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 5:25pm
06/19/2014 5:25 PM
Friends set up a memorial on Route 58 for hit-and-run victim Kristina Tfelt a few days after her death. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Friends and family members had set up a memorial on Route 58 in Riverhead for hit-and-run victim Kristina Tfelt a few days after her death last July. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

A bill that would increase penalties for those who flee the scenes of serious or fatal accidents passed through the New York State Assembly with bipartisan support Thursday with hours to spare, according to North Fork Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo, who co-sponsored the bill. (more…)

06/19/14 2:00pm
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…)

06/12/14 3:38pm
06/12/2014 3:38 PM
Police at the scene of the fatal hit and run on Route 58 near Woodcrest Avenue in  July 2013. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Police at the scene of the fatal hit and run on Route 58 near Woodcrest Avenue in July 2013. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

With just five days left in the New York State Assembly session, North Fork and East End lawmakers are making a last-minute push to drum up support for bills that would increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers who flee the scene of serious accidents.

Those bills — including one co-sponsored by the North Fork’s assemblyman, Anthony Palumbo — are currently stalled in committee, where they have sat since January. The legislators say they have until Tuesday to get a bill out of the committee and onto the floor for a full Assembly vote. (more…)

05/29/14 7:20am
05/29/2014 7:20 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Kristina Tfelt with her 1-year-old son, Joseph, in a photo dated August 2012.

COURTESY PHOTO | Kristina Tfelt with her 1-year-old son, Joseph, in a photo dated August 2012.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers have are offering a reward to the public after police said on Thursday morning that the driver in a fatal hit-and-run on Route 58 last year still remains at large.  (more…)

09/05/13 10:00am
09/05/2013 10:00 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Ashley Johnson at a family friend's wedding in 2011. Police have not made any arrests in the June 6 hit-and-run crash that injured Ms. Johnson in Florida.

COURTESY PHOTO | Ashley Johnson at a family friend’s wedding in 2011. Police have not made any arrests in the June 6 hit-and-run crash that injured Ms. Johnson in Florida.

Ashley Johnson, the former Riverhead High School student who was critically injured during a hit-and-run accident in Florida in June, is back in New York after months of effort to bring her home for better rehabilitation.

Ms. Johnson, 23, was struck by a red pickup truck about 11:45 p.m. on June 6 while crossing a major highway in Tampa.

Police have yet to make an arrest in the case.

Ms. Johnson was flown by private jet Aug. 16 to New York University Langone Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation in Manhattan, where she is undergoing aggressive short-term rehabilitation and speech therapy, said her mother, Kimberley Mullen.

Ms. Johnson suffered a severe head injury in the crash and fractured her left arm in three places.

“She can move her right arm and leg up and down,” Ms. Mullen said. “The left side she is having a hard time with. They are trying to rehab her to get back to regular life.”

Dissatisfied with the care Ms. Johnson was receiving in Florida, the family had been trying move Ms. Johnson back to New York since soon after the crash.

“We’ve seen she is improving every day,” Ms. Mullen said. “You show her pictures and she knows her family. She just needed the experienced staff at NYU.”

Ms. Johnson has been using sign language to speak with her sister Ebony, said Shelby Block, Ms. Johnson’s stepmother. The two learned signs when they were about 12 years old, Ms. Block said.

Ms. Mullen, who was also living in Florida at the time of the crash, said she’s since resigned from her job as business office manager at Cross Gardens Care Center in Miami to help take care of her daughter full-time.

“You never think it’s going to be your family,” Ms. Mullen said. “It’s tough, but when you’re up against it, you really all come together.”

The family said they hope to eventually bring Ms. Johnson home to Riverhead after her stay at the NYU facility, which is a short-term care facility.

Relatives are confident Ms. Johnson will soon be able to live with family in Riverhead, with the help of at-home care.

“I don’t want her going from facility to facility,” Ms. Mullen said.

cmiller@timesreview.com