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Eastport man pleads not guilty in fatal accident

Peter Torrillo, 48, of Eastport, is led out

Peter Torrillo, 48, of Eastport, is led out of the Fourth Precinct in Hauppauge for arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court. Torrillo is charged with the hit and run that left Erika Strebel, 27, of Eastport, dead and seriously injured Edward Barton, of East Moriches. (Nov. 26, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

An Eastport man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to leaving the scene of an accident that left a woman dead and a man seriously injured earlier this month.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco said Erika Strebel, 27, of Eastport, and Edward Barton, 26, of East Moriches, were standing next to Strebel's Jeep Nov. 2 on Montauk Highway in Eastport after it had run out of gas.

Peter Torrillo, 48, hit them with his pickup truck, killing Strebel and leaving Barton with head injuries, and then fled home where he hid the truck, Brosco said.

The next day, Brosco said, Torrillo drove to Queens to have the damage from the crash repaired. She asked Suffolk District Court Judge G. Ann Spellman to set bail of $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond.

Spellman, while noting the charges were "extraordinarily serious," set bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

Strebel's family left court in tears without commenting.

Torrillo's attorney, Brian Desesa of Sag Harbor, said his client gave a statement to police and is cooperating with authorities.

"It's a horrible day for everybody," Desesa said, adding that Torrillo feels awful for the Strebel family.

Desesa said Torrillo has been struggling with bipolar disorder and depression both before and since the crash. He said his client was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward from after the crash until this week.

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