Cops still investigating Flanders hit-and-run crash

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.”

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with Michael White