A Suffolk County judge dismissed charges against a limousine driver who was making an illegal U-turn when an alleged drunken driver crashed into the limo, killing four women in Cutchogue last year.
Judge Fernando Camacho dismissed the case against Carlos Pino, who had been charged with criminally negligent homicide, assault, reckless driving and traffic violations during a hearing on the case Wednesday. Prosecutors vowed to appeal the ruling.
“Pino’s actions were far from just careless,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said. “Pino was driving a vehicle he knew or should have known could never make a safe U-turn under the circumstances…Camacho’s decision appears to ignore this critical and distinguishing fact.”
The other driver, Steven Romeo, previously pleaded not guilty to charges of driving while intoxicated. He is due back in court Nov. 3.
Authorities said Romero was driving a pickup truck westbound on County Road 48 when he crashed into the limo, which was making a U-turn at the corner of Depot Lane after it had just left Vineyard 48 on July 18, 2015.
The four women killed in the crash were identified as Brittany Schulman and Lauren Baruch, both of Smithtown; Stephanie Belli, of Kings Park; and Amy Grabina, of Commack. All were 23 except Baruch, who was 24. Three were pronounced dead at the scene, and the fourth died at an East End hospital. Four other women riding in the limo were injured.