Police Say 9-Year-Old Saw Whole Thing From Back SeatBy Mona Rivera

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBS New York) — A Long Island father was arrested and charged in a deadly hit and run, following a Super Bowl party.

And that’s not all.

Police said Victor Ventuzelo was driving drunk with a child in his car, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Police said his 9-year-old son saw it all from the back seat a 2000 Ford 350 — Ventuzelo, 32, allegedly running over two pedestrians — killing one — and fleeing the scene after a night of drinking.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera with Suffolk County cops who say the suspect was driving drunk after coming home from a Super Bowl party at a country club

“Mr. Ventuzelo was attending a Super Bowl party at the Holbrook Country Club,” Suffolk County Police Detective Sgt. William Rand said.

Police said that following the hit and run a drunk Ventuzelo drove to his Islip Terrace home, where family members and friends convinced him to return to the scene and surrender.

At the Holbrook Country Club, which is operated by the Town of Islip, employees didn’t want to talk about possible liability of over-serving a patron.

“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” one person said.

Laurance Grube, 40, of Mastic succumbed to his injuries. Warren Connolly, 44, of Central Islip is hospitalized. Police said they were walking along Lowell Avenue because sidewalks were snow covered.

“Because of the snow that is covering the shoulder, and the sidewalk, they were unfortunately forced to walk in the roadway,” Detective Sgt. Rand said.

“Yeah, I know who he is. Oh no,” one of the victim’s neighbors said.

“People shouldn’t drive drunk with kids in car,” another person said.

And just blocks from the hit and run pedestrians complained while walking to the Central Islip train station.

“I saw the body in the street … very, very bad,” a witness said.

“I have to walk on street here. It’s scary and cars skid,” another person said.

Police also said Ventuzelo has a prior arrest for driving while impaired in 2009.

He has been charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a passenger less than 16-years-old, leaving the scene of an accident and endangering the welfare of a child. Police say they do not know how much alcohol Ventuzelo consumed. Blood test results are pending.

The endangerment charge is a felony following the passing of Leandra’s Law in November 2009. The law was passed after Leandra Rosado, 11, was killed in a drunken driving accident after the minivan in which she was a passenger crashed on West Side Highway in Manhattan in October 2009.

If convicted he faces up to 13 years in prison.

Comments (62)
  1. 01608 says:

    From what I’m reading here is that is okay to hit one or more people drive off and come back later. Stupid… No matter what you stay put…

    1. L says:

      Exactly!! At least someone besides me gets that! Thanks, 01608.

  2. fov says:

    This was an accident. The driver wasn’t drunk, he did stop he did return to the seen on his own. He never ment to hurt anyone.

    1. L says:

      He did not stop He left the scene. Tell it like it is. And he did have alcohol in his system and was impaired,. This has been confirmed by the DA to the victim’s family, of which I am part of. But, alcohol or not, he DID leave the scene. And there are witnesses to this. Those are UNDISPUTED facts.

  3. shannone says:

    The Grube family is in my prayers. This tragic accident will never make sense. I understand the anger. I also understand that no one feels worse then Victor. He has to live with this for the rest of his life. The report on this story is bogus. Hit and run yes Mowed down by drunk driver with child in car complete BS. I have know the Ventozelos for 15 years and I stand by their side. The truth will come out and I’m putting money on the fact that a lot of these charges will have to be dropped based on real facts. One man has passed and another has been slanderd. Media hype… good job cbs

    1. L says:

      If Victor feels so bad, where’s the apology to us? Why did his familly ‘sic’ dogs on the reporters? How about they say something besides ‘if you don’t leave, i will let the dog lose’. My family member may have been walking on the side of the road because the sidewalk was not cleared, but he was struck and killed (and NONE OF THE FAMILY EVER SAID THE WORDS ‘MOWED DOWN’) but I do not care where Larry (who was a father of 4) was walking, whoever hit him should have STOPPED!!!!! Why does everyone miss that point????? You hit someone…you STOP ……I don’t care WHO IS IN THE CAR…….even if they jumped in front of you which Larry did not!! .. His 8 sibllings, his 4 children, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, his nieces & nephews (of which there are many), his great-nieces and great-nephews

      1. shannone says:

        It was the media that used those words and the media that was pounding on the door with cameras and mics. thats what the dog statement was all about. I don’t know why no one has said sorry maybe it has something to do with layered etc. I do know however that Victor is sorry. My comments are not directed at you or your family, i am sorry if i came across that way. honestly my anger and concern is directed at shotty reporting. Victor did stop by the way and this to was not reported. point made?

