A Springs man, Samuel Spielberg, 31, was killed in a one-car crash late Friday night.
First responders reported finding his 2002 Toyota 4Runner in woods off Red Dirt Road in Amagansett, just west of Old Stone Highway. The S.U.V., which had overturned, was engulfed in flames, said to be reaching 20 feet in the air.
A call alerting East Hampton Town police to the crash was logged in at 11:27 p.m. The initial police report said the car had “failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway.”
After the Amagansett Fire Department extinguished the blaze, Mr. Spielberg’s body was found in the burnt-out vehicle. Police said he was its sole occupant. Police continued this week to interview witnesses who saw Mr. Spielberg shortly before his death, and are conducting a safety inspection of the car.
Mr. Spielberg, who worked alongside his father in the family business, Spielberg Nurseries in Amagansett, is survived by his parents, a sister, and his wife, Kariann Spielberg. He also leaves a 6-year-old daughter, Bianca Mar Spielberg. An obituary will appear in The East Hampton Star next week.
In an interview last week before the crash, Chief Edward Ecker pointed out that Old Stone Highway and its ancillary roads, unlike a number of other roads in the town that have the word “highway” in them, are main thoroughfares for traffic headed to Springs from Amagansett and Montauk. Speaking of Jeffrey Ahn, who was struck and killed by a taxicab as he walked along Old Stone Highway in June, the chief remarked that the roads in that neighborhood are narrow and winding, and have no shoulder.
Mr. Spielberg’s was the second road-related death this month in the Town of East Hampton. Kelly Anne Doroski, 23, of East Hampton died in a one-car crash on Route 114 on Feb. 7.
Last year, town police reported eight deaths on the roads, the most in at least 10 years, even as the number of reported accidents continued a 10-year trend of decline. Car accidents have fallen in 9 of the past 10 years, from 1,055 in 2003 to 870 in 2012, the fewest in recent memory and a decrease of almost 18 percent.
Between 2003 and 2005 there were a total of 17 road-related fatalities. There were six fatalities on the roads between 2006 and 2008, and none at all in 2009. The year 2010 saw four road deaths, with only one in 2011, before last year’s number spiked to eight.
Chief Ecker, in the department’s annual report, released earlier this month, put a heavy priority for the upcoming year on making the town’s roads safer.