Friends remember fallen cyclist at fatal crash site in Calverton

12/20/2012 3:37 PM |

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Steven Kane’s coworkers place a wreath at a Route 25 memorial Thursday.

The 13 men and women stood in silence in a half-circle around the small white cross planted in the cold ground near Calverton National Cemetery’s entrance on Route 25.

A few walked up to the tiny memorial and looked at the photo of a man riding a bicycle dressed in racing gear. One man gently touched the cross, which read “In Loving Memory of Steven Kane.”

COURTESY PHOTO | Steven Kane

Mr. Kane’s co-workers from Brookhaven National Lab met Thursday afternoon to add a wreath to the memorial at the site where Mr. Kane was struck and killed by an alleged drugged driver in November.

Mr. Kane, a 57-year-old man from Brightwaters, was riding a bicycle along the side of Route 25 when a vehicle driven by William Slatton, 30, of Middle Island crossed over the road and struck him, police said.

Mr. Slatton was allegedly under the influence of methadone at the time of the crash, and was driving with a suspended license with four children in the car, police have said.

Several passing motorists stopped to try to save Mr. Kane, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The coworkers arrived Thursday on their lunch break to clear away old flowers from the small memorial before the holidays.

Mr. Kane was a safety supervisor at BNL, a “demanding but fair” boss who was fiercely dedicated to his work and the employees who worked for him.

Mr. Kane, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, was also an avid cyclist and would go out for rides on his lunch break to relax, his friends said. He was riding back to work at the time of the accident, they said.

Mr. Kane’s friends were shocked and upset that the man accused of hitting Mr. Kane in the accident was released on only $1,000 bail.

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, all misdemeanors.

Bail was originally set in Riverhead Town Justice court at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond, but was reduced to $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond after a Nov. 20 court appearance, a town court official said.

Mr. Slatton then posted bail that day, corrections officials said.

His lawyer said Mr. Slatton is “extremely remorseful” and was using methadone to overcome a drug addiction. The lawyer said he made the request for lowered bail after a court-ordered drug test came back clean. The charges Mr. Slatton faces are also misdemeanors, not more serious felony charges, his lawyer said.

He is due back in court on Jan. 15, court officials said.

That came as little comfort to Mr. Kane’s friend and coworkers.

“Steve’s wife never saw her husband come home that day,” said Janet Schlock as she began to cry. “He’s never going to be with his cycling team again … the gravity of the situation, the courts need to recognize that.”

But regardless of how the court case turns out, Mr. Kane’s friends said the pain will be difficult to heal.

“I think we all miss him more and more every day,” said coworker Fred Horn. “I can still hear him [at] work.”

psquire@timesreview.com