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Aug 26, 2009 11:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays community mourns boy killed by accused drunk driver

Aug 26, 2009 11:47 AM

Approximately 200 mourners filled Saint Rosalie’s Roman Catholic Church in Hampton Bays last Thursday, August 20, to say goodbye to 15-year-old Joseph Marino, who was killed by an accused drunk driver while riding his bicycle near his home.

Some of those in attendance were family members, others were his former teachers, and many were fellow students at Hampton Bays High School, where Joseph would have entered the 11th grade next month.

“To us, Joseph was lovable and funny, he was a wise-cracker, he was sensitive, he was kind, he was polite,” said Father William Gill as he read aloud from a letter written by neighbors of the Marino family during last week’s funeral service.

Joseph was on his bicycle near the northeast corner of East Argonne Road and Ponquogue Avenue on the evening of August 12 when Southampton Town Police said he was struck by a 2001 Jeep driven by Caroline Goss, 34, of Mattituck. Police said Ms. Goss, who was driving with her 6-year-old son in the car, had a blood alcohol level of 0.13 percent, well above the legal limit. She was charged with DWI.

Joseph was transported by Suffolk County Police Department Medevac helicopter to Stony Brook University Medical Center. He was hospitalized for almost 24 hours before succumbing to his injuries on August 13.

The case against Ms. Goss is on hold while prosecutors consult with a grand jury to determine if more charges will be added.

Joseph’s parents, Dorothy and Phillip Marino, and his older brother, Anthony, sat in the front pew of the crowded church last Thursday while friends and community members sang and read from the gospel.

After receiving communion, a dozen or so mourners stopped by Joseph’s parents to hug them before returning to their seats. Ms. Marino tightly gripped her husband’s side as she exited the church following the hour-long service.

After his burial at Calverton National Cemetery, many of Joseph’s friends gathered at Hampton Bays Middle School on Ponquogue Avenue, where a celebration of his life was held.

Joseph’s friends delivered a slide-show commemorating his life during the service and Tom Pandolfo, the Hampton Bays class of 2009 salutatorian, played a rendition of Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” on the piano.

“Today we celebrate Joe’s life,” Ms. Marino said during the ceremony at the school. “As long as we remember him, he will never be gone.”

Joseph’s mother, who made the decision to donate his heart, lungs, kidneys and pancreas to those in need of organ transplants, said this week that she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community, and all the people Joseph had touched during his life.

“It affected an entire community,” she said of her son’s tragic death.

Joseph, who friends and family described as an athletic, fun-loving teenager, was preparing to try out for the Hampton Bays High School football team in the fall. He was heavily involved in the school’s music department and played the trumpet.

Ms. Marino said that a Joseph Marino Memorial Fund has been set up and donations can be made at the Suffolk County National Bank on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays. She said the Hampton Bays Mothers Association is considering lobbying for tougher helmet laws for people on bicycles. Joseph was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

At the ceremony held at the school, Ms. Marino said she hopes that other people will learn from her son’s death and think twice before getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

“If this experience can change one person’s decision in this room, we would be ecstatic,” she said.

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What a terrible tragedy. Joey will be missed. My heartfelt sympathies go out to Dorothy, Phil & Anthony.
By bb (907), Hampton Bays on Aug 27, 09 8:55 AM
Although I understand that, maybe kids should wear Helmets, but also understand that if this girl wasn't being extremely irresponsible and DRINKING AND DRIVING! Thsi wouldn't have happened and we wouldn't be writing about it right now! That's the bottom line here! If you are going to drink, give up your key's as soon as you go somewhere and take a drink! GIVEM UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!! Don't drink and drive!!!!!!!!!!
By cra1961 (3), Eastport on Aug 28, 09 9:41 AM
Josephene11968- It would have been proper if a hard object killed her 6 year old son in the back seat? What kind of person are you to make a comment like that. I'm completely disgusted. Would that have been fair to the 6 year old child?
By MD (22), Southampton on Aug 31, 09 2:57 PM
I agree with MD, what a horrible comment to make Josephene11968. I too, am disgusted.
By cush870 (31), east quogue on Sep 1, 09 9:16 AM