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Mar 15, 2012 3:32 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Police: Teen Was Behind Wheel Of SUV That Flipped In Westhampton

Mar 21, 2012 1:17 PM

A 16-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a black GMC Yukon that flipped at least twice before coming to a rest on its roof on Old Country Road in Westhampton on Thursday afternoon, according to Southampton Town Police.

Town Police Sergeant John Boden said Andrew J. Tufariello of East Moriches who, along with his four passengers, all suffered minor injuries during the one-car crash, was speeding just before losing control of the SUV. The vehicle came to a rest just a few feet shy of the railroad tracks and a nearby crossing. All five were wearing seat belts and had exited the SUV by the time emergency personnel arrived on the scene following the 2:30 p.m. accident.

Although authorities do not know how fast Mr. Tufariello was going at the time, “it was certainly fast enough to lose control and go off the road,” Sgt. Boden said on Friday. The speed limit on Old Country Road is 40 mph.

Mr. Tufariello was issued a summons for speeding, according to Sgt. Boden.

On Tuesday afternoon, Sergeant Susan Ralph of the Southampton Town Police Department said Mr. Tufariello possesses a junior driver’s license. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, those with junior licenses are only allowed to drive by themselves if they are going directly from home to work or college. The DMV also states that those with junior licenses are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger under the age of 21.

The four passengers in Mr. Tufariello’s vehicle were all between the ages of 15 and 16, according to Sgt. Boden. Police do not know where they were heading at the time of the accident. Sgt. Boden said some of the occupants might attend Westhampton Beach High School.

Westhampton Beach Fire Department Chief John “Chip” Bancroft, who responded to the accident, said all five occupants were treated at the scene by members of the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance, which sent two ambulances. Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance Chief Rita Wyatt said Friday that all five were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead with very minor injuries.

“They were very lucky,” she said.

Chief Bancroft said it appears that the driver lost control while heading west on Old Country Road, near Columbia Avenue. He added that, based on markings on the road and in nearby dirt, it appears that the SUV flipped twice.

A stretch of Old Country Road remained closed for about an hour following the accident. Drivers heading eastbound were redirected to Montauk Highway via Summit Boulevard.

Southampton Town and Westhampton Beach Village Police responded to the scene. The Westhampton Beach Fire Department responded with two trucks.

Frank S. Costanza and Erin McKinley contributed to this story.

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Well, the nose of the patrol car fenders, to the skidmarks are somewhat telltale. And, the ruts in the sand sort of line up as well. Kind of a slow spin, catch the rut and roll sort of thing.

Who was goofing off?
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Mar 15, 12 8:18 PM
Someone should take this story and turn it into a badass film called "The Ides of March" and have it star Bruce Willis.
By LordNippleFish (1), Westhampton Beach on Mar 15, 12 8:20 PM
People are always speeding on Old Country Rd. Teenager (male at that) 16 and full of himself, showing off for his buddies and totally indestructible is suddenly a professional NASCAR Truck racer with a high level of testosterone which results in a lead foot and them: BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE! and reality sets in that maybe you need more practice LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE, before you decide to take your professional driving skills public. Very Fortunate that no one was hurt or killed in this incident. ...more
By sayitaintsojoe (100), Westhampton on Mar 16, 12 12:21 PM
Wow, lucky. Kids count your blessings.
By WHBinManhattan (47), Manhattan/Westhampton on Mar 16, 12 12:47 PM
This isn't a lesson that needs to be learned the hard way. This wasn't their time, and they had better realize that second chances don't always come around. Thankful they are safe, and just scratched up walking around the high school today and not worse. Be safe.
By bchgrl83 (52), Westhampton Beach on Mar 16, 12 1:55 PM
A Junior License does not permit the driving to high school, only college or night school.
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on Mar 16, 12 2:04 PM
Correct: No 16 year old can have a class D (adult privileges) license. Junior License holders haven't been allowed to drive to and from high school in Suffolk County for at least 25 years. Junior License holders also are limited to a maximum of 1 passenger under age 21 unless a family member. See DMV Webstie: http://www.dmv.ny.gov/youngerdriver/grad-longisland.htm
By nypolcol (2), East Moriches on Mar 16, 12 2:15 PM
correct, nypol, however some high schools offer drivers education to their students before school and since drivers ed IS one of the places to which one can drive if possessing a junior license, the schools allow the students to drive to and from the school. (it's kind of a clever way of circumventing the rules for a junior license if your a teen, but very common)
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Mar 17, 12 6:02 PM
Yes, Junior Licensees may go to drivers deducation and some approved after school programs and college courses. But what about four 15 and 16 year old passengers???? NO 16 year old Junior Licensee is allowed to drive at any time with more than one passenger under the age of 21 who is not a member of his immediate family. I suggest you take a look at the DMV website and check the regional requirements for Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Also, ALL passengers must wear seatbelts regardless of age. http://www.dmv.ny.gov/youngerdriver/grad-longisland.htm
By nypolcol (2), East Moriches on Mar 17, 12 10:27 PM
Did the parents allow this kid to use the family vehicle while not being properly licensed? Can you spell LIABILITY??? Thank God no one was seriously hurt.
By bigfresh (4590), north sea on Mar 16, 12 3:01 PM
Seat belts work.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Mar 17, 12 2:34 PM
One of the kids was NOT wearing a seat belt, and he was the only one that was mildly hurt. This could be a law suit, BIG TIME!!!
By LI native (127), east moriches on Mar 17, 12 3:00 PM
I'm not sure I understand your statement. Did you mean the passenger who did not wear a seat belt should sue?
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Mar 29, 12 9:20 AM
A lot of 16 year olds are out there breaking the rules in terms of driving at 16. Often times parents are aware of it. Why isn't he being punished for breaking the law.
By whparent (7), Westhampton on Mar 22, 12 12:30 PM
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