    2. L says:

      We will get by without your prayers, Shannone. We have our own prayers.

  4. KM says:

    Ok. So Victor’s BAC came back and he is cleared of alcohol having any involvement!! Let’s hope CBS does a follow up story of what really happened. A horrific accident!!! Victor is a very hard working husband and father!! He is adored by his wife, children, family, friends and NEIGHBORS!!! I just hope that he can recover what the media has stripped of him. His innocence and dignity!!! It’s horrible a situation for all involved, especially the victims family!!

    1. L says:

      Interesting since the DA called us yesterday and said that the test showed he was impaired. Although that is less than Intoxicated, it still indicates alcohol. What bothers me is so many people keep missing the point that HE LEFT THE SCENE with my family member dying on the side of the road. And if he wasn’t drinkng, why leave? And the coment about wanting to get his son home first doesn’t cut it for us because what kind of example does that set for a child?

      1. shannone says:

        Victor is a stand up guy and a loving involved father and I total understand why he dropped his son off and returned to the accident. You may not understand but it was no time to make examples! He’s a little boy and his dad was trying to protect him. To attack a good father just because you “think” you would have done different is petty. No one had to go looking for Victor he returned on his own. Walking in the street at 10:30 p proves to be dangerous. It was an accident and he wasnt drinking and driving.

      2. L says:

        I never attacked to QUOTE ” good father just because you “think” you would have done differently’. And you should talk to the cops and people at the scene….cause he did not “TURN HIMSELF”‘ in but instead was pointed out by witnesses….tell it like it is…..

  5. People Suck says:

    The problem is humans lack compassion. It’s sad but true. There were many things that didn’t happen which contributed to this tragady by both the guilty and innocent parties,”however” the fact remains alchohol is the most abused drug, and it is legal. We allow it and these are some consequences.

    I have been walking to work and school for several months, becase i cant afford car insurance. Eveery ady i hit the street my life seems in danger… are all these motor vehicle operators under the same inflence? Yes! It’s call illcompassion. We all need to express compasion for the victums as well as the gilty party, and if alchohol causes deaths …. get rid of it or make it illegal!

  6. shannone says:

    I hope cbs updates this story with some solid facts!

  7. JC says:

    Its amazing to see how many people pass judgement on these situations. Sounds like no one has ever made a mistake. The truth is, it WAS an ACCIDENT. But the media says things like “mowed down” and “killer”. This man did not leave a party intending to mow down and kill anyone. The fact is, no one knows how much he drank until the blood test results come in. No one knows how far in the street the deceased was walking. But you all pass judgement from your perfect mistake free lives. Someone said, “who takes their kid to a party?” The answer isssss, MOST PEOPLE!! Ever attended a family party where all are drinking. Crawl out of your perfect lives for a moment and imagine making a terrible mistake. This man is guilty of taking a life, yes. However, he is not a “killer”, and he is also many, many months from being convicted of anything. So for now, he is innocent.

    1. shannone says:

      Well said. No report of a field sobriety test no results on BAC! With out solid proof no one should have reported him drunk including the police. How he ” appeared” does not hold facts. fact is it was an accident! Nothing to prove it was a drunk driving accident. I pray for all the family’s involved.

      1. JC says:

        i pray for all too. Its just sad how the media needs to make this exiting with these sensational statements. Imagine the driver was relateed to a reporter..u can be sure it would be reported with less BS. I know the driver personally. He made a terrible mistake and will pay for it. I am in no way defending his actions. However, i feel he left the scene for his son’s sake. He should have called police immediately in an effort to save that man.
        It is laughable that the people who report him as a “killer” who “mowed down” the victims are saying he left the man for dead by leaving the scene. Does anyone think that the driver was going to save this mans life if he stopped??? I sure dont!! But, he could have called the authorities, and that mistake, he will have to live with personally and legally.
        He made a series of terrible mis-judgements. BUT, he is not guilty until the judge says so. All you sensationalist journalists should learn to bite your tongues. We all know if this was one of your friends or family, the reporting would be different. Shame on all of you.
        Victor is a good father, and a hard working man. He made mistakes that night. He will be paying for them for sure. However, lets not crucify him before he gets a fair trial.

