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Feb 7, 2017 5:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

One Killed In Accident On Hill Street In Southampton Village

Emergency vehicles respond to an accident on Hill Street in Southampton Village. DANA SHAW
Feb 8, 2017 1:26 PM

One person died and another remains hospitalized with serious injuries after a high-speed crash on the afternoon of February 1 in an unlikely place: Hill Street in Southampton Village, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

But witnesses estimated that a driver was going three times that speed—one said it was “like he was on a racetrack”—passing vehicles in the oncoming lane while heading west at 3:19 p.m. last Wednesday. His SUV slammed nearly head-on into another SUV with such force that the struck vehicle’s driver spun into a tree and was thrown 25 to 30 yards from the vehicle, coming to rest on a nearby lawn.

She survived with serious injuries, but her passenger, a young au pair from Germany who had just arrived in the United States, was pronounced dead on Monday from injuries suffered in the crash.

Southampton Village Police Detective Sergeant Herman Lamison said the speeding driver of the 2008 Lexus R35, Jacob A. Alegria, 27, of Southampton was injured as well, but he was discharged from the hospital on Friday.

According to Det. Sgt. Lamison, no charges have been filed, as police are waiting for a toxicology report and a full reconstruction of the accident. He would not yet say what charges might be filed.

Mr. Alegria’s attorney has suggested that a medical condition might have played a role in the incident, and at least one witness said the driver said after the crash that he had been “confused.”

Police said Mr. Alegria’s vehicle left the westbound lane of Hill Street and struck an eastbound 2015 Audi Q5 driven by Luisa “Lulu” S. Keszler, 26, of Southampton.

Police said her passenger, Charlotte Meyer, 20, was removed from the vehicle, and medical personnel—including a physician who stopped to render aid—stabilized her. Both Ms. Meyer and Ms. Keszler were airlifted directly to Stony Brook University Hospital. Mr. Alegria was transported to Southampton Hospital by Southampton Volunteer Ambulance, then subsequently sent to Stony Brook as well.

According to a spokeswoman for Stony Brook University Hospital, Ms. Keszler was originally listed in critical condition, but her condition had been upgraded to serious as of Monday.

The hospital confirmed on Tuesday that Ms. Meyer had died of her injuries on Monday night.

Ms. Meyer had arrived in the U.S. to work as an au pair for Ms. Keszler’s 9-month-old daughter just days before the accident. Corey Ziolkowski of Karratha in Western Australia, who knew Ms. Meyer, said in a Facebook chat on Monday that “Charly” was kind and funny. He had met her in Karratha after she moved there with Mr. Ziolkowski’s girlfriend from Germany, to work as an au pair.

Roughly 10 months ago, Mr. Ziolkowski said, Ms. Meyer moved back to Germany and saved up money for her trip to the United States. She left for the States on January 24 and told Facebook friends she would be in Southampton.

“My girlfriend is devastated,” Mr. Ziolkowski said by Facebook chat this week.

Emily Tyson of Hampton Bays, an eyewitness to the crash, described Mr. Alegria as driving “like he was on a racetrack.”

A teacher in the Sag Harbor School District, Ms. Tyson rarely takes Hill Street on her way home, but had been traveling westbound on that road after stopping at the UPS Store, just east of where the accident took place. Ms. Tyson said Mr. Alegria swerved into the oncoming lane to pass her just before the crash—nearly hitting a car headed east.

“The move itself made me question what the heck was going on,” she said on Thursday, the day after the crash. “He swerved back in front of me just in time to avoid that other car.”

Then he “floored it,” she said—so fast that the Lexus SUV quickly disappeared from view around the bend on Hill Street.

“It all happened so, so fast,” she said in a phone interview Thursday morning, her voice quivering. “But I saw him collide with the black car—because it happened right in front of me. I saw the person get ejected from the car.”

Kerri Cunningham Pace of East Quogue also witnessed the crash, and she confirmed the version of events provided by Ms. Tyson.

Ms. Pace, who is the production manager for the Press News Group, was driving behind Mr. Alegria. She said she watched him “speed up and pass” Ms. Tyson’s vehicle, moving into the oncoming lane to do so, and nearly hitting an eastbound vehicle in the process. She said he then sped away on Hill Street.

The next thing Ms. Pace saw was smoke from the crash scene ahead.

A lifeguard for 16 years, with basic first aid and CPR training, Ms. Tyson quickly ran to Ms. Keszler, who was lying on the grass near the accident scene, where she had been thrown. Ms. Tyson said she wanted to offer what help she could, but found her so badly injured that she simply stayed with her and told her help was coming. Ms. Keszler did appear to regain consciousness at one point and even tried to sit up, she said.

Ms. Pace stopped to help Ms. Tyson render aid and, spotting an infant’s car seat in the back of the struck vehicle, began to search for a baby in the wreckage. Ms. Pace said she was relieved to find that there was no child in the car.

Ms. Tyson said police were first to arrive, and that EMTs were on the scene within three minutes. Before then, Dr. Babak Maharlouei, an anesthesiologist in Southampton who happened to be passing by, stopped to help Ms. Meyer, who had been pulled out of the car by police. Calls to Dr. Maharlouei were not immediately returned this week.

