Articles by

Grant Parpan and Paul Squire

02/11/13 3:01pm
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Wading River Fire Department volunteers stand near debris at the scene of  Thursday night's crash.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Wading River Fire Department volunteers stand near debris at the scene of Thursday night’s crash.

Update: Services have been scheduled for John Hyte, 52,  of Wading River, who was struck by a car and killled on Route 25A Thursday evening.

A visitation is being held at 2 to 4 p.m. and again at 7 to 9 p.m. today, Monday, at Alexander-Tuthill Funeral home at 6447 Route 25A in Wading River, with a prayer service at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Internment will follow at Calverton National Cemetery.

Mr. Hyte, 52, was struck by a green Subaru Outback driven eastbound by Anthony Simonetti, 71, of Riverhead at the intersection of Route 25A and Littleleaf Court in Wading River about 5:50 p.m. last Thursday, police said.

Mr. Hyte was walking in the eastbound travel lane at the time he was struck, police said. No charges were filed.

John Hyte

Wading River firefighters and ambulance volunteers transported Mr. Hyte to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The Wading River Fire Department originally planned to set up a landing zone to have a Suffolk County police helicopter airlift Mr. Hyte, but a medic at the scene decided to take him by ground to the hospital, according to officials at the scene.

Police closed Route 25A in both directions as they investigated the accident, police said.

Any witnesses to the crash are being asked to call detectives at 727-4500 ext. 326.

02/11/13 6:45am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The snow that filled the streets of Riverhead Saturday will be replaced with heavy rain Monday.

A freezing rain advisory has been lifted for Long Island Monday morning, but the rain should continue on the East End into the evening, according to the National Weather Service in Upton.

“It doesn’t look to be as significant as the last system that moved through here,” said Joe Picca, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Upton.

Some roads already prone to flooding might see large puddles from Monday’s rain, but there is little threat of “significant” flooding, Mr. Picca said.

The wet weather is not the only  factor in what could be a tricky morning commute Monday, as roads remain icy and plows work to continue clearing roadways.

The view from the overpass at Exit 73 in Riverhead showed a clear road Sunday afternoon, but it wasn’t until 7 a.m. Monday that traffic was fully open in both directions.

Route 25 is in decent shape across the North Fork.

01/27/13 2:00pm

TRACEY CRUMP COURTESY PHOTO | Demetri Hampton celebrates receiving his diploma from Riverhead High School during the school’s 2010 graduation ceremony. Mr. Hampton was killed Sunday after confronting burglars in his home.

A beloved Riverhead High graduate was killed early Sunday morning when he was shot in the chest as he tried to confront burglars who had broken into his Flanders home, Suffolk County police said.

The shooting occurred shortly after 3 a.m., when an undisclosed number of men broke in through the front of the Priscilla Ave. home, where Demitri Hampton was present along with several other people, according to Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk County Homicide Squad.

A struggle ensued after Mr. Hampton, 21, attempted to confront the burglars.

“There was a struggle and he was shot during the struggle,” Lt. Fitzpatrick said.

The men quickly fled the scene and Mr. Hampton was pronounced dead a short time later at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

The incident was reported to police through a 911 call saying “armed men had broken into the home and shot a man.”

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A mobile command post in front of Demitir Hampton's home on Priscilla Ave. in Flanders, where police say the 21-year-old was shot and killed by armed burglars early Sunday morning.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A mobile command post near Demitir Hampton’s home on Priscilla Ave. in Flanders, where police say the 21-year-old was shot and killed by armed burglars early Sunday morning.

For hours after the shooting, Priscilla Avenue remained closed off by police tape at the Wood Trail intersection. County Homicide detectives are asking anyone with information to call (631) 852-6392 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (800) 220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential, police said.

As of 2 p.m. police said they had no updates in the investigation.

Sayra Alvarez, who lives on the second floor of a nearby house, said she heard what sounded like people running in the snow. She then heard a car door slam and a car speed away.

“Then when I saw the cops, I thought something must’ve happened, something’s not right,” she said. “It’s very shocking for us.”

Several of Mr. Hampton’s other neighbors said Sunday morning that they didn’t hear the shots and were surprised to wake up to the crime scene on Priscilla Avenue.

“I went to sleep late, but didn’t hear anything,” said neighbor Alfonso Gonzalez. “It’s very quiet, this area.”

FACEBOOK PHOTO | Demitri Hampton in his profile picture on

FACEBOOK PHOTO | Demitri Hampton in his profile picture on

A 2010 Riverhead High School graduate, Mr. Hampton had worked in Baiting Hollow as a valet at Giorgio’s, according to his Facebook page, which was filled with comments from mourners expressing their disbelief over the loss of their “sweet and funny” friend.

Former classmate Michael Hejmej said Sunday morning that Mr. Hampton was a “great kid.”

“He was quick to make you laugh,” he said.  “Hard working, fun to be around. He never said a bad thing to anyone.”

Another classmate, Marcus Santana, said Mr. Hampton impacted many people’s lives.

“He was a great friend that would keep a smile on your face,” he said.

Neighbors also described Mr. Hampton as someone who liked to laugh and could often be found playing basketball. He played on the Blue Waves basketball team and was a fan of the Miami Heat.

One neighbor, who identified himself as “Hobbs,” said he and Mr. Hampton were on a dance crew together that would “battle” other dance crews.

“I never expected it to happen to him,” he said. “He never did anything to anybody.”

Both a wake and funeral service will be held Saturday morning, according to Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton, which is handling the arrangements.

The services will be held at Galiee First Church of God in Christ on 87 Old Quogue Rd. in Riverhead.

The wake is set for 10 a.m., with a funeral mass at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Southampton Cemetery.

We will continue to update this story throughout the day as more information and reaction becomes available.

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01/20/13 11:20pm

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Two people were injured after a man crashed into the CVS in Wading River twice Sunday night.

A 78-year-old man crashed through Wading River CVS twice Sunday night, injuring himself and his wife as she walked out of the store, Riverhead Town police said.

Ronald Kucinski of Wading River was parked outside the store around 6 p.m. while waiting for his wife, Joan Kucinski, 74, to exit the store, police said.

Mr. Kucinski backed up at a high rate of speed in his 1997 Mercury and crashed through the brick facade at the northeast corner of the building, leaving a 5-by-5 foot hole in the building. He then put the car into drive and jumped a curb while pulling away, making a U-turn and crashing into the front entrance of the store. His wife was injured by  falling debris in the entranceway, police said.

An official at the scene said Mr. Kucinski had recently been released from the hospital and that alcohol was not involved in the accident. Police said late Sunday night that he appeared to get confused while behind the wheel and he panicked. No criminal charges are expected to be filed, according to police.

The Kucinckis, who were both transported by Wading River ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital, suffered only minor injuries, police said.

Store employees declined to comment on the crash, saying only that they were glad nobody was seriously injured.

“We’re lucky for that,” the shift supervisor said.

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