Tragedy on L.I. road

Mar­ried cou­ple, teen killed by stolen SUV flee­ing cops

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY CATHERINA GIOINO, BARRY PAD­DOCK AND ESHA RAY With John An­nese

Two Long Is­land fam­i­lies strug­gled with tragedy Sun­day af­ter a teen flee­ing a traf­fic stop crashed his stolen SUV into another car, killing a cou­ple in their 70s and his own brother.

Jerome Wein­garten, 74, and his wife, Randee, 71, died at the scene af­ter the SUV slammed into their car, just blocks from their home in a gated com­mu­nity in Mid­dle Is­land, a Suf­folk County town about 65 miles east of Man­hat­tan.

“They were amaz­ing par­ents. We loved them. It’s tragic,” Stephanie Fur­rer, one of the cou­ple’s daugh­ters, told the Daily News as griev­ing fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered at her home.

“It’s just a shock to us right now.”

Said another daugh­ter in dis­be­lief: “It didn’t hap­pen.”

A pas­sen­ger in the stolen car, 19-year-old An­gelo Belford, was also killed.

“It hurts. We’re hurt,” a rel­a­tive of Belford said at the fam­ily’s home in Bell­port.

Nahriek Belford, 17, who was driv­ing the stolen SUV, ended up in Stony Brook Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal along with another of his pas­sen­gers, Jaquell Fun­der­burke, 16.

They were ex­pected to sur­vive their in­juries.

A rel­a­tive of the Belford brothers called the crash “a big mis­take.”

The may­hem that took the three lives un­folded about 11:45 p.m. on Satur­day, when Nahriek Belford, be­hind the wheel of the stolen gray 2015 Nis­san Rogue, blew through a stop sign on Main St. in Yaphank.

A pa­trolling Suf­folk County cop saw the SUV go through the stop sign, and gave chase.

“The of­fi­cer, who be­lieved the driver was un­der the in­flu­ence be­cause he failed to main­tain his lane of travel, at­tempted to pull over the ve­hi­cle. But the driver re­fused to stop,” Suf­folk County Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Geral­dine Hart told re­porters.

Five min­utes later, the chase had moved to Route 25 in Mid­dle Is­land.

The Wein­gartens — who were mar­ried for 50 years — were turn­ing left in their 2009 Honda CR-V onto Birch­wood Park Drive, the en­trance to their gated com­mu­nity, where they lived in a home that abuts a golf course.

They were re­turn­ing home from a din­ner with sev­eral other cou­ples, their son Ja­son told Newsday.

Nahriek Belford slammed the SUV into the Wein­gartens’ car.

Both ve­hi­cles were man­gled by the im­pact.

Suf­folk po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether cops acted prop­erly in pur­su­ing the SUV.

At a news con­fer­ence Sun­day, of­fi­cials said it was un­clear how fast Belford and the of­fi­cer who pur­sued him were driv­ing.

Po­lice say the run­away Nis­san was re­ported stolen from Mon­tauk High­way in East Patchogue on Thurs­day, and its plates switched.

Belford’s father told WABC-TV that if his son is guilty of any crime, “he’s gotta face the con­se­quences as a man.”

Belford was charged with reck­less en­dan­ger­ment.

Ad­di­tional charges are pend­ing, po­lice said.

The sus­pect’s mother grieved over the loss of her other son.

“What do you think, how would you feel about your son dy­ing?” Wy­te­ria Belford, the sus­pect’s mother, told The News.

“I NEED THEE OH I NEED THEE,” she posted on Face­book on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

CHRISTO­PHER SABELLA / ON SCENE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Af­ter­math of hor­rific Sun­day crash in Suf­folk County, in which Jerome (top inset) and Randee (bot­tom inset) Wein­garten, mar­ried for 50 years, were killed, in ad­di­tion to brother of stolen ve­hi­cle’s driver.

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