Dix Hills Parents Arrested in Deadly Drinking Party

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A mother and father in Dix Hills have been arrested in connection with a drinking party held at their home last April. One of the partygoers wandered from the house and was killed when she was struck by a car. (Published Thursday, Sep 22, 2011)

    A mother and father in Dix Hills, Long Island, have been arrested, accused of hosting a party in which underage teenagers consumed alcohol, including one who wandered from the home and was fatally struck by a car.

    Bob and Lorri Gelb were arrested on a charge of violating Suffolk County's social host law, which makes it illegal for adults to allow minors to drink alcohol in their homes or at gatherings they are hosting.

    The Gelbs, according to police, allowed as many as 20 to 30 teens to drink in their home last April and did nothing to stop them.

    One of the partygoers, 16-year-old Taylor Cavaliere, wandered from the house and was struck by a car on the Northern State Parkway. State Police said Cavaliere had alcohol in her system when she died.

    "They were home at the time of the party," said State Police investigator James Chadwick. "They didn't contribute to the consumption of alcohol but they were aware of what was going on inside the home."

    Chadwick said the Gelbs were decent people who were distraught about what happened, but they needed to be held responsible. 

    Elisa Romaniello, a mother of two students at Commack High School where Cavaliere was an honors student, said, "When you're giving a party, you have to be aware of what is going on and a lot of people aren't."

    Cavaliere would have graduated from Commack next June.

    "She was a bright light who had a big future," said Debbie Fields, a family friend.

    Cavaliere's parents chose not to comment on the arrest of the Gelbs.

    No one answered the door at the Gelbs' Dix Hills home Thursday.

    A clerk from a Commack 7-11 convenience store was also arrested for selling the beer to the teenagers who attended the party.

    The clerk, 54-year-old Mohammed Ellahi, is due back in court, along with the Gelbs, in November.

    The Gelbs face a $500 fine if convicted of violating the social host law.

    @GregCergol4NY