01/16/14 2:15pm
01/16/2014 2:15 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The driver of an SUV died in the Thursday morning crash on Route 24.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Police say the driver of an SUV died in the two-car crash on Route 24.

Police have identified a local woman with ties to the Riverhead area as the victim who was killed in a two-car crash involving a power company truck in Flanders Thursday morning.

Southampton Town police said 47-year-old Barbara Tocci was driving a 2000 Ford Explorer north on Flanders Road near the intersection of Spinney Road when she was struck by a Public Service Enterprise Group utility truck driving south that had crossed into her lane.

Police said they do not expect to file criminal charges in the crash and did not say what caused the truck to swerve.

Southampton police, Flanders firefighters and the Northampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps were all called to the scene just before 8 a.m., authorities said.

Ms. Tocci died at the scene, police said. Her body was extracted from the vehicle by firefighters and taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, police said.

The driver of the truck — 53-year-old Michael Pepe of Bayport — was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of non-threatening injuries, according to a police statement.

A PSEG spokesman said the company takes “the safety of our employees and the public very seriously.”

“[We] will review the circumstances of this incident once all the facts are known,” said the spokesman, Jeffery Weir. “We are deeply saddened by what has happened, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends affected by this loss.”

Mr. Weir said he could not comment on the condition of the PSEG employee.

The state police Forensic ID & Collision Reconstruction Unit and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau were called to the scene to assist in the investigation, officials said. State Department of Transportation workers also responded to repair damage to the roadway, police said.

Both Ms. Tocci’s and Mr. Pepe’s vehicles were impounded for a safety check and further investigation. Flanders Road was shut down between Bellows Pond Road and Pleasure Drive in both directions as police investigated.

Ms. Tocci is a former Riverhead High School graduate, according to her Facebook profile, where friends gathered on Thursday to remember her.

“I am at a loss for words, but I can’t stop my tears,” wrote Kathy Fioto Kruel.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Detectives have asked anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact the Southampton Town Detectives at 631-702-2230.


01/08/14 11:45am
01/08/2014 11:45 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Amanda DaCosta is led out of Southampton Town Justice Court following an arraignment Wednesday morning.

Update (11:45 a.m.): A Flanders woman was charged with leaving the scene of an accident Wednesday morning after allegedly driving a car into three people, leaving one person in intensive care at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Amanda DaCosta, a 2007 Riverhead graduate, was held on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond at an arraignment in Southampton Town Justice Court this morning.

Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson said charges could be upgraded. The vehicular crime bureau may investigate the case further.

Ms. DaCosta’s court appointed attorney, Colin Astarita of Southampton, said Ms. DaCosta had been “attacked” by the man who is now hospitalized, and that people at the Flanders home followed her as she attempted to drive away.

At least one person at the scene tried to stop Ms. DaCosta from driving, according to a statement read aloud in court.

Ms. DaCosta had allegedly been drinking just prior to the incident, according to witness statements read aloud in court.

Justice Wilson said she was arrested “many hours later.”

Ms. DaCosta lives with her sister in Flanders and currently works as a nurse’s assistant at the Westhampton Care Center, according to court statements. She has no criminal history.

The victim, who was not identified, is currently intubated at the intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center, Justice Wilson said in court.

Ms. DaCosta is due back in court Feb. 5.

Original Story: One person was hospitalized and a woman arrested after she allegedly drove a car into three people after a dispute broke out outside a Flanders home just after midnight Wednesday, according to a resident of the home.

The resident, who asked his name not be published, said he lives at the Riverside Avenue home with his sister and two children.

His sister had “a few friends” over, and they were in the front of the house smoking cigarettes when a fight broke out, he explained. Then one guest, whom he identified as Amanda DaCosta, allegedly got into a car and drove into three people and the house before driving off.

“She got in her car and ran it into my house,” he said.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The house at Riverside Avenue near Evergreen Road in Flanders, at which one person was injured after midnight Wednesday.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The house at Riverside Avenue near Evergreen Road in Flanders where one person was injured after midnight Wednesday.

