UPDATE: Hamptons Developer Saunders Killed in Crash; Other Driver, Son of Top LI Developer Rechler, Cited

Benjamin Rechler, 19, crossed into Saunders' lane while adjusting surfboard, police say.

Police on Friday confirmed that Gregg Saunders, the , was the man killed in the on Thursday.

Saunders, a part-time Sagaponack resident, was 55 years old.

said the Benjamin Rechler, 19, of Brookville, was reaching into the back seat to adjust a surfboard that had become loose inside his Audi station wagon, when he crossed into the oncoming eastbound lane striking Saunders' Prius.

Rechler has been charged with crossing the pavement markings and failure to keep right, Chief Jerry Larsen said on Friday. "There was no drugs, no texting," he said, adding that no further charges are expected.

Rechler is the son of Mitchell Rechler, a managing partner of Rechler Equity Partners, one of Long Island's top development firms, a spokesman confirmed on Friday. Mitchell Rechler, along with his cousin Gregg Rechler, are well-known on the East End for high profile projects such as the restoration of and a business and technology park . The Rechlers also are responsible for building the Hauppauge Industrial Park and have developed many of the high-powered office buildings that line the Melville and Farmingdale hub along Route 110.

"Our family is heartbroken by this horrific tragedy.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Saunders family," Mitchell Rechler said in a statement released on Friday.

Rechler was treated and released from on Thursday. A 17-year-old passenger from Brookville was also treated and released.

Saunders was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital, where the Amagansett Fire Department ambulance had transported him.

A third vehicle driven by Robert Pyrt, 46, of Seaford was traveling west and stopped suddenly to avoid the collision, and a fourth vehicle, driven by Lindsay Murphy, 19, of Montauk, struck it from behind, police said. Neither of those drivers, as well as a passenger in the fourth vehicle, were injured.

A funeral service for Saunders will be held on Friday at the Star of David Memorial Chapel in Babylon at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Mt. Ararat Cemetery, Route 109 & Wellwood Avenue, in Farmingdale.

In lieu of flowers, his family has requested donations be made in his memory to the . 

Saunders, a partner in Phillips International, bought the old Plitt Ford property at 338 Montauk Highway in 2010, with the plan of tearing down the old garage and building a 17,000-square-foot retail building. He hoped to attract gourmet food markets like Trader Joes or Whole Foods, as he owns several shopping centers where those types of stores are located elsewhere in New York.

