2 testify at crash trial: No sign of racing
The two motorists with the best view of a crash that killed four people on Montauk Highway in Copiague testified that a blue car spun and hit a minivan sideways, but both said they saw no sign of racing beforehand.
The motorists testified at the manslaughter trial of Damian Dudkiewicz, 28, of Lindenhurst. He is accused of racing another vehicle on July 26, 2009, while going east on Montauk Highway, before a car turned left in front of him. He avoided that car but, witnesses and police say, he spun sideways and crashed into a westbound minivan.
Tara Weinberg, 28, of Kings Park testified during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco that she waited 25 to 30 seconds for eastbound traffic to clear before turning left.
"That's when I saw a car bearing down on me" at high speed, she said. She saw the car hit the minivan as she finished her turn, she said.
Earlier this week, the minivan driver, Roseanna Attaguile of Lindenhurst, said she was driving west when she heard a screeching noise and saw the blue car come at her sideways.
Sobbing, she recalled being in tremendous pain from broken ribs as she went to her mother, Teresa Zuardo, in the backseat.
"She was so still," Attaguile said. "I heard her murmur a little. I kept shaking her hand."
Killed were Zuardo, 69, of Brooklyn; and three passengers in Dudkiewicz's car -- Grzegorz Osko, 29; his wife, Kamila Boriczka Osko, 26; and Dudkiewicz's fiancee, Magda Siwik, 30, all of Lindenhurst.
During cross-examination by defense attorney William Keahon of Hauppauge, Weinberg and Attaguile said they saw no eastbound cars racing, speeding or weaving in and out of traffic just before the crash.
Keahon suggested that Weinberg -- who is being sued by the victims along with Dudkiewicz -- caused the crash.
"Isn't it a fact, young lady, that you stopped in the eastbound lanes?" he asked her.
"I didn't stop," she replied. "I just completed the turn."
She denied being on her phone or texting as she did so.
Weinberg, who said she wasn't good with distances, gave varying estimates of how far away Dudkiewicz's car was when she saw it. She told Keahon she first noticed it less than a couple dozen feet away, but later told Brosco it was a few hundred feet.
Later Friday, Robert Genna, director of the Suffolk Crime Laboratory, testified about reconstructing the crash. He said Dudkiewicz's car hit a curb on the right before it returned to the road, spinning sideways. At that point, he said it was going at least 64 mph, having already slowed somewhat.
By the time it hit Attaguile's minivan, it was going almost 44 mph, he said.