Four people seeking a safe taxi ride home after a night of drinking at a Southampton nightclub were injured - two critically - when an alleged drunken driver's SUV slammed into them early Monday, police said.
Both drivers also were injured and the taxi driver was charged as well.
The cars crashed about 4:20 a.m. on County Road 39A near North Sea Road. Police said the Hometown Taxi van, driven by Ihsan Peker, 31, of Southampton, picked up four people at the Pink Elephant nightclub and headed west on 39A. Shortly after, the taxi driver tried to make a left turn into a convenience store parking lot. That's when it was struck on the passenger side by an eastbound 2001 Hyundai SUV driven by Ryan M. Rozynski, 18, of Shirley, police and a victim said.
"We were in a taxi -- there were four of us -- and the driver was turning into a 7-Eleven and we just got blasted," said Brian Cano, 33, of Jersey City, N.J., who was in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace at Stony Brook University Medical Center. He said the impact threw him from the taxi and he wound up with a 12-inch gash on his head.
Two local ambulance squads took the six occupants of the vehicles to Southampton Hospital, according to authorities. Two of the taxi passengers were later taken to the Stony Brook hospital, where they were said to be in critical condition. Two others at Southampton Hospital were listed in stable condition.
Police said Rozynski was treated for minor injuries and charged with DWI. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning.
Peker was treated for minor injuries and ticketed for failure to obey a traffic device.
Police said the accident is still being investigated and additional charges are likely.
Cano identified another passenger as Phil Ward of Manhattan, who also was hospitalized at Stony Brook. Cano said two women were in the cab, one of whom was thrown through the windshield.
"I'm in a lot of pain," Cano said, but "I'll feel a lot better when we get good news [about Phil's condition]. That's pretty much all I care about right now."
"These kids were doing the right thing," said Bryan DaParma, owner of Hometown Taxi. "They had been drinking and they called a taxi."
Staff writers Ari Goldstein and William Murphy contributed to this story.