Six-Year-Old Killed by Car in Water Mill

Posted on 16 June 2014


By Tessa Raebeck

Six-year-old Tess Burstein of Water Mill was hit and killed by a car Sunday, June 15, while crossing Blank Lane in Water Mill.

According to the Southampton Town Police Department, at around 11:19 a.m. Tess was crossing the road when she was hit by a Toyota Prius traveling northbound. She was transported to Southampton Hospital and then to Stony Brook University Hospital where she was treated for critical injuries.

A spokesperson from Stony Brook University Hospital confirmed Monday that Tess died at 4:49 p.m. Sunday.

The driver of the Toyota, Maurice Wittenberg, 76, of Water Mill, and his female passenger were not injured in the crash. The car was impounded for a safety check. No criminal charges have been filed at this time.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have more information or who may have witnessed this crash to call 631-702-2230.

The tragedy comes a year after the death of 14-year-old Anna Mirabai Lytton last June. The Springs School student was hit by a car driven by Maria Brennan, 73, and killed while riding her bike in East Hampton.

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4 Responses to “Six-Year-Old Killed by Car in Water Mill”

  1. fred says:

    driver was too old poor child

  2. nefex says:

    On the one hand, there is a duty of care on every person operating a potentially dangerous object (such as a vehicle). In many countries a driver is automatically liable for any injury to a pedestrian, because a car is like a gun—it CAN kill, so whoever wants to use it should be uber-cautious. And that is what I was taught when I was learning to drive—”assume that everyone around you is inept or an idiot, and that people are bound to jump out of bushes at every corner”. Speed limits are calculated with respect to probabilities of such things happening. This is why I was at one occasion able to brake in time when a guy on a bicycle decided to cross the road a hundred feet in front of me. Because I was adhering to the speed limits within built-up areas. – “’20 mph speed limit zones’ which use self enforcing traffic calming achieved average speed reductions of 10 mph, CHILD PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS were reduced by 70% and child cyclist accidents by 48%.”

    So it DOES depend on the speed which the driver has chosen. And whether the driver was looking both ways and paying attention.

    Now, I am aware that there are real accidents like, e.g., a drunken guy running out on a road in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. So, not having additional information on the case at hand, it’s hard to say what actually transpired. However, it is usually upon the driver to assess his/her speed as a reasonable person. Whether s/he is elderly or just daydreaming makes no difference. When operating a hazardous object such as a gun or a car, there is a sort of a presumption of guilt for the operator.

    Prayers go out to all parties involved, of course. It’s hard to live with having caused the death of a child. It’s much harder to live having lost a child.

    Everyone who drives a car, please be careful. Be a people-loving person—assume that everyone around you is an idiot and waiting to throw themselves under your wheels. You’ll save someone this way.

  3. Bayareamom says:


    I completely understand what you’re saying. But from all indications in the write-up of this story, the driver WAS driving carefully and within the speed limit. He stated in one of the articles that I read that when he saw this little girl, he DID try to swerve around her, but it was just too late.

    Accidents DO happen. And that is precisely what this was – an accident. From all indications, it does not appear this gentleman will be cited. This was a horrible, horrible thing to have happened. Again, my condolences to all.

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