Police Continue to Investigate 'Tragic' Fatal Accident

Police chief says driver was on his way to pick up a fare when he hit and killed Jeffrey Ahn, 17.

The is continuing to investigate how a , 17, who was walking on the side of the road in Amagansett before being hit on Saturday afternoon, so far it seems his death was just a tragic accident.

Police Chief Ed Ecker said Ladislav Smigura was headed north on Old Stone Highway to pick up a fare in a van when his side-view mirror clipped Ahn's girlfriend, Penelope Farris, first. Ahn — who Ecker said was in front of Farris in a group of four — was then struck. 

Ecker said the group was walking single file down the road — which has no shoulder and is a curved road. 

The couple were also traveling north on Old Stone Highway, on their way to Ahn's family home on Arbor Path with two other friends, twin brothers John and Christopher Walla. They had all just arrived in Amagansett on a train from New York City. Ahn and his friends attended school in New York City.

Farris was taken to Southampton Hospital, where she was treated and released with a bruised shoulder. 

No charges have been filed against the driver. "It seems this was a tragic accident," he said. 

Smigura, 25, had been driving for Lindy's for several years and had a valid license, Ecker said. Police do not believe he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Smigura had a hands-free device in the van, he said.

Ecker would not speculate the speed the van was traveling at the time of the crash. 

Police will continue to investigate all possible causes. The van was impounded for a safety check. The van, which can be seen in the attached picture, sustained little damage, except to a passenger-side headlight.

Meanwhile, the Trinity School in New York City posted a message on its Facebook page morning the loss of Jeffrey, who was going to start his senior year there in September.

"His compassion, enthusiasm, kindness, and passion for life were daily reminders of all that we value and strive for in this community," it read. "Please keep the Ahn family in your thoughts, meditations, and prayers."

Trinity Upper School principal Jessica Bagby spoke highly of Jeffrey, who she said had a wide range of passions, including acting, painting, science and student government. "From his clever, wry wit and artistic soul to his discerning intelligence, he distinguished himself," Bagby said. "Jeffrey was broadly curious and accomplished, a Renaissance man in the making," she said. "His promise was profound. He was also a devoted, loyal, and generous friend."

Head of School John Allman said the school community was devastated to learn of the news. "In so many ways, Jeffrey exemplified the spirit, dedication, kindness, as well as strength of character and intellect that we at Trinity seek to inspire in all of our students. He was not only a strong student, but also a selfless leader, a talented artist, and an exceptionally caring and generous young man," Allman said.

Calls to the office of Jeffrey's father, Dr. Jeffrey Ahn, were not returned. 

Managers at Lindy's Taxi also did not return a call for comment and Smigura could not be contacted. 

