Steven Romeo, the Southold marine services company co-owner who drove the pickup truck that crashed into a limousine in Cutchogue on Saturday night, was cited in a deadly workplace accident last year.
One of his employees at Romeo Dimon Marine Service in Southold, Andrew Leone, died in January 2014 when a bucket attachment on a skid-steer loader Romeo was operating fell and crushed him, documents show.
Romeo was cited and fined $7,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace violations. OSHA found Romeo had no training or certification to operate the backhoe.StoryCops: 4 LIers killed, driver charged with DWIStoryLimo victims' friend missed trip for workVideoDriver in Cutchogue crash arraigned on DWI charges
Leone's family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in state Supreme Court against Romeo and the company. The lawsuit states that Romeo was operating a skid-steer loader to fix a pump. The family claimed the bucket on the backhoe was not secured with safety latches and struck Leone in the head.
"While operating the skid steer, Steve Romeo caused the skid steer machine to violently and without warning come in contact with" Leone, the lawsuit states. The next hearing date has been set for Oct. 1.
Romeo Dimon Marine Service, which opened in 2009, provides boating repair work, hauling, launching, winterization and power washing, according to its website. It was closed Sunday. Romeo did not answer his cellphone Sunday and remained hospitalized at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport. He was arraigned at the hospital on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond.
A spokesman for Romeo's civil attorneys with the Mineola-based Torino and Bernstein law firm declined to be identified and said he could not comment on either the civil or the criminal case.
Romeo owns the company with business partner Kris Dimon, who did not return calls Sunday.
Several local residents and representatives of other boating services companies declined to comment publicly, but expressed disbelief at the DWI charge, saying they believe the crash was an accident.
Nancy Romeo, Steve Romeo's ex-wife, said through a relative at her Southold home that she had been divorced for nine years and didn't have any information about the Cutchogue crash.