  8. Budwieser says:

    All this because people can’t have fun without alcohol. One day people will realize that alcohol can cost you your job, your life, your kids, your wife or husband. Alcohol means death for yourself, and it consumes you. It doesn’t make you any better. And you might as well jump off a bridge if you think that “oH NOT everybody is the same I can handle alcohol, and its fun” No, someones life is gone, and a kid has to live through having no father for 16+ years, and a life gone because of that alcohol.

    1. JC says:

      Sooooooo, ur a recovering alcoholic. LOL

  9. T says:

    I know the driver personally. He is a regular person. He is a good father to three children. He has a job and isa hard worker. He is intelligent and takes good care of his family. Unfortunately this goes to show that anyones life can change drastically due to one stupid mistake. I know his heart is broken for what he has done both to the victims and to his own family. Life as they know it will never be the same and its no ones fault but his own. This will haunt him and that poor 9 year old for ever. If any of you met him you would immediately see he is a caring individual and undoubtedly absolutely devastated.

    1. L says:

      I know the victim since he is part of my family. In addition to praying for our family to remain strong during this tradegy, we are also are praying for the 9 year old, who witnessed something horrific and whose life will never be the same either.

      1. Mr Armenia says:

        The pedestrians should not have been jawalking.

      2. KM says:

        How about you pray for the victims and their families as well? A “stupid mistake” doesn’t even begin to describe this.

      3. L says:

        KM, I AM one of the victim’s famiily membera. We are absolutely devastated but we pray for this child, too, because we are a family with compassion and we feel compassion for the child. And you are correct that ‘stupid mistake’ does not even come close to describing what occurred. We thank GOD that the driver’s son was not killed. He will have to live with what he did to our family forever but we would not want for him to have to live with killing his child, too.

    2. T says:

      The stupid mistake was getting in the car while having had a few…he wasn’t drunk otherwise this would have been vehicular manslaughter. He wasn’t charged with that. Everyone knows someone that has done this or has done it themselves at least once in their life whether you admit it or not. Do you know how many people do this and get away with it every single day??? It is always a stupid mistake. Unfortunately this time and for this man the act of driving while impaired has greater consequences and a life was lost. Living with that and knowing your son saw the whole thing has to be the worst punishment.

      1. L says:

        You mentioned that ‘he wasn’t drunk’. But whether he was or not, he DID in fact leave the scene of the accident where he left my family member lying in the street dying. I am sure he is sorry and we even have compassion for him and his family but that fact is not in dispute.

  10. ladytee says:

    when my brother got killed on the Southern state 3 years ago, still today I am sadden because of the situation of a wrong way driver taken his life. Long Island has to change alot of the road signs but it not making me feel sad for this man who killed a person and hurt 2 others. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.

  11. Mr Armenia says:

    The victims should not hot have been walking in the streets. The police need to take jaywalking seriously.

    He should be in trouble for DWI however the pedestrians were walking in the street when they should not have been

    To answer Bridgets question some parents are responsible when going to Superbowl parties so do not say all parents are irresponsible for taking their children to superbowl parties.

    1. L says:

      The town of Islip, the Islip school district, and the homeowners should have cleared the walkway then. Because they were walking to the train station. Maybe if the DRIVER took a train instead of driving, no one would have been killed. They were walking on as much of the shoulder that was available to them.

  12. SNOW JOB says:

    The folks who did not shovel their sidewalks are also to blame. Let’s face it had the sidewalks been properly cleared these two gents would not have been walking in the street. I hold some liability to the folks who live on that street that were too lazy to do what is a LEGAL requirement. If they could not afford to shovel their sidewalks they should live in a condo or an apartment. If they can afford a house on LI they can afford a condo or apartment.

  13. NOT A SHEEP says:

    Blood TEST have NOT confirmed he was DRUNK..HELLO PEOPLE The media needs something to REPORT. He was not charged with manslaughter..SO HE WAS NOT DRUNK..blood alcohol court ordered tests come back in 6 hours..it is almost 24 hours..DA needs to try and make a case now.. People should stop being SHEEP and not listen to the MEDIA so much…It was a HORRIFIC accident…..

    1. shannone says:

      I agree!

      1. John-in-CT says:

        Now, there’s a good sheep.

