The 26-year-old journalist who was struck by a van being driven by an allegedly drunk driver in downtown Montauk remained in Stony Brook University Hospital Monday, nine days after the accident. Sofia Pitt, a producer with the CNBC network, spoke briefly with a reporter Saturday, saying that she considered herself “lucky” to have survived. She declined further comment.
The hospital’s media relations office has not been able to supply any updates on Pitt’s condition, despite several calls to the office.
The driver, Jose Romero-Flores, 33, of Woodhaven, allegedly drove off without stopping after striking Pitt who was crossing Montauk Highway, which was crowded with young revelers outside the Memory Motel on the south side of the road, and the Point Bar and Grill on the north side, at about 12:38 in the morning May 26.
Also in the crowd were fire marshals from the Town of East Hampton, as well as several officers patrolling the scene to control the crowd. With a description of the 2016 Ford van registered to a Manhattan gourmet food company, Todaro Brothers, police were able to track the vehicle down as it headed west on Montauk Highway. Romero-Flores told police he was unaware that he had hit anybody, though Pitt was reportedly struck hard enough as to be thrown through the air after impact.
Romero-Flores was initially charged with misdemeanor drunken driving. However, the district attorney’s office could bring more charges. District Attorney Tim Sini’s office would not comment Monday as to whether or not it has opened an investigation into the recent incident.
Montauk Fire Department Chief Vincent Franzone said this week that he was hoping to meet with East Hampton Town police Chief Michael Sarlo regarding traffic control on Montauk Highway in downtown Montauk to explore whether there was something that can be done “immediately” to decrease the chance of a repeat incident. The police already have a heavy presence in downtown Montauk, particularly between the hours of midnight and 4 AM, and also particularly between South Emery and South Embassy Streets, where the Memory Motel and the Point Bar and Grill are located.
The problem, the chief said, is that Montauk Highway is a state road, and any substantial changes will have to involve the state. Still, he is hoping to explore any doable option that would slow motorists down as the revelers crowd the streets, walking back and forth between the two bars.
Romero-Flores is currently free on $1,500 bail.