anonymous August 12, 2012 at 02:27 PM
local Business owner August 12, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Relax. Its not personal against Brian. I don't know him. This is a blog where you comment on current events. We all feel bad for both young men involved in these accidents, but even more thoughts about the two innocent men who lost there lives because of someone else's mistake!
anonymous August 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I won't relax. You right this is a blog to state your own opinion,however I am reading accusations and assumptions not "opinions"!!!! Keep your negativity to yourself maybe you don't realize what these comments our doing to the family, buts words hurt more than whispering does
highhatsize August 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Does anyone know what the traffic accident/fatality rate out her is this summer? It appears to me to have increased by a factor of 4, at least. Some have credited the increase to texting while driving but, in this case, that doesn't appear to have been the case. What can we do to remedy the situation? I can't think of a thing.
ViralGrain August 12, 2012 at 05:34 PM
1) Stop over developing this community. 2) Put in a reliable public transportation system that would be nice enough and reliable enough for people to Want to use it instead of just the people who just Need to use it cause they have no choice. 3) Have local businesses such as the Movie Theater, Starbucks, the Grocery stores, Main Beach Pavilion, CVS, and Hardware stores give a decent local discount to people who shop their stores who present a recent public transportation receipt. 3) publicly humiliate bad drivers who do stupid things such as U-turns on main street, excessive speeding etc. In a community so concern about image I think that it would be effective to do so. To give an incentive to the business and corporations to follow our wishes and design to help reconcile this issue with the congested roadways, offer them a tax incentive by the town to honor the local discount, and if they refuse to comply tax the hell out of them and fine the ones who say they are with the program but fail to comply with it. There are many high end communities in this country and around the world that have public transportation that works well enough and a pleasure to use that even the elite's chose to use it. Or we can just talk about how unfortunate accidents like these are and how bad the traffic is.
David D'Agostino August 12, 2012 at 06:06 PM
One thing we can do is stop high-traffic generating, over-development on CR39. Here is a sampling of traffic issues: http://notuckahoemall.com/?page_id=89 NOTE: On CR39 there have been over 100 serious accidents, some of these fatalities, in just 2 years and that is without counting this summer.
North Fork Bob August 12, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Very sorry for your loss David.I also feel that Multimillionaires son should be charged. The way it works out here is if your rich or famous you can get away with almost anything.About 8 years ago a very famous and rich woman pinned one of her workers to a wall with her Land Rover.No publicity no charges.A very famous and rich singer hit a tree on 114.Police announced he was sober.People at the restaurant he just left told me he had just polished off a bottle of wine.The topper is Lizzy Grubman (very rich daddy).She backed daddy's Mercedes fast into a crowd of people injuring 14. She was really drunk and high.High end lawyers got her off with very limited jail time.Her lawyers inspected the Suffolk Co.Jail to see if it would be suitable for Lizzy.Again David I'm so sorry that your friend died.
North Fork Bob August 12, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Sorry to say it's 6 right now
North Fork Bob August 12, 2012 at 07:11 PM
JJon you just don't know how the system works.Money and influence play a much larger part than you realize.I hope the Suffolk DA picks up this case.
North Fork Bob August 12, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Jag can't they go after Junior's future earnings?
North Fork Bob August 12, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I wonder if Junior's surfboard got damaged
North Fork Bob August 12, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Here is concrete evidence.A wonderful man,loved by many,many people died needlessly. Don't you understand why so many people are so upset?
CJ Garland August 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Perhaps we need lights on the intersection of Whooping Hollow and 114. Another one on the corner where 2 Holes of Water, Stephen Hands, and Long Lane all intersect. Even if its just blinking in the off season. I can't help but think, one of these 2 intersections are going to be our next fatal accident. Please lets all drive super safe, and be aware of whats going on. Does anyone know about what happened last week in front of the East Hampton Post Office, I understand some one almost got killed? Lets start having posative disscussion about a problem we are having, I can't help but think, thats what Gregg would of wanted.
Bh 11932 August 12, 2012 at 09:21 PM
You need to have more respect for the families of these young boys who happened to be the cause of the accident. They never set out to hurt people. Accidents happen. Not one of Brian's friends or family members want to come into the internet world to see people like you talk about him or his situation. IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. What you can make your business is what the newspaper published. Keep your assumptions and opinions to yourself or you'll end up being criticized like so.
Bh 11932 August 12, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Its people like you who start those ridiculous rumors. You heard he was texting... Well he wasn't and now you've heard that. Were you there? Can you clarify that there wasn't a deer in the road, or any other animal? And can you clarify that a car didn't come out of that driveway? No I didn't think so. Why don't you do Brian and his family a favor and be one of those loud mouths that learns to STOP SPREADING HEAR SAY. Make things a little bit easier for them. Wouldn't that be a respectful thing to do? And don't you think Brian's injuries are enough? He is VERY lucky to be alive himself.
Bh 11932 August 12, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Relax? This article is about the accident on 27... yet the 114 ACCIDENT is the topic of discussion. No one has patience any more for rumors and assumptions. Act like an adult and STOP all this back and forth banter of what you heard he was or wasn't doing.
Paul Hessler August 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM
