Hamptons Police Blotter: Snow Exodus, McGumbus, Merry-Go-Roundabout

Roundabout Sign
The Mitchell’s Lane roundabout became a merry-go-round last week, Photos: smontgom65 and hxdyl/iStock/Thinkstock

Snowbirds Grounded
Chaos descended across the East End on Monday. As temperatures began to drop again, after briefly warming last week, residents decided they had finally “had enough.” It’s estimated that 95 percent of the East End population decided to leave the area en masse for points south. Montauk Highway and County Road 39 became hopelessly jammed as motorists, many dressed in light, colorful summer clothing in anticipation of some tropical destination, found themselves unable to make it beyond Shinnecock Hills before nightfall. Police sought to alleviate the traffic nightmare by diverting cars onto back roads, but the police force itself was understaffed, as many officers seemed to be trying to join in the exodus. East Hampton resident Marjorie Fitzhugh, clad in a two-piece bathing suit and wearing a sunhat, summed up the situation: “I thought by tonight I’d be sitting beside some pool, drinking a daiquiri and watching the sun go down—and here I am, still on Route 27 and I think I’ve got frostbite.”

In McGumbus We Trust?
A little known entity called the Shelter Island Board of Trustees was the source of some controversy in the last week. According to an insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the last time the Shelter Island Board of Trustees were up for election was in 1937, at which time Old Man McGumbus, the 104-year-old WWII veteran (who was 27 at the time), was voted in. Following the Hurricane of ’38, McGumbus declared a state of emergency and made himself “Trustee for Life,” but in the years since then, the very existence of the Trustees had been forgotten. Last week, however, it was discovered that McGumbus, in his role as Trustee for Life, had recently sold the air rights to all of Shelter Island to a North Korean military contractor—the discovery was made as an immense flotilla of construction cranes began arriving in Dering Harbor. Government officials issued an injunction against the North Koreans while they study the legality of McGumbus’s recent actions.

Rudulfo Guarmetto, age 47, tied up traffic on Scuttlehole Road for several hours on Wednesday when he drove his Alfa-Romeo into the traffic circle at Mitchell’s Lane and apparently became disoriented. He continued to drive around the rotary, steadily gaining speed, until it became impossible for other cars to enter safely. Police estimate that Guarmetto reached a top speed of 92 miles per hour before his sporty two-seater finally ran out of gas, at which time it began to gradually slow down. A blood test determined that Guarmetto had not consumed alcohol, although he remained unable to walk a straight line as of press time.

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