A BMW driver who lost control on the Long Island Expressway struck another vehicle, sending four people to the hospital Wednesday in a crash that shut down all westbound lanes in Ronkonkoma for five hours, authorities said.
Louis Dimuro, 19, of Medford, was arrested and charged with reckless driving after Suffolk police said he collided with a Jeep between exits 58 and 59 at about 3:50 p.m.
Dimuro was driving at a "high rate of speed" and "switching lanes recklessly" when he slammed into the Jeep, causing it to roll over several times, police said.
The BMW ended up facing eastbound in the HOV lane, its front end crumpled and a tire in the debris field that spread across all the LIE lanes, Lakeland Fire Chief Rich Mancuso said, while the Jeep landed in the right lane, also facing eastbound.
"It looked like a barrel that had rolled down the expressway," Mancuso said of the Jeep, which was driven by Alfredo Deras-Mena, 63, of Central Islip
Neither driver was hurt, police said, but the Jeep's front seat passenger, Maria Chica, 41, of Brentwood, was rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital with serious injuries. The Jeep's three backseat passengers, all adults, had injuries that were not life-threatening and were also taken Stony Brook, police said.
Both vehicles were impounded for safety checks, police said. Dimuro, of Long Island Avenue, is to be arraigned Thursday.
Mancuso said at least five EMTS who were traveling near the crash scene volunteered to stabilize the Jeep's occupants before ambulances, firefighters with heavy rescue equipment and police emergency service units arrived to cut out the doors.
"It was nice to see people stop and help each other out," he said.
The occupants were at least semiconscious, Mancuso said, and about 45 first responders from police, Lakeland and Central Islip fire departments and four ambulance departments extricated them in about 17 minutes.
"We had a lot of people working on it," the chief said, but "if you're in a vehicle trapped for 17 minutes, that's an eternity."
The LIE reopened about 9 p.m., police said.