11/16/13 4:43pm
11/16/2013 4:43 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO |  Ambulance officials declined to comment on the nature of the victim's injuries.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Ambulance officials declined to comment on the nature of the victim’s injuries.

A man was airlifted to an area hospital after a one-car accident on Flanders Road Saturday afternoon, officials said.

A green sedan traveling westbound crossed into the oncoming lane and crashed into a utility pole near Whitebrook Drive just after 2:30 p.m., said Riverhead Volunteer Fire Department chief Joseph Raynor.

Flanders-Northampton Ambulance officials declined to comment on the nature of the man’s injuries, saying only that he was being airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Southampton Town police diverted eastbound traffic down Whitebrook Drive for about a half hour following the crash.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A green sedan crashed into a utility pole on Flanders Road Saturday afternoon.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A green sedan crashed into a utility pole on Flanders Road Saturday afternoon.

08/30/13 7:00am
08/30/2013 7:00 AM

GOOGLE MAPS | Three unrelated hit-and-run crashes involving alleged drunken drivers happened this past weekend in the Riverhead area, though no serious injuries were reported. The crashes, denoted above, occurred in Aquebogue, Northampton and Flanders.

In just one weekend, three men found themselves facing drunken driving charges after allegedly fleeing the scenes of unrelated car accidents in the Riverhead area.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota has been pushing for stronger penalties for drivers who flee the scenes of serious accidents, saying that when drivers aren’t caught until much later, investigators are often unable to prove they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

But even drunken drivers who leave the scenes of crashes that don’t involve injuries can avoid a more serious DWI charge by eluding police. This creates an incentive for offenders to flee but creates more problems for those who may be left footing repair bills.

“It’s easy to get away, especially if you did a number on the person you’re hitting,” said Michael Sabolinski, a civil attorney with Schwartzapfel Partners of Jericho and a former Nassau County assistant district attorney.

Mr. Spota says he has seen an increase in hit-and-run accidents over the last few years.

The first of the crashes this weekend occurred Saturday night in Aquebogue, where a seafood delivery truck driver smashed into the back of a car he was tailgating before driving away, authorities said. The driver, Brian Pressler of Southold, was arrested minutes later, at about 8 p.m., on Main Road in Laurel, where he was arrested for driving while intoxicated, Southold police said.

He was later issued a citation from Riverhead police for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, a traffic infraction. Riverhead police said Mr. Pressler had his high beams on and was tailgating a brown Honda at the intersection of Main Road and Edgar Avenue when he rear-ended the vehicle. He was released without bail.

Less than three hours after the Laurel crash, a Riverhead man was arrested after leaving the scene of an accident on Wildwood Trail in Northampton, in which he and another person were injured, Southampton Town police said.

Gregory Lee, 43, was involved in a two-car crash shortly after 11 p.m., officials said. He drove off from the scene, but responding cops canvassed the area and found him intoxicated a short distance from the crash, police said. Both Mr. Lee and the driver of the other car were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Mr. Lee was charged with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, a misdemeanor, police said.

He was taken from the hospital to police headquarters and has since been released on $750 cash bail.

Then on Sunday night, a Riverhead man who fled the scene of a single-car accident in Riverside was arrested on a DWI charge after cops caught up with him at his Ludlam Avenue house soon after, Southampton police said.

Paul Ciochetto, 44, drove from the 11 p.m. crash scene near Flanders Road in a 2008 Toyota Yaris, police said.

After police found him at his home, Mr. Ciochetto admitted to driving his car, but claimed not to have realized he’d been involved in an accident, cops said.

Police determined Mr. Ciochetto was drunk and arrested him at his home, officials said. He was charged with DWI, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and traffic violations, police said. He was released without bail, police said.

psquire@timesreview.com

08/21/13 1:30pm
08/21/2013 1:30 PM

IMG_0205

An unlicensed Brooklyn man was arrested for drunken driving and a slew of other charges after crashing into two vehicles — including a Riverhead cop car on Sound Avenue, town police said.

The crash happened at the same time but was unrelated to Monday evening’s big All for the East End concert at Martha Clara Vineyards, police said.

Police received a 911 call about an erratic driver speeding eastbound about 9:15 p.m., according to a report.

Theodore Gavalez, 46, allegedly crashed into one vehicle and continued to drive eastbound when he crashed into an unmarked police unit being driven by Lt. David Lessard, police said. Police said Mr. Gavalez was not a concertgoer.

Lt. Lessard was not injured during the incident, officials said.

Mr. Gavalez was arrested for DWI, as well as third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of two motor vehicle accidents, according to a report.

He was arraigned Tuesday morning and released after posting $10,000 bail, police said.

Mr. Gavalez was due back in court Wednesday.

cmiller@timesreview.com

08/07/13 12:02pm
08/07/2013 12:02 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A school bus headed toward the Long Island Aquarium rear-ended a pick-up truck Wednesday morning. Six people, including three children, were injured, though not seriously.

Nine people, including four children, were injured when a school bus rear-ended a pick-up truck on West Main Street Wednesday morning, Riverhead police said.

