Driver in deadly Long Island crash free on bail

Accident scene on William Floyd Parkway on Long Island.

April 15, 2012 7:02:42 PM PDT
The driver of the SUV that crashed on Long Island, killing two teens, was freed on bail Sunday.

20 year old Thomas Smith was arrested for allegedly driving while impaired by prescription drugs.

He post $75,000 bail after being arraigned on a misdemeanor D-U-I charge.

That brought outrage from family members of the victims who attended Sunday's court proceeding.

"I can't believe he killed my son and he got bail," said Randi Baumgartner, the mother of Ryan Baumgartner.

The accident happened on the William Floyd Parkway near Research Road in Ridge around 1:00 a.m.

Suffolk County police say a 20-year-old driver and four teenagers were inside the vehicle, returning from a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure.

The crash was so intense that investigators said the vehicle ripped apart sending the seats and the occupants flying into the roadway.

Jacqueline Salvador, 19, and Baumgartner, 17, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Baumgardner's father fell to his knees when he learned his youngest son was gone.

Ryan Baumgartner was a graduating senior at Longwood High School, and wanted to be a dentist.

Authorities doubt the victims were wearing their selt belts.

"With all the damage to the vehicle, we couldn't tell if the seat belts broke because it was such a mess," said Suffolk County Police Sgt. Daniel Malloy.

"But chances are they were not, because they were thrown clear from the vehicle."

Baumgartner and Salvador were riding in a Honda Ridgeline when it ran off the road and hit a tree.

""The operator claimed that he fell asleep at the wheel," said Sgt. Malloy. "Speed definitely appears to be a factor because of the impact."

Five friends had left Six Flags around 8 o'clock.

Baumgartner even called his dad to tell him he was on the way home.

Along the way, they dropped off a friend before the accident happened.

Sgt. Malloy says the driver, Smith, admitted to taking prescription drugs before getting on the road.

"Once he got to the precinct here, he realized exactly what happened, he lost his girlfriend and his fried. So he's very emotional," said Malloy.

Salvador is Smith's girlfriend.

Her brother Johnny was sitting in the back middle seat. He has a broken leg and broken arm.

Smith and a 16 year old girl walked away from the accident unharmed.

"He doesn't consider himself lucky because he's so upset about hurting his friends," said Malloy.

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