The family of a Hampton Bays teen killed by a drunk driver in August, 2009, says a civil suit against the Mattituck resident who hit him is now underway in court.
, 15, was struck by a car driven by Mattituck resident Caroline Goss while standing with his bicycle and talking with friends at the corner of Ponquogue Avenue and Argonne Road.
A press conference was held Tuesday morning outside Suffolk County criminal court by Edmond Chakmakian, the attorney for the Marino family, to announce that the civil suit has started.
"We are going forward with the civil suit only because we did not receive any justice in the criminal court. All we ever wanted was the truth," Dorothy Marino, Joseph's mother, said. "For her to admit fault. To admit she was drunk. To admit she should never have been behind the wheel of a car that night. But she still insists that she only had two drinks with one ounce of alcohol in each. Unfortunately, I don't think that that gets you to .13 BAC several hours after the fact."
In the dark hours and days after her son died, Marino became a fervent advocate for raising awareness about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
Marino demanded outside the Suffolk County court in 2010, protesting a plea deal that saw Goss with a six month jail sentence and five years probation.
The 2010 holiday season was somber for the Marino family, knowing that Goss had already been released from jail. She surrendered herself early to the court and began her sentence on May 24, 2010.
"This means she didn't even serve four months," said Marino.
In her impact statement at Goss' sentencing, Marino described an aching lifetime of holidays, spent without her beloved boy.
"What I would like to say to her cannot be put in print," she said. "I'm not buying her crocodile tears. She made her choice that fateful night and her choice took away my son. I will never forgive what she did. And I will never tell God that he can forgive her, either."
Marino believes in fighting for change. She's spoken to students at Hampton Bays High School, has distributed "Please Drive Sober" signs and bumper stickers and works with Mothers Against Drunk Driving on walks and other events. Marino attended the that would have been her son's proud day, and accepted a diploma in his honor.
She also reached out to Governor David Paterson and Congressman Tim Bishop about changes she believes are critical to the legal system.
"Drunk drivers are given chance after chance," she said.
Goss had a previous pled-down DWI and even a felony conviction does not carry a mandatory jail sentence, said Marino.
"You get one chance. Everyone makes mistakes; you need to learn from them, so you don't repeat them. Ms. Goss didn't," said Marino.
Speaking of drunk driving, Marino has a message, "Just don't do it." Call a cab, a friend, a parent, designate a driver, she pled.
Her mother's heart aching, Marino yearns to speak to Joe again.
"I want you back. I want to see you get married and have children of your own. I want to see you, to be able to hold you, hug you and say 'I love you' just one more time," she said.