What to Know
- Steven Romeo's pickup truck t-boned a stretch limousine in July 2015
- Four women died in the accident; another four were hurt
- The limo driver had also been indicted, but a judge dropped those charges over questions about grand jury testimony impropriety
The families of the four women killed in a limousine crash on Long Island’s North Fork are banding together to fight for tougher safety standards on the road.
The families of two of the women who died in the crash broke their public silence to speak to the I-Team, which has reported on how drivers are continuing to make dangerous U-turns at the site of the deadly crash two years ago.
Paul Schulman and Steven Baruch lost their daughters Brittany Schulman and Lauren Baruch in the July 18, 2015 crash. Their limo driver made a risky U-turn on County Road 48 and Depot Lane when a pickup truck T-boned them at the intersection. Stephanie Belli and Amy Grabina also died in the crash, and four other friends were severely injured. The pickup driver pleaded guilty to DWAI in a deal that allowed him to avoid jail, and a judge tossed all charges against the limo driver.
"I feel it's getting harder as more time passes," said Schulman.
"We just take it one day at a time, and hope that in time we’ll get through it," Baruch said.
The I-Team reported in July that not only are limousines and party buses still making risky turns at the intersection -- but Suffolk County has no plans to add a green turning arrow light, despite calls from law enforcement officials, residents and the victims of the limousine accident.
"The fact that there’s been nothing done to this point in time that in any way could change it from happening again is appalling," said Baruch. "How many more accidents have to happen, how many more lives have to be lost?"
Suffolk’s public works commissioner says the traffic signal can’t be installed because it doesn’t meet requirements under state and federal law, even though he has told the I-Team that it would make the intersection safer.
"It’s appalling that he can, in the same sentence, say that it didn’t meet the criteria, but that it would be safer," said Schulman.
Since the crash, Schulman, Baruch and other parents of the young women have found solace in each other. Now they are banding together to fight for safety: in addition to the turning arrow light, they want to change state law. They’ve launched an online petition called LABS, the initials of each woman who died. It calls for a ban on U-turns by limos, tougher safety requirements, and more training for drivers.
"If making these changes could save a life, then I think I might be able to talk for everybody that at least I know my daughter didn’t go in vain. She helped save a life. I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter for that." said Schulman.