Alleged drugged driver killed BNL safety manager, held on $50K bail

11/02/2012 12:25 PM |
DUI, Brookhaven National Laboratory, bicyclist, Calverton

WILLIAM SLATTON

A Riverhead Town judge set bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond for a Middle Island man charged with driving under the influence of drugs after he hit and killed a bicyclist on Route 25 in Calverton Thursday afternoon.

William Slatton, 30, was also driving with four children under the age of nine in his car, and with a suspended license, authorities said.

At his arrangement Friday morning in Riverhead, Mr. Slatton told Justice Allen Smith that he is a stay-at-home father to four children and that he only has $1,900 in savings and could not afford an attorney.

Mr. Slatton, who wore a black sweatshirt and black pants in court, said he lives with his girlfriend and the four kids.

She was present in court with another woman but did not speak.

Mr. Slatton’s court-appointed attorney, Daniel Ginty, requested that bail be set at $1,900, but Judge Smith said that with the possibility of the charges being upgraded by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, he would keep bail at the $50,000/ $100,000 recommended by the DA’s office.

“These are very serious charges,” Judge Smith told Mr. Slatton.

Mr. Slatton, who was driving under the influence of methadone at the time of the crash, police said, has a prior felony conviction and two other convictions, assistant district attorney Dennis Ryan said in court, although he did not specify what those convictions were for.

Riverhead police said Mr. Slatton was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry westbound on Route 25, near the Calverton National Cemetery, about 1:30 p.m.on Thursday when he veered across the road into oncoming traffic, nearly hitting another car and then hitting a bicyclist who was heading east in the eastbound road shoulder.

Steven Kane

The bicyclist, Steven Kane, 57, of Brightwaters, was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the efforts of several passing motorists, including the Ridge Fire Department chief, to save him.

Mr. Kane was the manager of safety engineering at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and he also was a competitive cyclist who raced with East End Cycle Team and had finished first in his age group in several events.

Mr. Slatton is facing charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Those are all misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail, but he could face more serious charges if he is indicted.

Mr. Slatton is due back in town court on Monday.

tgannon@timesreview.com