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Mar 14, 2015 9:26 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Amagansett Man Dies In Single-Car Accident

Mar 17, 2015 5:24 PM

A 25-year-old Amagansett man was killed in a one-car accident early Saturday morning after his truck left the roadway and struck a utility pole.

The man, Erik D. Payne, was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident, police said, but died when his 2001 Ford pickup truck struck the pole.

East Hampton Town Police said that they received a call about the accident shortly after 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Police and Amagansett Fire Department crews responded to the scene but found Mr. Payne unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a Suffolk County medical examiner later that morning.

An investigation of the accident is ongoing, but police said this week that Mr. Payne was driving north on Windmill Lane in Amagansett when his truck apparently drifted onto the shoulder, where the tires hit snow piled alongside the roadway, causing the vehicle to jerk to the right and into the utility pole.

Captain Chris Anderson said that officers investigating the crash were looking at the possibility that Mr. Payne had fallen asleep at the wheel and drifted off the roadway on a gradual curve in the road. He said speed was not believed to have been a factor.

Mr. Payne grew up in Amagansett, graduated from East Hampton High School, worked at a local auto repair shop during the day, and was a bartender and played in a band at night.

Messages of grief and condolences filtered throughout the East Hampton community as word of Mr. Payne’s death spread.

“He was just one of the nicest guys you ever knew,” said a neighbor, Cathy Hansen. “If you ever needed anything he was there to do it. He was fun to be around. He was an amazing artist, both musically and he used to do these beautiful paintings on guitars. He was a hard worker doing his best to survive. This is so tragic.”

The messages plastered across the ether of Facebook were transcribed in chalk onto the chalkboard of Wolfie’s Tavern in Springs, where Mr. Payne worked a part-time second job tending bar at night.

“These kids have been coming in here in tears,” said his boss at Wolfie’s Tavern, Gino Bombace. “His friends came in and drew their messages to him on our blackboards—‘forever in our hearts.’ They are just kids, you know, and they were in tears. That’s really how people felt about him. It’s so upsetting.”

Mr. Bombace said that Mr. Payne had been working part-time at the tavern for a little more than six months but had not worked on the night of his death.

Mr. Payne graduated from East Hampton High School in 2007 and from the Baran Institute of Technology, where he studied auto body repair, in 2009.

He was also the lead singer of the locally popular band Casanova Frankenstein.

He is survived by his mother, Diane Lutzen-Payne; father Wesley Payne and wife Virginia; and sisters Christina Fuller, Erin Easter and Nicole Payne and their families.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Oak Grove Cemetery. The family asks that donations in Mr. Payne’s name be made to Elsa’s Ark.

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He was coming home from work, which even on the East End people do. He was one of the nicest people in the world and will be missed by so many.
By CathyHansen (2), on Mar 14, 15 1:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
He was coming home from a bar
By Photographer (4), southampton on Mar 14, 15 3:18 PM
What an awful comment to make! I am sure the family of this young man will be greatly comforted by your post you idiot! Prayers to the family at what I am sure is the worst time of their lives.
By vegas (6), sag harbor on Mar 14, 15 1:23 PM
Thank you Vegas! He will be missed. He was not only my neighbor, he was a good friend and to see people like cupsogue write such assumptions where family will see is despicable and lacks compassion for his family who lost him so young.
By CathyHansen (2), on Mar 14, 15 1:25 PM
2 members liked this comment
tragic accident and so young. Rest in peace.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Mar 14, 15 2:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
I was engaged in a conversation with this young man early in the morning after the band played that I went to see specifically. He was very upset about his girlfriend. I left after this and I am sad to see that he did not take one of the 3 cabs waiting outside, and that no one stopped him from driving himself. He was a very nice guy to talk to and I felt badly about his circumstances. This is really so sad .
By Photographer (4), southampton on Mar 14, 15 3:26 PM
Our community, that this news company reports on, has suffered terribly tragic deaths of way too many of our young people in this last year or two. It is very distressing to read some of the insesitive comments posted on 27East during these times. Our towns are made up of communities with much more class, respect and empathy I think. Lets show support instead of ill mannered comments masked with a screen name. Compassion comes to mind. Show your better side.
By Woods woman (145), East hampton on Mar 14, 15 8:50 PM
Cupsogue, you need some lessons in class and tact... As for DUI's, more people are killed now as a result of smartphone use while driving, so I hope you never do that... DUI's are a money maker for the State, Lawyers and rehab programs. The number of people who die as a result of a MVA involving alcohol is minimal when compared to heart disease which is also a choice. Think about it people choose whether or not exercise, smoke, drink or to follow healthy diets.
DUI's fatalities are down over ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Mar 15, 15 2:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have known the Payne family most of life. I went to school with Wes and absolutely love their entire family. The loss of Dianne and Wes's son Eric is so tragic... Nikki has lost her twin brother. His older sisters Erin and Christine have lost their baby brother . An uncle...nephew...grandson has been lost. .. an all around...REALLY NICE GUY..died unexpectantly. ... The community is mourning this horrible tragedy. please..be respectful what you post here.
By teachercares (5), Hampton Bays on Mar 15, 15 7:24 PM
Sincere condolences to the family. I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Erik.
By marybmary (54), east hampton on Mar 15, 15 8:39 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Photographer (4), southampton on Mar 15, 15 10:34 PM
people need to know the truth,. God Bless him and his family
By Photographer (4), southampton on Mar 15, 15 10:35 PM
You know Christian..aka photographer.. it's not your responsibility to be letting ghe community know the state you think Eric was in the night he died... let the family hear it from the toxology report. It really just sounds like trash coming from you... thanks...but nobody needs it right now.
By teachercares (5), Hampton Bays on Mar 16, 15 12:45 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Photographer (4), southampton on Mar 16, 15 7:02 PM
I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Payne family for their tragic loss. I too, know Wes, Diane, and the girls, and I am at a loss for words to comfort them. Any human life life lost is sad, but to have been taken at at a young age is far more devastating.

