Brittney Schulman, 23, Lauren Baruch, 24, Stephanie Belli, 23 and Amy Grabina, 23. These four young girls were out on the town celebrating life, probably toasting cheers to another birthday in their rented limousine, when their precious lives were tragically taken by the hands of a drunk driver.
The driver, who has been identified as 55-year-old Steven Romeo, was arraigned at Eastern Long Island hospital where he was being treated for severe injuries, and is being held on $1 million bond. He was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and is also accused of having fled the scene following the collision. Romeo was arrested shortly after being chased down by the police. According to Romeo’s lawyer Daniel O’Brien, Romeo did not flee the scene, however, and pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.
Romeo was driving a red pick up truck when he crashed into the limousine, which was reportedly making an illegal u-turn in the area, appearing to nearly sever the limo causing the young women to be ejected from the windows, as an onlooker described. Lynne Van Z Lulfs says she wishes she hadn’t even looked at the devastating scene as it is something she will never forget.
Their deaths are something the womens’ parents will also never forget and will have to carry with them everyday. Lauren Baruch’s father Steven said, “She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We loved her more than anything. Now we’ve got to bury our daughter.”
There were four other women involved in the accident who survived and have been identified as Joelle Dimonte, 25, Melissa Angela Crai, 23, Alicia Arundel, 24, and Olga Lipets, 24. As of Saturday night, they were listed in stable condition. As for Romeo, the investigation will continue and according to Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Miller, the authorities are looking to upgrade the charges significantly.
It is a heart-wrenching experience to have to bury your own child and this is the reality that these promising young womens’ families will now have to face. We will keep you updated as more on the story develops.