My prayers are with the Saunders Family and their friends over this tragic loss.
Tom August 13, 2012 at 01:02 PM
As upsetting as they are, I can appreciate that these incidents were accidental. I realize that it's not just the victim's families and friends that have to find peace. Let's hope Benjamin and Brian and their families are able to heal, and perhaps someday can share these events with a younger generation/s to help save lives.
Karen T August 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM
David, i am so sorry to hear of this accident that took the life of your dear friend. In 2006, my father Patrick Mapleson, a Dept of Transportation worker, was killed while working on sunrise highway in Eastport. The driver of the cement truck driver was not only speeding through the work zone, but reached down to pick up his falling water bottle causing him to veer into the work zone crushing my father. Since my father's death i have become an advocate against distracted driving. I go around to high schools and drivers education classes sharing my father's tragic last day with the hope i can change just the way one person thinks when they drive. I will now share your friend Gregg's story during my classes. I am truly sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you! Best Regards, Karen Torres
tyson August 14, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Sad to hear but when you drive a rolling trash can like a prius that folds up like pringles...what do u expect in a head on...no one mentions that....if hes driving a silverado...the audi takes it
richard timmins August 15, 2012 at 07:41 PM
what comment, don't see as there was anything missed on this one.
muskrat August 15, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Priuses actually have good crash ratings - Five star overall, four * front, five * side, four * rollover. This must have been a heck of a violent crash to have crumpled like that.
local Business owner August 16, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Where's the follow up information on the investigations ?
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Restaurant guy, there is nothing more on this accident right now. The driver was ticketed. He has until Sept. 17 to answer the ticket. If he choses to plead not guilty, he will be given a court date (like anyone else who gets a ticket).
Brendan Byrne - The East End Broker August 16, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I would love to know how things work and why things are. I am not alone in taking for granted how fragile life is. This is another example. I was not a close friend of Greg Saunders, but I have met him. He made an impression upon me during our brief interaction. If he didn't say "Hey, I am Greg Saunders", I would have been thinking "who is this guy?". The story begins with me needing an oil change for my car. It was over due and I needed to get it done prior to going about my business in Bridgehampton. So, I stopped at the place in Southampton. Guess who I was fortunate enough to spend an hour with!!! I was driving a high performance V8 and got hell for it. He claimed to have a handful of cars, but he loved the Prius and it's gas milage. We talked about a a handful of things, including real estate and local politics. At times, or mostly, our conversation was full of excitement and energy, almost like you have ever seen. All the guys at the shop knew Greg Saunders as he was a regular customer. They kind of felt for me as they knew he had my ear for an hour and I couldn't get a word in. My take is that was him. The conversation was an experience to say the least. When I left I knew who Greg Saunders was, and I liked him. He was a happy guy who made my day. After this run in, I enjoyed coming across his name a few times in the media and remembered our morning. This time I was sad. I am almost due for an oil change and was hoping to see him again.
Tango1niner August 17, 2012 at 01:00 PM
as far as cell phones go... they all have built in motion sensors/ GPS. they should all be manufactured to turn off the screen at least, when in motion at high speeds.
justbreath August 17, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I sold cars for many years, and one encounter of a 70 plus year old man has stayed in my mind. I explained that his new car he just purchased came with a radio, he asked me to take it out, I then explained that it would cost more to take it out, he replied " the only thing you should be doing in a car is driving". That should be the standard. RIP Greg.
Walter Noller August 17, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Good advice, although a tad drastic considering every radio has the ability to be turned off. That said, allow me to share an incident I had while I was teaching defensive driving to a large company. We would "take it on the road" to reinforce what was discussed in class. One day we came across a young lady in a parking lot, trying to make a left onto a very busy road. She had just had a pedicure, with her left foot on the dash, hre right hand held a cold drink and her head was cocked to hold her cell phone. You could actually hear her radio in spite of the fact her windows were closed and we were more than 25 feet away. She immediately became the poster child for what NOT to do while driving as I don't think she could have added any more distractions in spite of the fact she was trying to enter a notoriously dangerous roadway. European car makers reluctantly added cup holders for the American buyers and the Japanese sense of humor included two extra cup holders in the luxury model of a minivan (Honda) that already exceeds the number seats. I have far too many stories that only compound the fact we are simply NOT good drivers, but we at least give other countries something to laugh at and make money from.
Karen Gerstman August 24, 2012 at 05:53 AM
The young driver who essentially killed Gregg Saunders must be held accountable for his carelessness. A slap on the wrist is not going make any driver pay more attention to the road while driving. When driving the only way to pay attention is to turn off the cell, no eating, drinking, putting on make up...and for goodness sakes, if you must check on something in the back seat, get to the side of the road and check the back seat. Never, NEVER, take your eyes off of the road ahead of you! This is a senseless death that simply did not have to happen. My condolensces to the entire Saunders family.
Christian Brabender September 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Good bye My Brother from another mother. He was a very close friend of mine and I will miss him always. A good soul, with a kind heart. Changed my life forever. Thank you Gregg Your Friend Christian


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