A 1999 GMC Sierra was driving east when the car in front of it made a left turn about 11:20 a.m. near Raynor Avenue, police said. The truck stopped, but the school bus behind it kept driving and collided with the back of the truck, police at the scene said.

Riverhead police and ambulance teams rushed to the scene, where the driver of the truck — identified by police as Gilberto Tascon, 59, of Hampton Bays — four chaperones and four children on the bus were injured, though not seriously. The injured children were between between 6 and 12 years old.

The victims were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of “minor injuries,” police said.

The bus was transporting 32 kids and nine adults from a Bronx YMCA to the Long Island Aquarium.

Police and ambulance volunteers are currently evaluating the other children and adults on the bus to check for more injuries. Riverhead Ambulance chief Joey Oliver said the children have to be medically cleared, but there were no serious injuries.

The Wading River, Mattituck, and Mastic Fire Departments, as well as the Manorville Volunteer Ambulance Corps also responded to the scene.

Police inspected the bus, but issued no summons to either driver, according to a police statement.

psquire@timesreview.com

07/27/13 3:35pm
07/27/2013 3:35 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A black Cadillac sedan was damaged in an accident Saturday afternoon at the intersection of Route 58 and Osborne Avenue.

One person was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center with minor injuries after two cars crashed at the intersection of Route 58 and Osborne Avenue in Riverhead Saturday afternoon, Riverhead Town Police said.

Police couldn’t specify the cause of the accident, which occurred about 2:30 p.m.

A black Cadillac sedan was extensively damaged and parts of the car were scattered on Route 58, where traffic was moving steadily at 3 p.m. Police said the second car involved in the accident was in fair condition and that the driver was able to drive away safely from the scene.

ryoung@timesreview.com

07/17/13 11:44am
07/17/2013 11:44 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.

Two men were driving in a stolen Cadillac that struck and killed a 26-year-old Riverhead mother in a hit-and-run crash on Route 58 Tuesday night, Riverhead police said.

The men ditched the sedan after the crash and fled the scene on foot. They remained at large as of Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Kristina Tfelt of Northville Turnpike was killed near Woodcrest Avenue about 9:20 p.m., police said.

She had been at a friend’s barbecue earlier Tuesday night, her boyfriend of three years, Joseph Reiter, said in an interview.

Ms. Tfelt left to get groceries for the party and was walking across Route 58 when she was hit, he said.

“She didn’t do anything wrong,” Mr. Reiter said. “She just got hit by a car.”

Riverhead Town police said Ms. Tfelt was hit by a 2000 Cadillac Deville sedan that jumped the curb and crashed into a retaining wall after striking the woman.

The driver of the Cadillac and a passenger in the car ditched the car and both ran from the scene headed south on Woodcrest Avenue, according to a police statement.

Police found Ms. Tfelt lying unconscious in the eastbound lanes of Route 58. She was rushed to Peconic Bay Medical Center, but was pronounced dead, police said.

Police closed the road in both directions between Osborn and Harrison Avenues as Riverhead and state police K-9 teams and a Suffolk County police helicopter searched the area.

The Cadillac involved in the crash was reported stolen about half an hour after the accident, police said.

Investigators believe they know the names of the two men who fled the scene, and that it’s just a matter of time before they’re tracked down, police sources said.

Ms. Tfelt, a Selden native and Newfield High School graduate, met Mr. Reiter, originally of Cutchogue, as the were both trying to recover from drug addiction in 2010, and the couple had been together ever since, he said.

The couple had a child in December 2011 — a boy named Joseph Reiter III. After the baby was born, Mr. Reiter worked to support the family while Ms. Tfelt cared for the child.

“She took care of that baby every single day by herself,” he said. “She’s an amazing mother.”

Mr. Reiter said Ms. Tfelt had her share of struggles with addiction, but added that she had worked through rehab and was trying to recover.

“She’s a beautiful girl,” he said. “She was looking good … She started her life all over again.”

Mr. Reiter said the family hasn’t yet made funeral arrangements.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Riverhead police at (631) 727-4500, ext. 326. All call will be kept confidential.

psquire@timesreview.com

with Carrie Miller

07/13/13 4:20pm
07/13/2013 4:20 PM

A 42-year-old Riverhead man fled the scene of an accident in Southold and was later found to be intoxicated, Southold Town Police said.

Thomas Ferrara was involved in an accident at 11:02 a.m. Saturday on County Road 48 but did not stop, police said. After police located the vehicle, Mr. Ferrara was charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, both misdemeanors.

He was transported to headquarters and held for arraignment.

Police did not specify the nature of the accident.

06/11/13 5:00pm
06/11/2013 5:00 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The driver of this Toyota Tercel walked away from a rollover crash on County Road 105 Tuesday afternoon.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The driver of this Toyota Tercel walked away from a rollover crash on County Road 105 Tuesday afternoon.

A woman walked away unharmed after her car flipped into the median on County Road 105 Tuesday afternoon, Riverhead Town police said.

The woman was driving southbound about 3:40 p.m. in a red Toyota Tercel when she overturned the vehicle into the median of the road, police at the scene said.

Riverhead ambulance crews were called to the crash scene, but the woman suffered no injuries and declined further medical attention.

Police closed the left lane of the road while the woman’s car was removed from the median.