Two Fatalities On Roads

Police seek help in Water Mill hit and run
Suzanne Lavenas was killed in a two-car collision in Montauk on Tuesday. T.E. McMorrow

    A Catholic nun, visiting from Syosset, and a year-round Montauk woman were killed in unrelated accidents on local roads in the last eight days. Sister Jacqueline Walsh was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Rose Hill Road in Water Mill on Monday at 8:30 p.m. The Montauk woman, Suzanne Lavenas, was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital on July 4 after a head-on collision on Montauk Highway between the Montauk Library and West Lake Drive. A passenger in her car was severely injured.
    Southampton Town police have asked for help locating a man they describe as a “white, Hispanic” person of interest in the hit and run. Anyone who might have information has been asked to call 631-702-2230. “We are dedicating significant resources to apprehend the person who caused the sister’s death,” William Wilson, the department’s chief, said. “We appeal to the subject to turn himself in,” he said.
    In a report, police describe the man as about 5 feet 7, in his 20s to 30s, with short, spiked hair. He was said to be wearing dark shorts and a white shirt at the time of the accident. Police were alerted to the accident by a caller saying a woman was lying on the pavement near 383 Rose Hill Road. An abandoned 2009 Volkswagen Touareg with front-end damage was found within a half mile of the scene, police said, and may be the vehicle involved.
    Sister Jacqueline, who was 59, was reported to have been on a retreat with other members of the Sisters of Mercy.
    Ms. Lavenas, who was 69, had been traveling with Frances Berg of Montauk, who is 88, at about 10 p.m. on July 4 when the two-vehicle crash occurred. A memorial service is to be held at the Montauk Community Church at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. An obituary appears separately.
    Driving a 2007 Toyota sedan, police said, Ms. Lavenas began making a left turn onto South Fox Street, crossing the path of a 2012 Ford pickup being driven west by Thomas Gubitosi. The front end of the Toyota was pushed in, and a call went out for three ambulances. Mrs. Berg was taken to Southampton Hospital suffering chest injuries including five broken ribs.
    “I just got the word that she is much better,” her son, Phil Berg, said yesterday. Twenty-four hours earlier, he said, “I was really concerned. I tried to get her to drink some orange juice. She wouldn’t take a sip. Today, she gulped the whole thing down. She’s feisty as hell.” He reported that she was expected to be released from the hospital within a day or two and to go to a rehabilitation center UpIsland.    
    Mr. Gubitosi was taken to Southampton Hospital by an Amagansett Fire Department ambulance. Police said he was treated and released.
    East Hampton Town Police Chief Edward Ecker went to the scene in Montauk when he learned of the likelihood of a fatality. He said he was brought up to speed by the head of the Montauk precinct, Lt. Christopher Hatch.