Fatality on Montauk Highway

A man walking on the shoulder in front of Cafe Max, on Montauk Highway west of East Hampton, was killed on Nov. 9 after being struck by a Jeep. At about 6:30 p.m., village police received a 911 call about an unresponsive man in front of the restaurant, at 85 Montauk Highway. 

The 72-year-old victim, Harry Greenfield of Lighthouse, Fla., had pulled into the lot behind the restaurant to park, leaving his wife in the car while he went around front to read the menu, according to Chief Gerard Larsen. Mr. Greenfield was walking back to the parking lot along the eastbound shoulder, facing west toward oncoming traffic, when a Jeep Grand Cherokee struck him, throwing him up against a car parked in front of the restaurant. His body came to rest on the ground, the chief said. 

The driver of the Jeep, Jose Cifuentes-Monzon, 32, who lives nearby, told police he had swerved to avoid a deer that ran from near Cafe Max to the fields across the highway. Mr. Cifuentes-Monzon was not speeding, Chief Larsen said, adding that neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in the accident. He did not, however, have a driver’s license. 

The chief said there was no way to confirm his account of the deer, but that “it is a known area for deer to cross because of the big field. It wouldn’t be unusual.”

The victim’s wife was still in the car around the corner when emergency vehicles began responding. “She didn’t know he got hit” until then, Chief Larsen said, “It’s a very sad situation — very unfortunate.” There were hardly any cars on the road that night, he said.

No criminal charges have been filed against the driver. He was charged, however, with unlicensed driving and improper lane usage, both violations. The owner of the Jeep, J.M. Juletagonzalez, 29, who lives with the driver, will be cited for allowing someone without a license to drive, Chief Larsen said.   The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee had damage to its right quarter-panel and windshield. Police conducted a safety inspection on it, but found no issues. The highway was closed for several hours. 

Cafe Max had announced several weeks ago that it would close, after 25 years in business, on Thanksgiving weekend.