By Jonnathan Pulla and Jennifer Corr
SMITHTOWN,NY– Around 700 people participated in the first annual “Run 4 Our Angels 5 K” on April. 8 at Smithtown High School West, in remembrance of the four young women who were killed in a limousine accident three years ago.
On July.18 2015, an outing in the Long Island wineries was cut short when a pick-up truck t-boned the limousine carrying eight young women as it made a u-turn at a Cutchogue intersection. Only four women survived, including a bride-to-be. The events website stated that it’s mission is to bring awareness to safety issues regarding state motor vehicles and roadways.
The race received almost $10,000 in donations for scholarships provided by the families of the four women who died: Lauren Baruch, Amy Grabina, Brittany Schulman and Samantha Belli.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, the Girl Scouts, the Nesconset Fire Department and some police patrols were present.
“With this tragedy over the course of almost three years you’ve seen nothing but strength on the part of all the loved ones of these great four women,” Zeldin said. “The Smithtown community and individuals from neighboring communities came out strong today.”
The race began at 9:00 a.m. The first to run through the finish line was Ronald Doskoez Jr, who finished in 20 minutes and 13 seconds.
Coming in fourth place at 21 minutes and 13 seconds was Jonathan Toro, who raced with his toddler in a stroller that he made himself. The blue wooden stroller is designed to resemble a train.
“We do 5 k’s all the time,” Toro said. “He loves his stroller. I made it for him a few years ago for Halloween and he didn’t really know what it was back then but the older he gets the more he’s into it,” he said.
Lauren Baruch’s mother, Felicia Baruch, greeted participants at the finish line. A participant, Diana Tietjen, said she appreciated the interaction, as she is a mother herself.
“It was really nice to see one of the moms give me a hug and a kiss at the end of the race,” Tietjen said.
The event ended with a reveal of a new street sign named “Labs Lane”, which is an acronym for the names of the women, Lauren, Amy, Brittany and Samantha. Government officials were also present to declare that they would work to place a “No U-Turn” sign at the intersection where the women were killed.
“She [Baruch] had a beautiful heart,” Luis Vasquez, President of the National Hispanic Chamber of Health where Baruch worked, said . “She was invested in working with the millennials and the future of the youth.”
Companies, such as PC Richard and Son and Geico, sponsored the run, along with the Lawzie Marigold Foundation, which was created to honor Baruch.
“The ceremony was beyond any of our imaginations and was very touching,” Felicia Baruch said.
A previous version of the article stated that the winery outing,according to the NY Daily News, was a bachelorette party. That information was wrong, as the outing was actually a celebration of a major life event.