A new traffic signal at the site of a July limousine crash in Cutchogue that killed four women on a North Fork winery tour has been switched on, a county official said Friday.
County workers fully activated the signal at the intersection of Depot Lane and Route 48 earlier this week, Suffolk County Department of Public Works Commissioner Gil Anderson said. County spokesman Justin Meyers has said the new signal was planned long before the deadly crash, to accommodate traffic expected to intensify on the North Fork.
Previously, flashing red lights on Depot Lane and flashing yellow lights on Route 48 alerted drivers to the intersection.
The intersection was the site of a July 18 limousine crash that killed Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack; Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park; and Lauren Baruch, 24, and Brittney Schulman, 23, both of Smithtown. Four others in the vehicle -- all women in their 20s -- were injured.
The limousine driver, Carlos Pino, 58, of Bethpage, had been making a U-turn on Route 48 when his vehicle was struck broadside by a pickup truck, authorities said.
The driver of the pickup, Steven Romeo, 55, of Southold, was charged with driving while intoxicated. Both drivers also were injured in the crash.
The case against Romeo is pending.
Neighbors who had long fretted about conditions at the crossing said last month that they believed the light would make the area safer -- but they also expected collisions would continue due to the growing wine industry and risky moves by limousine and bus drivers.
A Southold-wide crackdown on limousines and buses one weekend last month resulted in town and county police issuing more than three dozen tickets to the operators of 17 vehicles. One of those operators, a bus driver, was cited for making an illegal U-turn at the site of the Cutchogue crash.