Driver dies after vehicle hits tree in Westhampton


A 47-year-old man from Selden was killed after the vehicle he was driving left Montauk Highway and struck a tree in Westhampton last Thursday, January 15.

Southampton Town Police, who are still investigating the one-car accident, said this week that slippery road conditions, possibly caused by melting snow, might have contributed to the death of Francis DeMarco.

Mr. DeMarco was behind the wheel of a 2008 Jeep Wrangler at around 10 p.m. on January 15 when he lost control of the vehicle, went off Montauk Highway, and hit a tree just west of Station Road in Westhampton, according to Town Police.

“We’re not looking at ice, we’re looking at wet roads,” said Southampton Town Detective Sergeant Randy Hintze. “The driving conditions could be a contributing factor.”

Mr. DeMarco and Patricia Skapinski, a passenger in the car who suffered minor injuries in the accident, were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center by the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance. Mr. DeMarco was pronounced dead at the Riverhead hospital, according to police. Ms. Skapinski’s age and hometown were not immediately released by police.

Investigators explained that Mr. DeMarco was traveling east on Montauk Highway at the time of the accident. Det. Sgt. Hintze explained that the driver’s side of Mr. DeMarco’s car struck a tree after leaving the road. Police do not know where Mr. DeMarco was heading at the time of the accident.

His vehicle was impounded by police for a routine safety inspection. Southampton Town and Westhampton Beach Village police, as well as the Westhampton Beach Fire Department, responded to the scene.

Jessica DiNapoli

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