UPDATE: Driver In Fatal Crash Pleads Not Guilty To DWI, Held On $250,000 Bail


UPDATE: Monday, 2:45 p.m.

The driver who police say drunkenly hit and killed a 56-year-old Middle Island woman with his car Sunday morning pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor charge of DWI in Southampton Town Justice Court on Monday, according to a court spokeswoman.

Joseph Perez, 31, of Aquebogue was arraigned on one count of DWI along with one count of failing to maintain his lane, a violation, which he also pleaded not guilty to. He is being held in Suffolk County Jail in Riverside on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.

Police allege that Mr. Perez hit Donna Sartori with his pick-up truck at 4:24 a.m. Sunday as she was delivering newspapers on Main Street in Hampton Bays. He has not been formally charged in relation to Ms. Sartori’s death.

A grand jury will convene and examine the evidence in the case to determine if Mr. Perez will face any additional charges, according to District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office.


A 31-year-old Aquebogue man, who police said was driving drunk, struck and killed a woman on Main Street in Hampton Bays early Sunday morning while she was delivering newspapers, according to a press release sent out by Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa.

The woman, Donna Sartori, 56, of Middle Island, was standing by her parked car on Montauk Highway, west of Ponquogue Avenue, when Joseph Perez struck another parked car and then hit hers with his 2001 Ford pick-up truck at 4:24 a.m.

Southampton Town Police, the New York State Police Forensic ID and Collision Reconstruction Unit, and the Hampton Bays Fire Department responded to the scene.

Ms. Sartori was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. Perez was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries and later charged with DWI.

Det. Sgt. Costa said the investigation is ongoing and that anyone who may have information about the crash contact the Southampton Town Detectives at 702-2230 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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