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DWI Driver Admits Fault for Teen Death in Civil Suit

Caroline Goss took the stand on Thursday in State Supreme Court in Riverhead, accepting a settlement and admitting her role in the 2009 death of Joseph Marino.

A civil court case between a Mattituck woman and the family of Joseph Marino ended on Thursday, when the two sides formally agreed to a financial restitution settlement and Caroline Goss admitting in an open courtroom that driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol led to the death of the 15-year-old Hampton Bays teen in August of 2009.

With Marino's mother, Dorothy, crying in the first row of a State Supreme Courtroom in Riverhead, and Goss crying at the stand, Goss stated on the record that her actions led to the premature death of Joseph Marino.

"I want to tell you that I'm sorry," Goss said. "And let it be known that I take responsibility for what happened that day ... I knew I drank and got behind the wheel, and endangered your son's life."

Under the terms of the civil settlement, Goss will be required to write a $300 check to Marino - or in the case of her death, her estate or heir(s) - every month for 20 years. Marino will also be entitled to a $50,000 insurance claim paid out by Statewide Insurance.

Goss, who also had her six-year old child in the car at the time of the accident nearly three years ago, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, serving four months jail time.

Marino spoke with members of the media following the brief court appearance, saying that after three years in court, she finally heard on Thursday what she's been waiting to hear for three years.

"It’s what I needed to hear all along," she said. "It was the only reason we did this. I’ve said it before, and I'll say it again, there is no amount of money in the world that can make up for the loss of my son. But to have her finally admit the only reason he’s not here is because she was drunk – that’s what this was all about. She had to say those words. She had to finally admit that it wasn’t my son’s fault. It was her fault."

Goss' admission was part of the settlement, according to prosecutors.

Goss also asked that somehow, Marino could find a way to forgive her, though the mother said the wound left behind by Joseph's death is too deep.

"I don’t believe there’s any forgiveness with this. I do feel sympathy for her children, because they are innocent victims in this, but my son is the ultimate victim. And I just don’t see forgiveness. There’s more anger … Part of the anger was about her trying to blame my son. So now that’s she’s admitted it was all her fault, that part of the anger I can finally let go of."

