Police: Impaired driver’s father dies hours after Flanders crash

(Credit: Paul Squire)
Police close off parts of Flanders Road where these two minivans collided, injuring four people. (Credit: Paul Squire)

UPDATE, 7 A.M.: Southampton Police arrested a woman who they say crossed over lanes while under the influence of drugs, causing a two-car crash that killed her 80-year-old father.According to police, 53-year-old Claudette Stephens was driving a 2006 Nissan Quest eastbound on Route 24 with her son and father in the vehicle when she drifted across the turning lane. She hit a 2014 Honda minivan head-on that was traveling westbound near Long Neck Boulevard.

Ms. Stephens’ father, 80-year-old John Loetscher of Hampton Bays, was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center and pronounced dead several hours later.

The driver of the Honda, Ms. Stephens and her son were also transported to the hospital. Police said the son and 33-year-old Riverhead woman were listed in stable condition.

Ms. Stephens was charged with one count of driving while ability impaired by drugs and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and asked anyone who may have witnessed it to contact Southampton Town Detectives at 702-2230.

ORIGINAL STORY: Four people — including a teenager and his grandfather, who suffered life-threatening injuries — were hospitalized after two minivans collided on Flanders Road Thursday evening, shutting down the roadway for hours, Southampton Town police said.

Police Sgt. Lisa Costa said a 51-year-old woman was driving a Nissan Quest eastbound on Flanders Road towards Hampton Bays just before 5 p.m. when her vehicle drifted across the turning lane and into oncoming traffic.

The minivan collided with a Honda Odyssey driven by a 33-year-old woman headed in the opposite direction , Sgt. Costa said.

Both drivers — along with Quest driver’s 19-year-old son and the boy’s grandfather — were injured. Sgt. Costa said the elderly victim suffered “trauma” in the accident.

Ambulance volunteers with the Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps arrived on scene and performed CPR to attempt to resuscitate the 81-year-old man, the sergeant said. His injuries were described as life-threatening.

All four victims were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for further treatment. An update on their conditions was not immediately available.

Traffic remained closed on Flanders Road between Pleasure Drive and Bellows Pond Road as police took photos at the scene. Sgt. Costa said the police would determine if any charges needed to be filed.

As police investigated the crash, a different drama was playing out a few hundred feet away.

A pregnant woman driving a white minivan was headed to Southampton Hospital to give birth but couldn’t get further down the road due to the accident, according to volunteers at the scene. She began having contractions and both the Northampton Flanders and Hampton Bays ambulance teams were called back to the scene.

The volunteers arrived in time and took the pregnant woman to the hospital.

[email protected]