Following what police described as a road rage incident, Charles Harrison Streep, a 31-year-old former college athlete, put an 18-year-old Springs man in a chokehold, lifting him into the air by his throat, before throwing him down on the ground, according to court documents filed in East Hampton Town Justice Court.
David Sebastian Peralta-Mera, an East Hampton High School graduate, underwent emergency surgery after suffering severe head trauma in the alleged attack, which began when his Ford Mustang came a little too close for Streep’s liking to his Audi convertible, police say.
Police have video surveillance footage from multiple vantage points around the East Hampton Village Chase Bank parking lot, where the alleged attack occurred in broad day light on Monday. Detectives believe they have a solid narrative of the incident, based on multiple witnesses, as well.
According to the police narrative, Streep, who is Meryl Streep’s nephew, parked his 2012 dark blue Audi A5 with the top down in the parking lot behind the bank at 66 Main Street and went into the ATM vestibule. It was about 11:30 in the morning. He was “wearing a white collared shirt, cammo shorts, white shoes, a bandana on his neck, and sunglasses,” police said.
Apparently searching for his ATM card, police said, Streep walks back to his car then enters the bank itself, where he used the interior ATM machine on the western side of the building before returning to his car.
In the police account, Streep pulled the Audi out of the lot and turned onto the Circle, headed for the stop sign at Main Street. The Circle serves as the eastern access road to the Chase lot.
At this point, a westbound red Ford Mustang turned left off of Main Street and onto the Circle, “coming close to the Audi,” police said. Video shows the Mustang turning into the Chase lot according to the police. Instead of making the turn onto Main Street, Streep allegedly threw the Audi into reverse, backed up to the entrance to the lot, then turned in after the Mustang.
A witness, who is an EMT with the Amagansett Fire Department, told police he had just pulled into the lot and gotten out of his vehicle when he saw the two drivers arguing. They got out of their vehicles and confronted each other. The Amagansett EMT went back to his vehicle to radio a report of the altercation.
When the EMT returned, he saw both men throw a punch at each other, he told police. “The young guy got tagged in the face,” the EMT said, “and got a bloody nose. They both went down to the ground, and the older guy was on top of the younger guy.”
According to the police, Streep put Peralta-Mera, who turns 19 in October, into a chokehold, a potentially lethal way to restrain someone by holding an arm firmly around their neck, lifted him in the air, and threw him to the pavement.
A woman exiting the Blue and Cream boutique in front of which the incident occurred, screamed when she saw Peralta-Mera on the ground. His face was covered in blood, another witness said. Streep was standing over Peralta-Mera, shouting at him, they said.
The Amagansett EMT said the attack lasted between 30 and 40 seconds.
Streep then jumped into his convertible, “and peeled off,” going the wrong way down the one-way western entrance to the Chase lot from Main Street, a witness said. Village police were quickly on the scene.
The Amagansett man told detectives, when they interviewed him later that day, that he spoke with the victim immediately after the incident. “I went to Dave and asked him how he felt. He seemed dazed but had no visible injuries. He answered my questions but did not want an ambulance,” he said. The EMT left when the village police arrived.
An ambulance was not called to the scene. Peralta-Mera refused medical attention, according to police.
Despite appearing dazed, Peralta-Mera went home. His condition quickly began deteriorating and an ambulance was called to his house soon after. He was taken first to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, then was airlifted to the Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, which has a level-one trauma center, where he underwent emergency surgery. Police described his injury as a “severe head trauma.”
Detectives led an investigation, and after going through the ATM records, Streep became a person of interest, and then a prime suspect when the plates on the Audi were run.
At 8:29 in the morning on Thursday, August 27, detectives went to the Pondview Lane residence belonging to Streep’s parents, and he was placed under, and charged with second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation, both felonies. Both crimes are classified as violent felonies. Streep was arraigned late that morning in front of East Hampton Justice Steven Tekulsky. Streep was freed after putting up $5,000 to cover a $50,000 bond.
Streep, who is slightly under six feet tall, was described by police as having a “large” build. A college athlete, he was a star lacrosse player for the Bucknell Bisons, and was named MVP in 2011 for his play in the Patriot’s League championship tournament. He transferred to Virginia in 2013 and played for that school’s lacrosse team, as well.
He grew up in Old Greenwich and New Canaan, Connecticut, and attended the Loomis Chaffee prep school. His Audi has Connecticut plates. He has addresses on both Pondview Lane, as well as on Prince Street in Soho, Since leaving college, he has worked in the financial industry. Currently unemployed, Streep told Justice Tekulsky during his arraignment that he is in a grad program at Columbia University.
Peralta-Mera’s exact condition was not known as of Friday evening, however, a hospital spokesperson said he had been discharged.