10/14/13 7:54pm
10/14/2013 7:54 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | About 50 fire department volunteers were called to the scene of the rollover accident Monday night.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | About 50 fire department volunteers were called to the scene of the rollover accident Monday night.

A diabetic man driving with his dog in Calverton had a medical emergency when he flipped his car, sending him to Stony Brook University Hospital on Monday night.

According to Riverhead police, the man was driving eastbound on Route 25 just before 7 p.m. when the accident occurred, shutting down the road for over an hour. A helicopter picked up the man around 7:50 p.m. at FedEx on Edwards Avenue.

The man’s injuries were not extensive, according to police, despite the hard crash.

“This car was on its roof when we got here,” said first assistant chief with the Riverhead Fire Department, Kevin Brooks. “He rolled it all right.”

Traffic was closed between Edwards Avenue and Manor Road.

The man’s dog, Daisy, was not injured in the crash, and was taken home with a firefighter for the time being.

Carrie Miller contributed to this report.

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the RVAC on scene Monday night.

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the RVAC on scene Monday night.

10/01/13 12:30pm
10/01/2013 12:30 PM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A tractor trailer carrying gravel crashed an LIE exit ramp Tuesday, the second 18-wheeler accident that morning.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A tractor trailer carrying gravel crashed an LIE exit ramp Tuesday, the second 18-wheeler accident that morning.

Just hours after a tractor trailer crashed onto its side at a Long Island Expressway exit ramp, a second tractor trailer has rolled over just a few hundred feet from the first accident site, Riverhead Town police said.

The 18-wheeler hauling a gravel mix was driving on the Exit 73 off-ramp when it tilted and crashed onto its side shortly before noon, police at the scene said.

Riverhead police Sgt. Stephen Palmer said the driver had been driving “a little too fast” and lost control of the trailer.

The road had just been reopened following the earlier crash.

The driver in the second crash suffered non life-threatening injuries and was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment.

Riverhead and Suffolk County police were called to the scene, as well as Riverhead firefighters, who cleaned up fuel that spilled from the truck. Police closed the LIE between Exits 72 and 73 as the scene was cleared. As of 1 p.m., the road was still closed.

The crash was the second tractor trailer rollover accident in less than 12 hours.

In the earlier crash, a tractor trailer carrying groceries for local convenience stories crashed onto its side about 3:45 a.m. after its driver swerved on the same exit ramp to avoid a deer, shutting the road down for seven hours.

No one was seriously hurt in that first crash.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A towing company employee watches on as the overturned tractor trailer is righted at Exit 73 of the LIE.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A towing company employee watches on as the overturned tractor trailer is righted at Exit 73 of the LIE Tuesday morning. Hours later, a second tractor trailer would crash in the same spot.

Riverhead Fire Chief Joseph Raynor said the driver and co-driver of the truck were already outside the overturned vehicle by the time fire trucks arrived on the scene.

Both men were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries and later released, an official for the truck company said.

“They’re very lucky,” the employee said.

The truck had been delivering food and goods to local convenience stores at the time of the crash. The firefighters’ hazmat crew was called to the scene because of bleach that was being transported by the truck.

The contents of the trailer were emptied out and loaded into another truck to allow tow crews to right the 18-wheeler.

The Long Island Expressway was closed between exits 72 and 73 until noon as crews cleaned up the crash scene, complicating the morning commute Tuesday, police said.

LIE Exit 73

09/01/13 1:29pm
09/01/2013 1:29 PM


A Mattituck man has been arrested after he was involved in a two-car accident along Main Road in Jamesport where one of the vehicles flipped over and landed “within inches” of a nearby storefront early Sunday, authorities said. Three people, including the arrested man, were injured in the accident; none were seriously hurt.



Mark Palladini, 50, was traveling east on Main Road in Jamesport about 5:15 a.m. Sunday, when he crashed into a Nissan sedan with two men inside, police said.

Mr. Palladini’s 2006 Toyota pickup truck lost a wheel in the collision and flipped over, landing inches from the Grana pizzeria on Main Road.

“It nicked the building but there was no structural damage, thank God,” said Jamesport fire chief Duffy Griffiths. The pickup truck did take out two potted plants and benches that were in front of the restaurant, fire officials said.

Mr. Palladini’s speech was slurred and his breath smelled like alcohol when police interviewed him at the scene, and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, authorities said. He refused to take a breath test or field sobriety test at the scene and was arrested.

Mr. Griffiths said fire police closed the road for nearly two hours as the department’s rescue squad winched the flipped truck away from the building.

Riverhead ambulance volunteers took all three crash victims to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Mr. Palladini was arraigned before Justice Allen Smith Sunday afternoon, led into the courtroom wearing a blue t-shirt, jeans and bright yellow socks with no shoes. Mr. Smith suspended Mr. Palladini’s license because he refused to take a breath test.

Mr. Palladini asked if he could get a license to go to work, but Mr. Smith said that would not likely be possible and warned him not to drive.

