12/20/12 3:37pm
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

11/02/12 12:25pm
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