emergency surgery, appeared on 1390 AM WRIV with host Bruce Tria about 9:40 a.m.

FACEBOOK PHOTO | Aaron Hartmann in a hospital bed at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

FACEBOOK PHOTO | Aaron Hartmann in a hospital bed at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

First and foremost, he pointed out that no one at the Southampton Town Police Department reached out to his nephew’s mother in the hours after the crash.

Hospital officials alerted the mom that Aaron Hartmann was in critical condition at 9 a.m. Sunday, he said.

Bobby Hartmann told Mr. Tria that when he and the mother called the police department on Sunday, they were told “to call the records department Monday morning.”

As far as the police department’s dealings with the media, the department did not acknowledge the crash was being investigated as a hit-and-run until a press release was issued about 5 p.m. Monday. Before that, police would not comment on the incident, only to say “it was under investigation.”

The press release did not name the victim and mentioned nothing about the extent of his injuries.

Southampton Town Police Chief Robert Pearce could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday morning. Questions emailed from the News-Review to a police spokesman, after the police press released was issued, had not been answered as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A message was also left about 10 a.m. with Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

Police sources told the News-Review such a crash involving extensive injuries should have immediately been treated as a crime scene, even if the vehicle stayed on the scene, by trained highway investigators.

Aaron Hartmann’s mother, Linda, whose been sitting at her son’s bedside in Stony Brook since the crash, pointed out to the News-Review Monday that the grassy area where her son was found had since been mowed over.

Bobby Hartmann said the same Tuesday on the air.

“Who was on the scene and why was this not followed through?” Bobby Hartmann asked.

Southampton Police said in its press release Monday evening that “police responded to a report of a man in the southbound part of County Road 105 near the bridge in Flanders. Upon arrival, a 23-year-old male who had sustained injuries was found in a disoriented state.  Members of the Flanders Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded for treatment and transport to Peconic Bay Medical Center.”

He was then transported to Stony Brook, relatives have said.

Bobby Hartmann said on WRIV that since the case has been turned over to the department’s detectives division, the detectives have been “stellar” and very informative to the family.

But he’s still wondering what took so long for the case to be handed over for an investigation.

During an interview with the News-Review Monday, and in subsequent comments on riverheadnewsreview.com, he speculated that police might not have initially taken the incident seriously due to his nephew’s arrest history.

“Aaron’s has had some troubles, but he’s been doing well,” he told a reporter. “He’s a well-mannered, good-hearted kid and he deserves better.”

“I want to know why there was not an immediate investigation started at the moment the police showed up,” he later wrote on the News-Review website. “I want to know if there was a subjective deciscion made because of his past.”

He said his nephew had being “doing well” before the crash.

He also complained on WRIV that Linda Hartmann had to retrieve her son’s clothes, which he said were not submitted as evidence, from hospital staffers.

He added that since the area of the crash was not immediately treated as a crime scene, it would have been simple for the driver to go back and retrieve any evidence, such as debris from the vehicle, that might have been left behind.

mwhite@timesreview.com

08/26/11 7:11pm
08/26/2011 7:11 PM

A Riverhead man has been arrested in connection with an armed robbery earlier this month, according to Southampton Town Police.

Aaron Hartmann, 21, of Riverhead was arrested Friday at police headquarters in connection with an Aug. 13 robbery of a Flanders Man,police said.

In that incident, which took place early in the morning, a man pointed a handgun at a Flanders man and demanded that he give him his car stereo, according to police. No one was hurt in the incident, police said.

Following a two-week investigation, police arrested Mr. Hartmann and charged him with second-degree attempted robbery, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing.

He was arraigned and sent to the county jail in lieu of $30,000 bail, police said.