A Jamesport assistant fire chief arrested last week on charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident will serve a six-month voluntary leave of absence from the department, fire district officials confirmed following an executive session Tuesday.
Dave McKillop, 55, of Aquebogue was driving a Jamesport Fire Department chief’s vehicle when a witness observed him leaving the roadway and crashing into multiple street signs located at Route 25 and Tuckers Lane in Southold, according to Southold police. He continued heading west on Route 25 and an officer later spotted the vehicle near Wickham Avenue in Mattituck with significant front-end damage and a large hole in the windshield, police said.
The Jamesport Fire District Board of Commissioners first discussed Mr. McKillop’s arrest in a closed executive session last Wednesday night but took no action at the time, chairman Tom Brady said. They reconvened Tuesday evening and, following another executive session, voted to accept the six-month leave of absence from the department, which Mr. McKillop requested himself.
Under district by-laws, Mr. McKillop can request up to two six-month leaves of absence.
In the event that Mr. McKillop seeks to return to the department following the initial six months, Mr. Brady said the board hasn’t “decided what we’ll do at that point. We will not take a disciplinary action until his case has been decided by the courts.”
Mr. McKillop will remain first assistant chief during his leave, though he will not participate in department activities, Mr. Brady said. The commissioners have not appointed anyone to replace him as assistant chief and Mr. Brady said they will monitor the situation over the next six months to see how the department fares with one less chief.
Mr. McKillop, who is also a social studies teacher and coach at Riverhead High School, has been a member of the Jamesport Fire Department for nearly 20 years and officials there say he had a spotless record prior to the Feb. 13 arrest.
Mr. McKillop was charged with DWI, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with property damage, driving with no headlights on after dark and having a defective front windshield. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in Southold Justice Court, where he was released without bail.