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Apr 8, 2009 11:52 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Attorney says hit-and-run driver fell asleep at the wheel

Apr 8, 2009 11:52 AM

The attorney for the East Hampton man involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Southampton on March 28 that killed an Amagansett woman says that his client fell asleep at the wheel.

Southampton Village attorney Colin Astarita said he hasn’t had a chance to speak with his client, Luis A. Bermeo, but according to Mr. Bermeo’s statement to police when he was arrested on March 29, he drifted into oncoming traffic when he fell asleep. After the crash, which killed his passenger, 46-year-old Delfina Orrego, he left the scene along County Road 39, dazed, and fell asleep in the woods, before waking up hours later and taking a taxi home, Mr. Astarita said.

Mr. Astarita said he has not had the chance to speak to his client because he was only retained by the Bermeo family the day after Mr. Bermeo was arraigned at Southampton Town Justice Court, on March 30, when he pleaded not guilty to charges of driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident involving death, injury, and serious injury.

Following the arraignment, Mr. Bermeo, 43, was hospitalized at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for internal and external injuries he suffered in the crash, Mr. Astarita said. Mr. Bermeo was released from the hospital this week and taken to Suffolk County Jail, where he is being held on $100,000 bail.

Mr. Astarita said that though his client admitted to leaving the scene of the accident, it may not be a crime if his injuries were consistent with head trauma that led to him not knowing what was happening.

Mr. Bermeo is from Ecuador and it is likely Immigration and Customs Enforcement will deport him to his native county whether convicted or acquitted, according to Mr. Astarita.

Southampton Town Police said Mr. Bermeo drove head-on into an oncoming van. The driver of the van and his two passengers were also injured in the crash, according to police.


rendan O’Reilly

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please heelp this men maybe need at new oportuniti
By mariposa (1), east hampton on Apr 8, 09 4:22 PM
im sure he fell asleep.....if only he knew the laws here
By OrignialLocal (34), Southampton on Apr 11, 09 1:58 PM
New opportunity? Thats funny
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Apr 11, 09 6:25 PM
fell asleep yea now thats a good defense ! did you learn that one watching American tv ?
By typical (63), southampton on Apr 12, 09 8:25 AM
Why waste tax payers money Deport him now. We will already have to pay
his medical bills from his hospial stay. Were supporting enough illegals. To
mariposa- Try some ESL classes.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Apr 13, 09 11:24 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Apr 13, 09 11:24 AM