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Family of Cutchogue limo crash victim files notice of intent to sue

Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack, in an undated

Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack, in an undated photo. Credit: Facebook

The family of Amy Grabina, one of four women killed in a July limousine crash in Cutchogue, has informed Suffolk County and the Town of Southold that it intends to sue.

The notices of claim on behalf of Grabina, 23, of Commack, filed Wednesday, come less than two months after the July 18 accident on Route 48 near Depot Lane.

The crash happened during a North Fork wine country outing and also claimed the lives of Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park, and Lauren Baruch, 24, and Brittney Schulman, 23, both of Smithtown.

"The family is absolutely devastated by the loss of their daughter," said Frank J. Laine, a Plainview attorney representing Amy Grabina's estate.

The limousine, driven by Carlos Pino, 58, of Bethpage, made a U-turn on Route 48, also known as Middle Road, and was struck broadside by a pickup driven by Steven Romeo, 55, of Southold, authorities said.

Minutes of public meetings in the town and correspondence emailed to county officials, Laine said, show that residents have long complained that limousines making U-turns at that location, which has no traffic signals, pose a safety hazard.

The notices accuse the town and county of "negligence, carelessness and recklessness" in failing to make the road safer.

"The main objective of the family is to make sure that this never happens again," Laine said.

Suffolk County attorney Dennis Brown declined to comment Thursday on the claim, citing county policy.

Town officials could not be reached for comment.

The notices bring to at least four the number of legal actions that have been filed in connection with the crash.

Schulman and Baruch's families have filed notices, and one of four survivors of the crash, Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn, has sued the two drivers and their companies, seeking unspecified damages.

Romeo was charged with driving while intoxicated. Tests taken an hour and 40 minutes after the crash showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.066 percent, under the legal threshold of 0.08, but prosecutors say they intend to show that Romeo was legally intoxicated at the time of the wreck.

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