Ms. Tyson said Mr. Alegria, had gotten out of his vehicle after the crash and walked over to where she was, near the woman lying in the front yard. She noticed that his knuckles were bloody but did not observe any other injuries. “They just looked like abrasions,” she said. “But he was walking, totally conscious.”

She also said, and Ms. Pace agreed, that Mr. Alegria did not appear to be intoxicated in any way. “He seemed scared,” Ms. Tyson said, adding that he was very emotional. “I think because he realized what he did.”

Ms. Tyson recalled talking with him: “I just looked up at him and said, ‘What were you thinking? You almost killed me—and you might have killed these people.’”

She said his reply was: “I don’t know. I was confused.”

Mr. Alegria never tried to leave the scene and appeared to cooperate with police, Ms. Tyson said.

“[Jacob Alegria] was already very upset and emotionally strained knowing that Lulu and her friend were hurt,” said Colin Astarita, the Southampton-based attorney representing Mr. Alegria, in a prepared statement on Tuesday. “At the time of the accident, he was unaware of who was in the car, but Jacob is actually a friend of Ms. Keszler—which only deepens how sorry he is that this happened.”

On Friday, Ms. Keszler’s father, Stephan Keszler, posted on Facebook that his daughter had spent the night at the intensive care unit and said that it was “good news” that she was in good hands. On Saturday he posted, “We are grateful … please continue to pray for Lulu, Charlotte and the many people in need.”

Multiple attempts to reach Mr. Keszler for comment about his daughter’s condition were not returned.

Many people who know Ms. Keszler, who works as a real estate broker for Douglas Elliman in Bridgehampton, have written messages of support on Facebook following the accident.

Paul Brennan, the executive manager of sales at Douglas Elliman in Bridgehampton, said on Thursday, February 2, that everyone there is concerned for Ms. Keszler’s health and well-being, and that they wish her a “speedy recovery.” He also said they are ready to offer support to her family in the days ahead.

“We are awaiting the results of accident reconstruction and the police investigation regarding the cause of the accident,” Mr. Astarita, Mr. Alegria’s attorney, said. “There has been some talk of Mr. Alegria’s physical condition and whether or not he suffers from vertigo or some type of seizures, but I cannot confirm anything until we have the results of a medical evaluation to determine whether there was a contributing factor to the accident.

“At this time, I know that Mr. Alegria wanted to convey how sorry he is and that he and his family’s thoughts and prayers are with the Keszler and Meyer families,” he added.

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Thoughts and prayers are with Lulu and her family. Hopefully they throw the book at the culprit and put him away for a long time. Sounds like he was either suicidal or high on drugs.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 2, 17 11:05 AM
Throw the book at him and put hit away for a long time for a traffic accident that resulted in no deaths?? You are right, someone is high on drugs.
How did you extrapolate your theory of the situation from what is known? Distraction is a far more likely conclusion than the suicidal stretch.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Feb 2, 17 11:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Distracted drivers don't head into oncoming traffic at speeds three times the posted limit (according to a witness) just to pass other vehicles...

Based on the events as reported I don't see how anyone can deny this was reckless driving.
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Feb 2, 17 11:56 AM
Ok deelove go tell the loved ones of the 2 women lying gravely injured in hospital beds that it was just an accident and at least they're not dead.
By PeteyBoy (8), Southampton on Feb 2, 17 10:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
Clearly the drivers fault, though I take issue with how the Village drops the speed limit to make driving "safer". I've had Village patrol cars drive 5-10 feet behind me on Hill Street trying, I believe, to induce some nervous infraction of the law to justify a stop. But that car was clearly doing well over 60MPH, though not as fast as those two guys from the Res a couple years back that nearly split the car in two just down the street. I remember the tributes, you'd have thought they were Eagle ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:15 AM
2 members liked this comment
2 people were seriously injured in this accident. Lets all wish the victims an families well rather than put our 2 cents in!

This comment above...gross! Passing judgment on tributes from a past accident where those involved lost their lives...just down right inappropriate.

Kindness Matters....Pass it on!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 3, 17 7:28 AM
Intuitively correct
By aladec1247 (3), SOuthampton on Feb 3, 17 1:07 PM
Apparently you did not read the article fully - a young woman DIED... and as far as noting this kind of behavior had occurred in the past and those involved were lauded despite their reckless actions - Funbeer is correct to note that those who act in that manner deserve neither praise nor respect.
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 15, 17 10:50 AM
This was not distracted driving. It is manslaughter by a criminal.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Feb 2, 17 1:54 PM
4 members liked this comment
Attempted homicide.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 3, 17 10:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Just reading the latest update.
So nearly 24 hours after the accident "Keystone" cop Lamison is still unable to correctly identify the person who they believe caused the accident. That is a level of incompetence that is utterly shocking.
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Feb 2, 17 2:25 PM
Well, you know, he a real estate mogul first and a cop second. He's got his own priorities in order.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:09 PM
Ugly comments about a great human being
By aladec1247 (3), SOuthampton on Feb 3, 17 1:09 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:09 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Feb 3, 17 1:09 PM
So true!!!
By Mate (55), Southampton on Feb 5, 17 12:32 PM
Relax, GlassHouses it was the driver's twin brother and the vehicle was registered to him, nonetheless.