BOB PALADIN August 09, 2012 at 04:09 PM
until a dwi/bwi driver that kills a person is indicted for murder in the first degree and serves a 20 yr minimum .... all the...rest is BS
c August 09, 2012 at 05:19 PM
True admission and a souls pure yearning for change is forgiveable..but for the grace of God go I.
thatgirl August 09, 2012 at 05:50 PM
a drunk driver behind the wheel is no different than one who is careless with a gun. the driver may not have intended to murder, but in determining that they have, they must not have a choice of "accepting" responsibility. the horror of having to put a family through painful memories via a civil trial is excessive. what happened to "zero tolerance?" why, week after week, does this need to dominate area police reportage, to say nothing of reading about repeat offenders? why should they get another shot behind the wheel? can't we all agree that drunk driving is deplorable and shouldn't be tolerated under any circumstances? i know that communities situated like ours necessitates the need to drive, but these privileges should be immediately revoked under the circumstance of drunk driving--perhaps that would help some value their livelihood--and the lives of others--more.
Erica Jackson (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Patricia Dunham Stuart said via Facebook, "About time. Just down the block from me, She should have to pass this everyday like we do and NEVER forget!"
pat August 09, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Perhaps She does ...everyday..to for all of you who have never gotten caught under the influence.
BOB PALADIN August 09, 2012 at 09:18 PM
'c' if that was meant for me you can kma we dont 'do' alcohol in my family // we are a law enforcement, law abiding, church going , gun toting family of high moral fiber
BOB PALADIN August 09, 2012 at 11:51 PM
when will all you bleeding hearts stand up a drunk that takes a life behind the wheel is a killer and needs to be treated as such...she had a disease of the bottle...so she walks? whats next a child molester who says I am sorry and kills a kid...and gets 3 months// let the punishment fit the crime..or what are laws for...
Grace Ryan August 10, 2012 at 03:08 AM
People will never stop drinking and driving, smoking pot, texting, etc. and driving because even when u kill someone it is only a slap on the wrist... Unless of course if you happen to kill a cop! GCR
don kehoe August 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Why does everyone crucify the drunk drivers, and give a free pass to the excessive speeding and aggressive driving that goes on all over - which causes more accidents and deaths in Nassau and Suffolk than drunken driving?
BOB PALADIN August 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM
don its all about choice.. if a person is a 'sociopath' who disregards the 'the common sense' for the safety of others by getting behind the wheel IMPAIRED then they must be punished.. ..its their choice.. mine is put them where they cant hurt anyone and get over their 'disease'
T818 August 10, 2012 at 08:48 PM
My heart goes out to both families and this community. There is no greater loss than the loss of a child but being responsible for causing that loss....must be close. .Forgiveness can go a long way for everyone.
BOB PALADIN August 10, 2012 at 09:25 PM
t818 try staring at an empty bed while the other one is full of herself and how she got away with MURDERR forgive the sinner not the sin or should it be the other way around in any case' render unto ceasar and ceasar demands a real jail for these killers of our kids..
Joan August 11, 2012 at 02:57 AM
WOW…. what a hateful bunch. That was a terrible tragedy and truly, we all feel the greatest sympathy for Josephs family, but what a vengeful lot of comments. I's comment above was correct " there but for the grace of God go I. Holding on to hatred is to deaden the soul. This woman has to live with what she did every day for the rest of her life,. The two parties made a settlement and perhaps someday, hopefully Josephs parents and loved ones will be able to forgive Ms Goss. Perhaps someday she will be able to forgive herself, but I doubt it. Bob.. I think that you have some anger management issues.. How can such hatred be sustained? It's unthinkable to me that you can live a happy life with all of the bile that you spill with every word. You're a gun totin' family so what if one of your kids got one of your guns and shot himself or his sibling or a playmate. Should that be first degree murder as well? And for whom? The child who shot the gun or the parent who made the weapon available to him? These issues are not black and white and if you are the Christian you claim to be do you sincerely believe that Jesus would agree with your policy of the harshest possible penalty or with your iron clad policy of non forgiveness? That's my problem with you self avowed Christians (other religions too but not to the same extent) is that they (you) profess to love Christ yet don't even consider leading a Christ like life. How does that work, exactly?
Joan August 11, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I expect some flame throwing so go ahead and get it out of your system.
BOB PALADIN August 11, 2012 at 02:02 PM
you missed the point joan.... we as a society ALLOW these murderous acts to happen because we ,molly coddle the perps.. in our religion we have been 'taught' the sin is worse than the sinner but the truth is you can forgive the sinner but that does not absolve the crime.. yes its a crime to kill ., we all must pay taxes, obey the laws and be responsible to one another in a lawful manner. these drunks dopers and worse have the EXCUSE that they are diseased .. but having a disease does not absolve you from the act you did.....and let the punishment fit the crime
Bill in Riverhead August 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Might you be related to the Jackson kid that used to race down Ponquogue Ave , drunk & high , until he met a tree one night ?
T818 August 15, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Bob ....You know not of what I have endured nor I of you. It is clear you have had enough. I too have had enough but I find with some forgiveness - I can get through my days. Perhaps you should try it. I never stated once that I agreed with the decision that the court ruled for in this case. I pray everyday for that little boy and his family when I pass Argonne Rd. I have no idea what happened to zero tolerance for drunk drivers and TRUST ME I AM NO BLEEDING HEART! - Trish Murphy
BOB PALADIN August 15, 2012 at 10:39 PM
trish first thing i want to know where did the 'bitch' buy the booze.. then i want to know how the hell she had a kid in the car with her when she was drunk? WHERE IS THE KID NOW I BET BACK WITH HER.. then i want to know how SHE GOT AWAY WITH A THREE MONTH SENTENCE..who does she know? then i want to know who the ADA[ i want them to resign now] so I make sure I never vote for that kiss ass...one by one the civil liberties of the law abiding are being whittled away by the failure of the judicial process to punish the evil doers..
T818 August 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Bob, if you really want to know these things then you can and should find out. You have a lot of energy , use it to find out what you are looking for. Please keep this town posted. Good Luck!- Trish Murphy
BOB PALADIN August 17, 2012 at 02:11 AM
retired ... but to protect the kids i might run for local office here and on a law and order platform.. how many votes would i get with a zero tolerance policy ... not many i bet

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