    2. John-in-CT says:

      “SO HE WAS NOT DRUNK.” Uh, I think charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated with a passenger under 16 would sorta kinda maybe perhaps indicate the cops have good reason to expect the tests will indicate DUI, whether they come back in six hours or six days. He has at least one prior and he was driving home from having been at a Super Bowl party no doubt drinking for some time before, during, and after the game. The manslaughter charge will be added, now that his victim has died once the cause of death is firmly established. Is this guy a friend of yours or are you just trying to impress someone with your flawed concept of the law? Or maybe you drive drunk and think it’s no big deal. Baaaa!

      1. NOT A SHEEP says:

        No I just see things as they are. and NO I do not tolerate drinking while driving..just stating a fact. He was arraigned and released and STILL no VM charge. There is only speculation of DUI or DWI there has been no confirmed tests. and 6 days NEVER….6-7 hours for blood and according to SCPD crime scene officer if it takes longer it usually means it is clean. OR not enough to charge. I do not have to impress anyone I have an opinion just like you BUT I do not let the liberal media clout my mind. I think for myself.and I have READ a patrol guide..HAVE YOU?

    3. L says:

      It is true that the BAC results have not been released. But the fact does remain that he left the scene of the accident where my family member lay in the street dying. We pray for not only our family to remain strong but for the 9 year old, who witnessed this horrific accident.

  14. shannone says:

    This is a very sad story! Much anger is understandable however comments about a 9 year old drinking like father like son is almost as sad. This poor child may or may not have wittnessed a man die. This poor little boys life will never be the same and losers want to bash an innocent child. My prayers go out to the victems familys including Mr. Ventuzullos. We all know drinking and driving is bad. What about central islip forcing people to walk in the street? Maybe just maybe if these poor people had a side walk to walk on they might not have been hit. Shannone Rhea

  15. Rich says:

    Driving drunk and killing an innocent pedestrian, I say we build a concentration camp for people like him and let him suffer. This guy has no regard for others.

  16. David Brier says:

    I hope this guy get some serious time given for this tragedy. Look how many lives are impacted from this idiot’s poor lack of judgment.

  17. Gregg says:

    Complete sadness for both families. All because of booze. Why didn’t someone from the country club help him get home ?

  18. FRIEND OF ALL COPS says:


    1. JO says:


  19. $$money$$ says:

    Ooops ! there it is !

    1. David Brier says:

      Is that all you have to say you schmuck??

  20. Bridget says:

    This father was a complete idiot. Taking a kid to a super-bowl party where there is drinking is just plain irresponsible. I see this all the time. Parent go out to dinner with a family & friends, drink a few bottles of wine, then get into their cars with their kids thinking its okay. What are they teaching their kids? That its okay to drink and drive Its sickening. Someone said it right. We need stiffer penalties. This guy should rot in jail for the rest of his life.

  21. Valerie says:

    When you take a child to any party, you refrain from drinking. Period. That’s my policy. Now he’s ruined his family’s lives and also those of the victims. What a shame!

  22. Joshua says:

    His 9 y.o. son was probably drinking and partying too. Like father, like son.

    1. shannone says:

      Leave the child out of it. Use your head man . The child is just that a child ! Ya bully

    2. Ed- RI says:

      you have no class


    3. JC says:

      you should be ashamed. Totally uncalled for. This is not the place for bad jokes.

      1. JO says:


    4. JO says:


  23. BDAY55 says:

    he should have let the kid drive, silly long islanders

    1. John-in-CT says:

      You’re quite the comedian, aren’t you? Maybe you could go to the victim’s wake and tell a few jokes. I’m sure the family would appreciate it.

  24. 01608 says:

    Why would anyone go to a party with a child? I agree with you all, but I do feel for his son.

  25. T. Piscopo says:

    Arrest them all, go back to the bar or house!!! and take them all in!!! that is the law.the laws should be enforced, set an sxample!!!

  26. jagdish says:

    Where I come from, he is no less than a suicide bomber. He should get same punishment.

    1. JC says:


  27. hister says:

    He was coming from a party at Holbrook Country Club? Yeah, he looks like he would fit right in at a country club! Stupid stinking drunk!

    1. JO says:


  28. David says:

    People just don’t get it, keep getting behind the wheel when they’re drunk. Stiffer penalties should be enforced or else, tragedy like this will keep on happening. My heart & prayers go out to the victim’s family.

  29. Victor, your life is over says:

    Depraved indifference homicide – no lesser charge will do.

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