Prayers for all of those injured. Absolutely terrible!
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Feb 2, 17 4:19 PM
3 members liked this comment
Last fall on Hill Street, I was passed on the right by a guy in a high end sports car, top down, blonde girlfriend in the passenger seat, going about 60 mph. This is the bicycle lane.
I felt like chasing him; but then what good does it do me to break the law? Or get into a road rage incident. It is often the case that while driving the speed limit people ride my ass, so I pull over and let them speed on their way. Perhaps the Village should set up speed monitor cameras that automatically tickets ...more
By aladec1247 (3), SOuthampton on Feb 2, 17 6:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
Don't blame the cops or the village. We are adults, and expected to obey the laws. If we don't then there are consequences for our actions. As far as Hermie goes he is very busy with other things.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 2, 17 7:58 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By PeteyBoy (8), Southampton on Feb 2, 17 9:07 PM
The driver who caused this accident used his vehicle as a weapon. That is manslaughter. One girl in critical condition with a new baby at home and the other, a 20 year old visiting from Germany now on life support. This was an act of violence and I hope the driver lives with this guilt for the rest of his life. It's just gross, selfish, dangerous behavior.
By Surf100 (2), Hampton bays on Feb 4, 17 9:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Guilt is not enough - Incarceration might be enough.
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 15, 17 10:53 AM
prayers to all involved. Was the young lady wearing a seat belt? Wondering how she was ejected.
By LI native (127), LI on Feb 6, 17 1:08 PM
Nice misleading headline to the link to this story. I hope the woman referenced in the link title survives but I also hope the Press learns to wait to publish headlines / articles until facts are confirmed. It's bad enough we have a president who markets "alternative" facts. Let's hope that local small town news organizations don't fall prey to "me first" sensationalism over getting the facts right.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Feb 7, 17 3:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
This Town might learn how to be more human, If you don't have prayers and concern for the families please don't bash people here. There is ENOUGH
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 7, 17 11:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Newsday is reporting on 2/7/17 that Stony Brook has stated the young girl passed away today. Sad for the families involved.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 4:24 PM
Very sad and condolences to Ms. Meyer's family and friends. RIP.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 5:19 PM
2 members liked this comment
Hill St is so wide, and the speed limit is 25 mph. Nearly impossible to be in a deadly accident unless someone is breaking the law.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 7, 17 6:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Witness statements seem to implicate reckless driving. Charges anytime??
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 8, 17 3:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wait, is this guy's lawyer serious? Whoever was driving this SUV knew exactly what he was doing. I'm sorry but I think everyone sees through "seizure disorder" bulls$&@ excuse. Bottom line he drove however he wanted without any concern for other human lives. And now he's back peddling. It's pretty obvious.
By Surf100 (2), Hampton bays on Feb 8, 17 7:09 PM
Agreed - and if he has impairment due to ill health or possibility of seizures - guess what - NO license for him!
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 15, 17 10:54 AM
Deepest condolences to Ms.Meyer's family and friends. What an unnecessary tragedy. Wishes to Ms. Keszler for a swift and full recovery. There's no doubt this horrible incident will be impossible to forget. I can't say what I think of the wreck- less driver, but I will say he should have no means of getting behind the wheel of any vehicle and no access to gun ownership.
By Beachcat (3), Hampton Bays on Feb 8, 17 7:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
WHY is this man not in JAIL ? Out on BAIL? Was he arraigned in Court? what is going on here ?
By carsrus (65), Hampton Bays on Feb 9, 17 11:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
My Wife and I just missed this Incident by Minutes. In case No One has Noticed the Carnage Our Highways is Out Of Control, More so in the last 5 yrs than ever. School Driver Ed Programs are a Joke.....Designed to get my Kid a Blue Card.
The Politicians Control the PD by Controlling The Budget. All of The Police Depts are Understaffed and Overworked and This Accredited Agency... Data Collection Nonsense Burdens them Even More, Simple Calls are Now Time Consuming. When there is Traffic Enforcement ...more
By Brady (15), Southampton on Feb 9, 17 10:50 PM
What on earth could be so urgent that you would drive into the incoming lane at 60mph? What is worth causing someone's death (or your own)? What, in that split second, was so important that someone risked his life and the lives of others? It's so frightening because anyone can do this at any time while you're on the roadway. Those poor victims.
By btdt (449), water mill on Feb 9, 17 11:33 PM
If only we could be certain that the truth of the matter would come to light.
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 15, 17 10:56 AM
Multiple witnesses were interviewed at the scene and reported that the driver was driving at least 40 miles over the area speed limit of 25 mph, swerving into the oncoming lane to pass cars, exhibiting signs of road rage and frustration with slow traffic. In this case, the fact that he was apparently sober is actually WORSE, as any mitigating factors of impaired judgement can not explain his behavior. In Southampton, it is always about who you know. The dead woman is from Europe and has no community ...more
By mcreste (6), Hampton Bays on Feb 20, 17 10:30 AM