A 20-year-old Hampton Bays man has been charged with assault and reckless driving after he hit another car head-on while speeding down Dune Road Friday evening, Southampton Town police said.
This was the first of two serious head-on crashes within a two-hour period Friday evening in the town police department’s jurisdiction.
Mark Criollo was behind the wheel of a 2020 Mercedes-Benz sedan, driving “at a high rate of speed,” when it struck a 2018 Mercedes-Benz sedan, driven by an 81-year-old woman, on Dune Road, near Road K, according to a press release from police. The department received several 911 calls about the crash at 7:33 p.m., as several witnesses remained at the scene.
Criollo’s Mercedes erupted in flames and bystanders dragged him out of the car, video from right after the crash shows. The other driver, Barbara Reich, a Boca Raton resident, was entrapped due to the damage. Her two passengers were able to get out.
The Hampton Bays Fire Department had two tasks, to extinguish the car fire and extricate Reich from her vehicle. “It was pretty manpower intensive at that point,” Chief Chris Hansen said Saturday. Firefighters snuffed out the flames in about 20 minutes.
Members of the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps treated Reich and Criollo, who had “very serious injuries,” according to police, at the scene. Both drivers were then transported to Ponquogue Beach, where two medevac helicopters were waiting to airlift them to Stony Brook University Hospital.
Reich’s passenger, her granddaughter, Rebecca Reich, 20, was also taken to the hospital for what she described as threatening injuries.
Criollo’s passenger, Jonathan Medina-Guanga, also 20, was not taken to the hospital, according to police.
Criollo was charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and reckless driving, a misdemeanor. He was released on an appearance ticket at the hospital.
Southampton detectives are conducting an investigation and New York State police assisted with accident reconstruction. Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision to call them at 631-702-2230.
Corrections: An earlier version of this story said that Barbara Reich’s passengers included Jonathan Medina-Guanga. Police issued a correction later that said Medina-Guanga had been in Mark Criollo’s car. Police also said Reich’s granddaughter, Rebecca Reich, was not taken to the hospital. She contacted IndyEastEnd.com and said she sustained life-threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital.