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Jun 18, 2014 9:16 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Six-Year-Old Girl Struck By Car And Killed In Water Mill

Jun 18, 2014 10:16 AM

A 6-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed on Blank Lane in Water Mill on Sunday, police said.

Tess Burstein—the daughter of Closer magazine editor Annabel Vered and Josef Burstein, who works for UBS Investment Bank, according to The New York Post—was crossing the street around 11:19 a.m. when a Toyota Prius, driven by Water Mill resident Maurice Wittenberg, 76, hit her, according to Southampton Town Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa.

The victim was taken to Southampton Hospital and then transported to Stony Brook University Hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries. A neighbor, who asked not to be named, told The Press that she had stopped to perform CPR on the little girl right after she was struck and before she was taken to the hospital.

Tess died at the hospital on Sunday afternoon, a Stony Brook spokesperson said.

Police are not pressing charges against Mr. Wittenberg. Ms. Costa said that further investigation determined no use of alcohol or other substances on behalf of the driver, whose Toyota had been impounded for a safety check.

When reached by phone this week, Mr. Wittenberg said he and his wife, Harriet, were returning to their home on Farmstead Lane, off Blank Lane, after shopping at the Bridgehampton Commons on Sunday morning, and his speed did not exceed 30 mph, the speed limit on Blank Lane. He said that as he was heading north on the street, a little girl darted in front of his car from the right side.

“I swerved,” Mr. Wittenberg said. “I tried to avoid her. But it was impossible. She was right there. It was too late for me to avoid hitting her.”

Mr. Wittenberg said he and his wife are devastated by the accident, and he added that it is something that will haunt them for a long time.

“It was an accident, but it shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “It’s a horrible thing.”

On Tuesday, stuffed animals and bouquets sat on the lawn in front of the Bursteins’ home. The Press reached out to the family for comment through a handwritten message left at the house, but was not contacted by anyone. Neighbors expressed their condolences and sympathies to the Bursteins, who also have a home in Manhattan.

Blank Lane resident Donna Gagliardo said she was coming home from church Sunday morning around 11:30 when she saw the road closed due to the accident. She said that although she was shocked, it was something that could have happened anywhere.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Ms. Gagliardo, who has been living on the street for 18 years, stressing that it was no one’s fault. “It was a horrific accident.”

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Thoughts and prayers for young girl and her family. Every parent's worst nightmare.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jun 15, 14 2:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
So sorry to hear she has passed away. Condolences to her family. It's heart wrenching when a child dies.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jun 15, 14 7:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Everyone be careful. Every summer i read of these horrible tragedies out here and I tell my wife we can't be too careful with our little ones.

My condolences to the family. G-D rest her soul.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Jun 16, 14 1:54 AM
Everyone be careful. Every summer i read of these horrible tragedies out here and I tell my wife we can't be too careful with our little ones.

My condolences to the family. G-D rest her soul.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Jun 16, 14 1:54 AM
GOD rest her soul!
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 14 8:16 PM
Why wasnt this child airlifted directly to Stonybrook Hospital from the scene?! The helicopter was in the air and on its way when it was cancelled by someone at the scene. Someone really screwed up here
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 16, 14 6:22 AM
As noted below by another reader, the child was not stable enough to be airlifted by helicopter. I assume you are not a trained EMT or paramedic or have any first hand knowledge of medical transports, so please do not make assumptions of what should have happened. We have some of the finest first responders in this area - they did everything in their power to save this child and made all of the right calls yesterday. This family as well as the driver who was obeying the speed limit are in my thoughts ...more
By aschor06 (9), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 14 6:17 PM
4 members liked this comment
There you go again with idiotic rants about our local emergency services-something you know nothing about. Learn county EMS protocol and then comment.



My deepest condolence to the family. I couldn't even imagine the pain.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jun 17, 14 1:18 PM
The young girl may not have been stable enough to fly directly.
By Sour09 (18), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 14 4:17 PM
Better question .........Why is Southampton Hospital such a DUMP ?????? WHY ?????????!?!?!?! Why is there no trauma center at Southampton hospital ?!?!?!??????? What happens to all the money raised from all the fancy parties/ benefits for Southampton hospital ? I'm sorry to rant like this and my prayers go to the family of this little girl. I just can't help but wonder what could have been done differently had the hospital been better equipped ,trained etc ......
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 16, 14 7:06 AM
2 members liked this comment
Condolences to the families for their losses, and for having to endure impatient rants . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 16, 14 8:53 AM
2 members liked this comment
According to Suffolk County EMS protocols, if a patient is in cardiac arrest or has an unstable airway they cannot be safely transported by helicopter. A helicopter was dispatched for this call, so one would assume that the child was transported by ambulance to Southampton because she was unfortunately not in a condition to survive an air transport.
By chocohaulic (2), Southampton on Jun 16, 14 10:34 AM
2 members liked this comment
CaptainSig---I do not know the details on this horrible story, but many times patients are first sent to Southampton Hospital to be stabilized and then transported. My prayers go out to this little girl's family and loved ones. My thoughts are also with Mr. Wittenburg who must be suffering a great deal also.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 14 7:57 AM
My condolences to Tess's family. This tragedy is shocking to all of us in the community.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 16, 14 8:45 AM
I heard helicopters and then I heard from someone who passed the scene who told me of the condition of the car. When I heard she was taken to Southampton and not airlifted, I assumed she was probably too gravely injured for helicopter transport. Very sad for everyone involved. I always drive slowly on Blank because of deer mostly, that shoot out in front of the car. Also there are walkers, runners, and kids on bikes in the daytime. At night, there are dog walkers with barely visible flashlights. ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Jun 16, 14 11:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am not familiar with EMS policies however it seems odd that a patient , especially a child, would be better off traveling by road to southampton hosp and then to stonybrook when they could have been in stoneybrooks trauma center within ten minutes. Maybe protocals need to be re-evaluated. Could the child have been transported directly to stonybrook? I am not a medical professional but I thought critical patients are transported to trauma centers.

I have children and I cannot imagine ...more
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 16, 14 7:08 PM
Perhaps we should know more of the facts before making lay judgments? The trained EMTs apparently felt it was NOT in the child's best interest to go by Medevac. Just like when a ship needs one captain at a time of crisis?

Ditto to comments above about the quality of our emergency responders on the East End.

Condolences to both families . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 16, 14 7:56 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 17, 14 10:38 AM
You are not a medical professional. If you speak to a medical professional, they will tell you that critical patients must first be stablized before transport, otherwise they run the risk of loosing the patient in transit. The tragedy is that six year old child was hit by 3,000 pound moving object. EMS Protocols do not need to be reviewed, EMS protocols did not cause this tragedy. Hug your children, and remind them to look twice before crossing the street. That will help prevent another tragedy ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 17, 14 10:39 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 17, 14 8:43 PM
You are correct on one point. "I am not familiar with EMS policies" The end. If you're not familiar, shut the front door. You have nothing to add if you know nothing.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 22, 14 11:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Medivac can take over twenty minutes at times. Taking the child for immediate care was ultimately the best plan of action. While emergency personnel are fully capable of stabilizing a patient, in no way can they perform the critical care which only an ER can provide.

Granted SH has no trauma team, but they had the potential to do far more than emergency volunteers who are doing their best while waiting for a Medivac.

How sad this is especially on a Fathers Day weekend. God ...more
By Harbor Master (114), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 14 9:19 PM
2 members liked this comment
Ugh heart breaking. Going to hug my kids a little longer tonight. Thoughts go out to the Burstein family. Can't even imagine what they are going through. Rest in peace, little one.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Jun 16, 14 9:23 PM
a new york paper said that there was another vehicle going south that the girl waited for and possibly didn't see the car going north. a tragic accident. prayers are to both families, the bursteins and the the Wittenbergs who have both seen respective lives changed in one second.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 17, 14 7:32 PM
It takes a special kind of ego to hack away at the first responders and each other under a story of such heart ache as this.
By Phil McCracken (10), Southampton on Jun 18, 14 6:19 AM
The updated Print article has been posted. [blue link at top]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 18, 14 12:26 PM
It doesn't mention where the parents were at the time of the accident, would be interesting to know.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jun 22, 14 10:51 PM