August 30, 2006
In A Van Down By The River . . . Uh, Pool
Wednesday was another busy summer night in East Hampton. Tomas Romero returned home from his job as manager of The Palm restaurant at around midnight. He often decompresses with a dip in the pool in the backyard of his home on Cedar Ridge in Springs, but chose not to.
It was a wise decision. Had Romero gone swimming, he might have been joined by some very unexpected and very big company.
He awoke just after dawn Thursday morning and noticed a glimmer outside. Checking the pool, he goggled at the site. There was a white van in his pool! "I thought I was still dreaming," Romero recounted.
The vehicle was partially submerged, the yard, fence and patio on both sides of the pool little more than rubble. Romero couldn't tell if there was anyone within the sinking vehicle. He dialed 911.
Police and ambulance and the local fire department, plus the town's dive team responded. Once assured the van was vacant, the next question was "Who did this?"
According to East Hampton Town Police Captain Ed Ecker, it appears the vehicle was airborne as it crashed through fencing and into the water. Cops contacted the truck's owner at the scene. He lives within a mile of the crash scene. As of press time, police were still investigating the unusual situation. If a culprit is found, the charge would be leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.
As police continued interviews on Thursday, a crane was used to move the soggy vehicle from the pool. Romero was amazed he never heard a splash. He slept in a bedroom on the opposite side of the house with the air conditioner running. Still, he reported Friday, neighbors never heard a thing either.
Romero has lived in the Springs home for 14 years. Asked if anything quite so unusual had ever happened before in the quiet cul de sac, he replied simply, "No. Nothing."