I am appauled to me to read the comments that show little or no respect towards the family of the person who died. Certainly your words do not harm Eric, he is gone, but to those who loved him and mourn his death, your ...more
By OutEast (3), East Hampton on Mar 16, 15 7:55 AM
well said!!!!!!!
By ConnieThomas (2), East Hampton, New York on Mar 16, 15 11:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
Having through something similar personally I can tell you the tragedy has just begun. When our son died it nearly destroyed his mother. It took almost ten years before she began to return to being the person she was. A mother should never have to bury a child. My heart and prayers go out to the family.
By bird (829), Southampton on Mar 16, 15 8:20 AM
Cupsogue you really need to re think saying someone was drinking, and driving when they are killed. You show no respect for the deceased, and no respect for their family. Your comment shows you are just a mad thoughtless individual.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 16, 15 1:10 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Mar 16, 15 1:50 PM
cup "I don't care" just shows your limits as a caring, supportive and understanding individual. Heartfelt sympathy to the Payne family and sorry there are prople like Cup on this board who show heartless at every trun.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Mar 16, 15 6:04 PM
dear cupsoque

please keep your ill appropriate comments to your newsday thread. you take info from here and pass it along there to press your agenda, like you actually have facts. instead you are spreading rumors.
you are afforded your own opinion but it is my opinion that you should only celebrate a persons life instead of piecemealing online post to come to your own conclusions.
By H2O (85), easthampton on Mar 16, 15 10:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
The more you respond to Cupsogue the more she "gets off". It's called "trolling". She's just looking to incite a response, a feeling that she can affect others emotions to perhaps to fill a void in her own life. The way she so casually talks about a life lost, a son, a brother, a friend...just proves it. Don't encourage her.
By lirider (288), Westhampton Beach on Mar 17, 15 6:23 AM
Funny that my post was taken down when I only commneted on the fact that I think it is in EXTEREMLY POOR TASTE, THAT THIS PAPER allows such mean spirted posts.. Once again so sorry for the family.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Mar 17, 15 9:09 AM
2 members liked this comment
Better to be quiet and thought of as an idiot, than open your mouth and confirm it.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 17, 15 10:57 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Mar 17, 15 2:14 PM
I really am wondering WHY you have allowed this to continue. This comment section should be taken down to show respect for the deceased as well as those grieving over the loss of someone so young, talented and loved by family, friends and community. Does it really matter "why"........he is gone and everyone is hurting.........
By ConnieThomas (2), East Hampton, New York on Mar 18, 15 6:37 AM
Go find a lawyer. I have never asked you for any of that information, but you have threatened me, stating you knew how to track my screen name to find where I lived, and insinuating you were capable of doing it because you were a Warrant Officer in the US Army.
Wit the "urs" and "u"s You're going to question the use of the word "ain't"? Rich.
FWIW, my life has been and is far more than I could have dreamed.
Now grow up, or go back to the other blog you post at a dozen times a day.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 11:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
You don't like nasty comments? Then why do you say such nasty things here and on the other blog?
Again, personal questions are in response to your "Stolen Valor" claims of being a Warrant Officer is the USArmy. You aren't, and that is fraud.
You HAVE threatened me and 27east took that comment down.
Most people I know only own one home and live in it here in the Hamptons. See you on snoozeday.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 19, 15 1:03 PM