She was located and arrested, he said.

Ms. DaCosta was led into Southampton Town Justice Court about 9:30 a.m. by police.

A Medevac helicopter landed at the community center on Flanders Road and transported a victim to Stony Brook University Medical Center.

The resident said the two children were in the back at the house at the time of the incident and were not physically harmed.


01/07/14 9:46am
01/07/2014 9:46 AM

A New York City man whom police say was driving drunk with three young children in the car was arrested in Flanders on New Year’s Eve and charged with a felony under Leandra’s law, according to a Southampton police report.

An officer spotted a 2013 Tesla electric car driving outside its lane on Flanders Road near Pleasure Drive about 10:40 p.m., police said. The vehicle was pulled over and police determined the driver — 47-year-old Christian Robertson — was intoxicated, according to the report.

Three children, all under 10 years old, were inside the car at the time of Mr. Robertson’s traffic stop, police said. Mr. Robertson was taking the children home, police said.

Mr. Robertson was arrested and charged with aggravated DWI and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court and released on $1,000 bail.



01/05/14 10:40am
01/05/2014 10:40 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | This car was struck in Hampton Bays after a fatal car crash early Sunday morning.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | This car was struck in Hampton Bays after a fatal car crash early Sunday morning.

Southampton Police arrested an Aquebogue man for driving while intoxicated Sunday morning following a car crash in Hampton Bays that killed a newspaper delivery woman.

According to police, 31-year-old Joseph Perez was driving a 2001 Ford pickup truck westbound on Montauk Highway, near Ponquogue Avenue, around 4:30 a.m. when he hit a parked car, then struck 56-year-old Donna Sartori of Middle Island before hitting her car.

Southampton Town Police, New York State Police Forensic ID & Collision Reconstruction Unit, and the Hampton Bays Fire Department all responded to the scene.

Police said Ms. Sartori was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. Perez was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was charged with driving while intoxicated. Southampton Sgt. Andrew Ficurilli said Sunday morning that Mr. Perez remains in the hospital, and will likely be arraigned tomorrow.

Police said the investigation is continuing, and are asking anyone who may have information about the crash to call Southampton Town Detectives at 702-2230, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS.

12/07/13 10:00am
12/07/2013 10:00 AM

The Riverhead and Southampton police departments will be getting new video equipment to record interrogations thanks to a state grant announced by the governor’s office last month.

The two departments will share $43,450 with the Suffolk County Police Department to purchase equipment to upgrade existing technology in the departments, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Nov. 18.

“With these grants, New York State is giving local law enforcement the resources they need to enhance the integrity, fairness and effectiveness of our criminal justice system,” he said. “The practice of video recording interrogations helps prevent wrongful convictions and at the same time, protects investigators from false allegations.”

The grant will be divvied up by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, officials said. The DA’s office will also have to develop new protocols with the three departments that detail the types of crimes that would require an interview with a suspect to be recorded.

11/19/13 7:00am
11/19/2013 7:00 AM

A Northampton man reported to police last week that someone illegally opened a line of credit in his name and charged more than $500 to it — despite his attempts to alert the company.

The man said he received a letter from a company called Bill Me Later, a service of the PayPal electronic funds transferring service, on Oct. 5, saying he was unable to open a line of credit with them. The man called the company and said he had never attempted to open a line of credit with Bill Me Later and that the attempt to do so was unauthorized, according to police.

Then around Nov. 1, the victim got a call from Bill Me Later’s security department telling him an account had been opened under his name, and that now there was a $298 charge to that account.

The Northampton man again contacted the company to say that this was a fraudulent account and fraudulent charges.

Then on Nov. 12, he got a bill in the mail from Bill Me Later for $586.85, according to police.

He again called Bill Me Later and the account was finally frozen, said police, who added they currently have no leads on who the suspect is, and are continuing to investigate the case as second-degree identity theft.


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.