“If you do, they’re going to pop you with a felony,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Palladini was released on his own recognizance, and walked unsteadily out of the courtroom with assistance from a police officer. He is due back in court on Sept. 17.


08/25/13 7:39am
08/25/2013 7:39 AM

Kennys Road Route 48 Southold

A Riverhead was involved in a fatal crash at the intersection of Route 48 and Kennys Road in Southold Saturday night, Southold Town police said.

Lawrence Damiani, 84, of Greenport was turning onto Route 48 shortly after 7 p.m. when he failed to yield the right of way and was struck by another vehicle heading west, police said.

Mr. Damiani and his wife, Janice, 83, were pulled from the car by Southold Fire Department volunteers and airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center by a Suffolk Police helicopter. He was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.

The driver of the other vehicle, Muhammad Asjad, 33, of Riverhead was transported by Greenport Rescue to Eastern Long Island Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Ms. Damiani’s condition was not immediately known.

08/13/13 2:47pm
08/13/2013 2:47 PM
JERRY DONAHUE COURTESY PHOTO | Monday's nights crash scene on Main Road in Aquebogue.

JERRY DONAHUE COURTESY PHOTO | Monday’s nights crash scene on Main Road in Aquebogue.

A 34-year-old Southold man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after crashing a work truck into a telephone pole in Aquebogue Monday night, police said.

Mario Chacon was traveling eastbound on Main Road, just west of Edgar Avenue, when he crashed into the telephone pole, breaking it in two, police said.

Mr. Chacon was charged with DWI and arraigned Tuesday morning in Justice Court.

08/05/13 12:38pm
08/05/2013 12:38 PM

Riverhead PoliceAlleged drunken drivers kept Riverhead Town police busy this past week, as eight people were arrested for driving while intoxicated, according to reports.

Last Sunday, July 28, Carol Mason, 31, of Wading River, was arrested for aggravated DWI after getting into a car accident on Wading River Manorville Road about 2 p.m., Riverhead Town police said.

Then on Wednesday, Dennis Tinnin, age and hometown unavailable, was arrested for DWI about 10:30 p.m. on Middle Road in Riverhead, police said.

A 54-year-old Brookhaven woman was arrested Friday after police received a 911 call reporting an erratic driver, according to a police report. Celina Matusewicz was arrested for aggravated DWI after she was seen driving on the shoulder of Route 58 about 9:45 p.m., police said.

On Saturday, Louis Evers, 53, of Flanders was arrested for DWI after allegedly speeding by the intersection of Cross River Drive and Riverside Drive in Riverhead, police said.

A few hours later on Saturday, Carlos Rodriguez-Cruz, 25, of Riverhead, was arrested about 3:30 a.m. after failing to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Lewis Street and Segal Avenue, police said. Mr. Rodriguez-Cruz was arrested for DWI and charged with other violations, according to a report.

Two men were arrested on Sunday morning for DWI in two separate incidents involving car accidents, according to police reports. John Simpson, 26, of Riverhead was arrested after a crash about 2:20 a.m. on Sound Avenue, police said. Almost a half-hour later, Sergio Ruben Osorio, also 26, of Greenport was arrested for aggravated DWI after crashing a red Mazda on Route 58. That crash happened at 2:45 a.m., police said.

Mr. Osorio was charged with aggravated DWI, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle along with other violations, according to a report. Additional information on the crashes was not immediately available.

Ismain Velazquez-Hernandez, 29, of Riverhead, was stopped by police on Segal Avenue about 1 a.m. Monday after failing to use a turning signal, according to a police report. He was arrested for DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, police said. He also has a prior DWI conviction, according to a report.

07/14/13 12:00pm
07/14/2013 12:00 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The crash happened along the north side of Route 25A, just a few few feet west of Randall Road.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The early Sunday crash happened along the north side of Route 25A, just a few feet west of Randall Road in Wading River.

UPDATE: Investigators are saying there was no criminal involvement on the part of a 21-year-old driver who struck and killed a pedestrian on Route 25A in Wading River early Sunday.

No arrest or tickets have been issued, said Suffolk County police Sergeant Steven Guyer.

Mr. Feinberg had been driving to his Shoreham home after dropping off a friend in Wading River at the time of the crash, Sgt. Guyer said.

He said the pedestrian who died, Nicholas Pieloch, 20, of Rocky Point, and two other people had been walking from Randall Road and just made a right onto Route 25A when the accident happened.

Mr. Pieloch was the only person hit, Sgt. Guyer said. He died at the scene.

STORY: A 20-year-old Rocky Point man has been identified as the person struck and killed by an SUV on Route 25A in Wading River early Sunday, police said.

Nicholas Pieloch died at the scene after he was hit by a 2001 Ford Explorer driven Jesse Feinberg, 21, was traveling westbound on Route 25A, just west of Randall Road, Suffolk County police said.

After striking Mr. Pieloch, the vehicle then crossed over the eastbound lane and hit a tree before overturning. Route 25A was closed in both directions for an investigation and didn’t open until about 9:45 a.m., police said.

