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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."

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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