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Dec 13, 2017 11:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Man Pulled From Crashed, Smoking SUV In Eastport Monday Later Dies

Eastport crash scene on County Road 51 in Eastport on Monday, December 11, 2017. PETER KASSEBAUM
Dec 13, 2017 4:30 PM

A Babylon man who was pulled from an SUV by a Suffolk County deputy sheriff lieutenant and other Good Samaritans after crashing into a utility pole on County Road 51 in Eastport on Monday—just seconds before the vehicle was engulfed in flames—died at Stony Brook University Hospital on Tuesday, authorities said.

Matthew Hillebrand, 47, of Babylon was in a black 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe that veer ed off the roadway and crashed into a utility pole.

Lieutenant Salvatore Petrone was driving southbound on County Road 51 at about 2:51 p.m. on Monday when he came across the crash scene. Lt. Petrone noticed the cabin was quickly filling with smoke and Mr. Hillebrand was inside, unconscious. He was the driver and sole occupant.

According to the sheriff’s office, Lt. Petrone and some people who stopped to help worked to free Mr. Hillebrand’s legs, which were trapped, and pulled him to safety just before the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames.

East Moriches Community Ambulance responded to the accident, and Mr. Hillebrand was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital by a medevac helicopter. Also responding to the scene was the Eastport Fire Department, which extinguished the blaze.

According to Suffolk County Police, when Mr. Hillebrand arrived at the hospital, he was listed in critical condition, but he died later that evening at 6:46 p.m.

Police did not identify a cause of the accident and said the investigation is continuing.

Services for Mr. Hillebrand are under the care of Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons, a West Islip-based funeral home, and a funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Babylon.

Mr. Hillebrand crashed his vehicle into one of the new metal utility poles, ranging in height from 70 to 110 feet, installed along County Road 51 and Eastport Manor Road this year. The size of the poles, which were installed by PSEG Long Island, drew criticism from residents of Eastport who objected to the size and look of the poles, and who cited safety concerns.

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Unfortunately Mr. Hillebrand has passed away due to his injuries. Most heartfelt condolences to the family.
By 2329702 (26), East Quogue on Dec 12, 17 9:42 AM
Sad that he lost his life. With the old telephone poles he may have had a shot. These new poles, in addition to being an eyesore, give no one a chance if hit. Hard to believe we allowed these poles to be erected. Criminal.
By The Real World (351), southampton on Dec 12, 17 3:01 PM
2 members liked this comment
There's a reason guardrails have those collapsible ends. Hit one of these poles and your body just reverberates causing so much internal damage. Dangerous for sure.
By lirider (251), Hampton Bays on Dec 12, 17 10:11 PM
Intersection continues to claim lives.
By rburger (77), Remsenburg on Dec 13, 17 1:43 PM
Yes, these poles are dangerous. One jumped out in front of me the other day.
By deelove (131), Bridgehampton on Dec 16, 17 8:47 AM
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