By Marcus E. Howard
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The driver of a limousine involved in a crash that killed four women on a Long Island winery tour was charged with criminally negligent homicide on Wednesday, months after a truck driver was charged with drunken driving in the incident.
A grand jury indicted Carlos Pino, 58, on criminal charges in the July 18 crash of his limousine, which was making a U-turn at an intersection when it was slammed broadside by a pickup truck, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced.
Four women - Lauren Baruch, 24, Brittney Schulman, 23, Amy Grabina, 23, and Stephanie Belli, 23 - were killed and four others were injured in the incident on Long Island's East End, where the group of eight friends was visiting wineries.
Pino was charged with four counts each of negligent homicide and assault, as well as failure to yield the right of way, reckless driving and other traffic violations. He was scheduled to be arraigned later in the day before state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho.
Spota, citing information collected from an investigation, said Pino had limited sight of oncoming traffic when he attempted to make a U-turn on Route 48 in Cutchogue, a busy stretch of road dotted with wineries, and the limousine was slammed into by the truck.
"Despite the fact that the main westbound travel lanes were not visible, the limo driver, Carlos Pino, failed to take any precaution or any action to make sure he could safely enter the westbound travel lanes and he continued to make the U-turn," said Spota.
Steven Romeo, 55, of Peconic, the truck driver, was charged with driving while intoxicated on the day of the crash. He also will be arraigned before Justice Camacho.
Spota said Romeo was traveling at about 55 miles per hour (89 km per hour) and did not see the limousine enter the intersection until he was about 200 feet away.
"Romeo can be held criminally responsible for driving while intoxicated, but he cannot be held criminally responsible for the crash," Spota said.
(Reporting by Marcus E. Howard; Editing by Alan Crosby)