An Eastport man was sentenced Tuesday to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison for killing a 27-year-old woman in a hit-and-run crash, sparking renewed calls for tougher penalties in such cases.
Peter Torrillo had pleaded guilty at Suffolk County court to leaving the scene of fatal crash.
Prosecutors said the 48-year-old man was driving his GMC Sierra eastbound on Montauk Highway when he struck Erika Strebel, who is also from Eastport, and Edward Barton, of East Moriches, on Nov. 2.
“A drunk or drug impaired driver who kills someone may face up to 25 years in prison,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said. “But fleeing the accident scene allows the wrongdoer a chance to sober up, and under the current law, any driver guilty of a hit and run faces a maximum prison sentence of seven years—even when someone dies and even if the defendant has a prior felony record.
“This profound encouragement to leave the scene must be eliminated,” Spota continued, urging New York State lawmakers to more than double the maximum punishment for a convicted hit-and-run driver before the legislative session ends next week. “It’s time to close this loophole.”
Torrillo, who was not charged with drunken driving, reportedly had a prior conviction for driving while high on drugs. Authorities said that after the crash, Torrillo went to a bar in Center Moriches to listen to a band.
The victims were parked on the eastbound shoulder of the roadway at the time because their Jeep Cherokee ran out of gas. Strebel died shortly later.
Torrillo took his truck to a body shop in Queens, but county crime lab investigators later matched paint chips from the truck to the crash scene, authorities said.