Tragedy on L.I. road
Married couple, teen killed by stolen SUV fleeing cops
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.
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.