Underage Drinking May Have Caused Fatal S.I. Crash
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (CBS 2) — There were no skid marks on the corner of Arthur Kill and Annadale Roads on Staten Island Monday – but there was a memorial at the intersection, where a fatal accident Sunday left the community grieving the loss of two young men.
Daniel Peluso, 19, and Jeff Capretta, 20, were killed in the violent crash which four others survived.
Some reports peg the speed of the Nissan Altima that the men were riding in at up to 90 mph, and police and district attorney sources say alcohol may have been factored into the crash.
Bodies were strewn at the scene as some of the men were ejected, while one was pinned by the telephone pole the car smashed into. Police have confirmed that a third underage man, 20-year-old Rob Grossman was also involved int eh crash.
Law enforcement sources are looking into accounts that the underage men were illegally drinking at the Clubhouse Lounge, just minutes from the crash scene. A bartender denied that the group had been inside Saturday night.
“As far as I know, they were not,” the bartender said. “I have nothing else to say.”
But police have already confiscated the surveillance video recorded by a neighboring deli, as those cameras capture traffic at the bar’s front door.
“The only look they have is the car pulling away, which they assume…was the car,” said Hector Roman, who works at the deli. “They saw no passengers, nothing was very visible.”
Police have not yet been able to identify the driver of the vehicle, but they do have DNA evidence from inside the car, and blood samples from all four young men still recovering at Staten Island University Hospital.
Two victims are still unconscious in the intensive care unit, and law enforcement sources say out of the two who are speaking, one claims the other was the car’s driver – but that man said he has no memory of the accident.
Jeff Capretta pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in June. Families of both of the victims of the crash were too distraught to speak to cameras.
If the driver is among the survivors, he could face seven years or more in prison for the deaths.
Sentencing guidelines could jump to 15 years in prison if the driver’s blood alcohol level is found to be .18 or higher.