By Kathryn G. Menu
Two separate accidents involving Hampton Jitney buses on County Road 39 in Southampton this week resulted in the death of a Shirley resident, left a handful of others with injuries and shut down one the main arteries into Southampton and East Hampton towns for several hours.
The first accident, which claimed the life of a 29 year-old mother of two, happened last Thursday, July 25. According to police, just before 7 a.m. Carissa R. Castillo — travelling eastbound in a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer on County Road 39 near St. Andrew’s Road — veered into the westbound lane of traffic where she hit a Hampton Jitney bus head-on.
Southampton Town Police, detectives and the Southampton Fire Department Police and Heavy Rescue responded to the scene, which police said encompassed all lanes of travel for over half a mile. Castillo was extricated from the vehicle — which was decimated in the crash — by fire department officials and was declared dead at the scene. The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene.
According to police, the Jitney driver, George Scheld, 54, of Nesconset and a bus attendant, Shimona Kameka, 36, of Southampton, were transported to Southampton Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The Hampton Jitney bus was not carrying passengers at the time of the accident.
The New York State Police Forensic ID & Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to assist in the investigation of the accident scene. The Suffolk County Police Motor Carrier Unit and the New York State Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Unit responded for a complete safety check of the bus and Castillo’s Trailblazer was impounded at Southampton Town Police headquarters for a safety check and further investigation.
The accident and investigation resulted in a road closure that spanned from 7 a.m. until about 4 p.m. as the Suffolk County Department of Works responded to the scene to assist in cleaning what police called a “massive amount of debris and fluids” in order to make the roadway safe for travel.
As a result, traffic was literally at a standstill, cars redirected eastbound to Montauk Highway and westbound to Sebonac Road, some drivers opting to gain access to Southampton and East Hampton towns via the North Fork.
The second accident occurred Monday, also involving an empty Hampton Jitney bus. According to police, around 4:37 a.m., just west of the intersection of County Road 39A and David Whites Lane, the Jitney was struck as it exited the company parking lot.
Police said a 2004 MAC National Waste Service Garbage truck, driven by Ezio Vessella, 45, of Southampton, was driving westbound on County Road 39A when it collided with the bus attempting to exit the bus depot and drive eastbound.
Southampton Village Ambulance responded and transported Vessella to the Stony Brook University campus in Southampton so the Suffolk County PD Helicopter could take him to Stony Brook Hospital for treatment of his injuries. The Jitney driver, Quincy Lassiter, 53, of Central Islip, was transported by Southampton Village Ambulance to Southampton Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and subsequently released, according to police.
The Suffolk County Police Motor Carrier Safety Unit responded for a complete safety check of both the bus and the garbage truck. Both parties received summonses of the Transportation Law and/or Vehicle and Traffic Law. Among them was a summons for the garbage truck driver for the truck being overweight.
No criminal charges were filed in either case, according to police, although an investigation into both accidents is ongoing and police have asked anyone who may have witnessed either accident to call Southampton Town Detectives at 702-2238.
In East Hampton, a person was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center Saturday night after a single-car accident on Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett near Bendigo Road.
According to police, at approximately 10:05 p.m., a westbound 2002 BMW convertible, driven by Richard D. Forman, 49, of Manhattan, failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, lost control and overturned striking multiple trees on the south side of the roadway.
The Amagansett Fire Department, along with the Amagansett and Springs ambulance corps responded to the scene. Forman was transported to Southampton Hospital with minor injuries and a front seat passenger was also brought to that hospital where they were listed in stable condition on Sunday, according to police. A third passenger — thrown from the vehicle, was airlifted by helicopter to Stony Brook University Medical Center where he was also listed in stable condition.
Following his release from the hospital, Forman was charged with driving while intoxicated, and was arraigned on Sunday, released on $1,000 bail.
East Hampton Town Police Detectives have asked that anyone who witnessed the collision contact them at 537-7575.