Walter Noller June 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM
The sad part is Old Stone Hwy. as well as (sections of) Sp.Fp.Rd, 3MH Rd to name but a few, are the major arteries in and out of heavily populated areas. The only relatively safe more of travel on any of them is in a vehicle, with no regard for any other transportation, be it foot or bike. The lack of shoulder or sidewalk make them down right dangerous and one can only wonder how many more accidents need to occur before town realizes something needs to be done to ensure the safety of those who use these thoroughfares. Zero room for error can no longer be the accepted rule no matter how quaint it may be to have these roads stay as they are. The fact is, it is the responsibility of the town to ensure safe passage on any public road.
carla gagliotti June 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Spring Close hwy needs a sidewalk. It is very dangerous and there is numerous people who walk in the road because it takes so long for the town to cut the long tick infested grass. I agree with Walter when he says that it is the responsibility of the town to ensure safe passage on any public road.
Nanci e. LaGarenne June 26, 2012 at 12:40 PM
agreed!!! Well said. And how about slowing down too? Getting off people's bumpers, for instance. Where the hell is the hurry? They will wait, whomever you are in such a hurry to see. Probably glad you're not home wuth your rage. The lack of driving know-how, the clueless about our roads divers, the in courteous morons in cars, is epidemic out here. And where are the traffic officers at crucial sites: Round Swamp Farm on Three Mile Harbor all weekend, Whole Foods in Wainscott, I mean really, you cannot ignore this. Go ticket the speeders on Springs Indiana raceway, East Lake Drive Speedway. Old Stone too. Ridiculous. And Abrahams Path. Slow down. And put in footpaths for the citizens. Bike parhs. Get out of the dark ages! Spend money where it is needed. It is the Town's responsibility to protect its people. Do something!
Nanci e. LaGarenne June 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM
with your rage. excuse me. Discourteous morons, I meant. bike path. Sorry. Must slow down on the page! :)
Jimmy June 26, 2012 at 01:13 PM
When did we stop teaching our children to walk on the left side of the road, against the flow of traffic, so they can see the cars coming? This accident could have been avoided if the pedestrians were walking on the left side of the road.
Peter Sephton June 26, 2012 at 01:25 PM
As keen cyclists, my wife and I know we risk our lives each time we venture out on EH roads. Such a beautiful part of the world, yet so little consideration for pedestrians or bicyclists. Speed limits totally ignored, no enforcement, every pickup driver in a tearing hurry, no shoulders for safety. The Northern Beltway - Stephen Hands, Cedar Street - is deadly with no shoulder and excessive speed. There will be more tragic accidents like this distressing event unless we adopt a different approach. Identify priority roads AND MAKE THEM SAFER. Please! Peter Sephton
tm June 26, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I seem to remember being taught to walk/bike with traffic. which is right?
Blue Heron June 26, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I agree with Jimmy. I spent 20 years living at almost the exact spot where the accident occurred, and now live about a half-mile north. Although it is a very dangerous spot and drivers need to slow down, the problem is exacerbated by bikers and rollerbladers in the middle of the road, sometimes with earbuds in, walkers walking WITH traffic, and sometimes all three -- while also having to concentrate on a truck right up your backside. In the last week, I've had two near-misses, right at the intersection of Old Stone Highway and Town Lane. I don't know what the answer is, but I hope that there is a solution before more lives are destroyed.
Blue Heron June 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
TM - It's bike with traffic, walk against it. :-)
David Buda June 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
The basic safety rule is "Walk Facing Traffic." If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic. In North America, this is the left side of the road. This gives you the best chance to see traffic approaching closest to you and take evasive action when needed.
Peter Sephton June 26, 2012 at 01:58 PM
It has been well researched that a speed of 30mph is less likely to cause a fatality. Unfortunately many drivers ignore these limits with no thought for the cyclist or pedestrian.The motor vehicle has become the ugly face of life out here and there does need to be more balance between the needs of a community and it's safety. Let us hope that a fitting memorial to this tragedy will be more thoughtful planning and safety measures on our roads. Christine Sephton
Gail Simons June 26, 2012 at 03:12 PM
This was one of the biggest things I wanted to advocate for when we started our Gin Beach meetings 2 years ago. Bike paths = more people willing to commute via bike. That means less emissions = greener community. It's a no-brainer. Build the paths, encourage people to use them. There couldn't possibly be a better use of tax dollars to the citizens AND the environment!!! BIKE PATHS, BIKE PATHS, BIKE PATHS - EVERYWHERE!!!!!
Gail Simons June 26, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Maybe we can start some sort of an advocacy group to get these paths in place? I would join! You can't bike/walk out of Springs in safety - which discourages people to be GREEN. Springs is a particularly bad hamlet (I grew up here) for biking and it's a pure sin that the Town hasn't addressed this....
Steve June 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM
So sad and just another example of poor town management. You can't go near the Village without a cop or an active sign slowing you down - and it works. In EH Town, the speed limits are a joke. You'd think they would set up speed traps at least for the revenue - the beach parking lots are swarming with the police summer interns, but not the roads.
Renee June 26, 2012 at 05:29 PM
People need to just slow down, especially on that curvey road. Very sad to hear about that young man. I used to drive cab and when your given a call they expect you to be there at a certain time limit. So I feel speed was a factor in this accident and people just need to slow down in general roads like that and driving a big van like that something is bound to happen. Follow the speed limit you will get to where your going when you get there.
Blue Heron June 26, 2012 at 05:37 PM
My two cents again, and a little off-topic -- I used to be a bit of a speed demon until I got a GPS a few years back, which always tells you your expected arrival time after inputting an address. Even driving 10 miles above the speed limit on the highway, on a trip to the city, reduces maybe four or five minutes from your total time. How much time do you think it cuts off when you drive five miles over the speed limit from Amagansett to Springs? One minute? 30 seconds? Not worth the risk. I happily go the speed limit now and just as happily flip off any tailgaters that dare to ride on my back.
Four Jacks June 26, 2012 at 06:09 PM
What was the time of day? Was it dark?
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 06:19 PM
It was just before 1 p.m.
scott pitches June 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM
As i drove along old stone this afternoon I could not help but imagine the scenario of this tragic event. Approaching a blind turn I checked my speed , 33-35mph. I pictured myself having to avoid someone at this speed, absolutely no problem. i could easily swerve safely and almost stop on a dime. Next turn, down hill. 35+, again slightly over the speed limit, yet could not imagine not being able to avoid someone and brake in time, even on the blind turn. This Lindy's driver must have been flying and completely distracted. He should be held accountable for his recklessness and stupidity. It wasn't completely the roads fault. If there was a sidewalk, he probably would have been up on it. And walk facing traffic!
Ellen Cooper June 27, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I drove past these kids on my way home from the golf course last weekend. They were all walking against traffic, ie walking North on the left side of the road and off the roadway along side of the golf course. At some point, for some reason did they cross the road and walk with the traffic? I really feel so sad that I passed them and actually thought about offering them all a ride but, no I didn't and had I done so, maybe things would have been very different.


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