Police: SUV Driver Was Using Cellphone During Fatal Crash On County Road 39


The woman who died after crashing her SUV head-on into a Hampton Jitney bus last month on County Road 39 in Southampton, resulting in a mammoth traffic jam, was using her cellphone at the time of the collision, according to Southampton Town Police.

Carissa Castillo, 29, of Shirley was using her cellphone for functions other than texting or calling at about 7 a.m. on July 25 while she was driving her Chevrolet Trailblazer eastbound on the highway. That is when she crossed the double yellow lines and slammed into the front of the westbound bus, Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa said on Friday.

Police needed Ms. Castillo’s cellphone service provider—which Sgt. Costa declined to name—to run her phone records before they could officially confirm cellphone use as a contributing factor in the fatal crash. This process took several weeks because the crash investigation is not a criminal matter, Sgt. Costa said in a previous interview.

The driver and bus attendant suffered minor injuries; the bus was not carrying passengers at the time of the accident.

The police investigation, which included talking to witnesses and examining video recorded by a forward facing camera on the front of Jitney bus, concluded that Ms. Castillo was driving aggressively on her way to work at the Hampton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton.

Sgt. Costa said while the mother of two was distracted by her cellphone, traffic in front of her slowed to a stop. After noticing this, Ms. Castillo swerved to the left to avoid rear-ending the car in front of her and drove into the path of the oncoming bus.

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