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.

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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