Mr. Feinberg, of Shoreham, was not injured in the crash.

A nearby resident said about one accident a month occurs where Route 25A meets Randall Road, which leads to a large residential area.

“That is a very dangerous corner,” said Frank Vaughan, who’s lived on Randall Road for three decades. “We’ve been trying to get a traffic light for years.”

Police are asking anyone with information to call (631) 852-8752.

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07/10/13 2:17pm
07/10/2013 2:17 PM

JAMES CARBONE/NEWSDAY POOL |  Joseph Plummer listens to victim impact statements at his sentencing Wednesday in Suffolk County criminal court.

The sister of a Brookhaven man killed in a hit-and-run on East Main Street last December stood in a Suffolk County courtroom Wednesday morning — a few feet from the driver who admitted to fleeing the scene of the crash — and described her family’s pain.

PLummer family

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Family members of hit-and-run victim Scott Wayte walk out of court moments after Joseph Plummer was sentenced to two to six years in prison.

Wendy Worytko talked about the victim’s two daughters who have suffered the loss of a father, and about the kind of devoted family man Scott Wayte was.

“How can you live with yourself?” she asked Joseph Plummer, the driver in the hit-and-run now clad in a dark green jumpsuit, his hands cuffed behind his back. “You are despicable.”

Ms. Worytko told the court she prefers not to use the word “hate.”

“Except for you, Joseph Plummer,” she said. “I hate you.”

More than a dozen family members and friends of Mr. Wayte packed into the Suffolk County criminal courtroom to voice their disgust with Mr. Plummer as he was sentenced to two to six years in prison for driving away from the Dec. 28 accident and attempting to cover up the crime.

His sentence was the maximum allowed under the law.

Family members and prosecutors said the case is a clear example of why the law should be changed to allow for tougher punishments against hit-and-run drivers.

“It was a singular act of thoughtlessness, a singular act of heinousness,” said Suffolk County Judge Mark Cohen during sentencing.

Judge Cohen he told Mr. Plummer the sentence will “hopefully allow you to contemplate what you’ve done.”

But Suffolk County assistant district attorney Al Croce said Mr. Plummer deserved a much more harsh sentence for his crime.

“He has shown no remorse throughout the proceedings,” Mr. Croce said. “He doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions.”

Mr. Croce added that Mr. Plummer should be “removed from society for as long as possible.”

Mr. Croce said the DA’s office believes Mr. Plummer had been drinking before the accident, but since he didn’t stop at the scene of the crash and was arrested days after attempted to cover up the crime, prosecutors could not get enough evidence to prove he was drunk.

“This is a classic example of the need for stronger legislation,” he said.

After the sentencing, District Attorney Thomas Spota and family members urged the New York State Assembly to pass a bill that would allow prosecutors to charge hit-and-run drivers with more serious offenses.

The bill, which was passed by the state senate in February, has stalled in the lower house of the Legislature.

Mr. Spota said had the bill been in effect, Mr. Plummer could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

“We have asked and asked and asked the Assembly to do whatever they possibly could to pass this legislation as soon as possible,” Mr. Spota said. “[Mr. Plummer] deserves to have at least been charged with manslaughter and he would have been doing 15 years in jail.”

Mr. Spota said the DA’s office is currently prosecuting other cases with similar circumstances where hit-and-run drivers could get off easy as well.

“It’s almost slaughter on the highways these days, and this is legislation that should have been passed a long long time ago,” Mr. Spota said.

Mr. Plummer, 49, of Middle Island — a two-time convicted felon with six more misdemeanor convictions to his name — had pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving the death of a pedestrian, a class “D” felony, last month.

Mr. Wayte was celebrating his 50th birthday with family on Dec. 28 when he was struck by Mr. Plummer while trying to cross East Main Street.

Prosecutors said Mr. Plummer was traveling home from working on a pool in Aquebogue at the time of the incident and had been drinking vodka on the day of the crash since morning from a Poland Spring water bottle.

Because he wasn’t apprehended until several days later, authorities couldn’t prove he was drunk at the time of the crash,

Mr. Wayte was knocked into the opposite lane by Mr. Plummer’s car, where he was struck by a second car. While the driver of the second vehicle stopped to help Mr. Wayte, Mr. Plummer fled the scene and drove 10 miles to a gas station despite severe damage to his car’s windshield.

Mr. Croce said Mr. Plummer used pool lining to hide the damaged car, and noted that even though Mr. Plummer saw news reports detailing the deadly accident, he refused to come forward and tried to dodge responsibility.

During sentencing Mr. Plummer’s attorney, Harmon Lutzer, requested a grace period for his client to “get his affairs in order” before sentencing, but judge Mark Cohen denied it after assistant district attorney Al Croce said Mr. Plummer had failed to appear in court four times before this case.

Lutzer admitted that Mr. Plummer had a drinking and drugs problem and requested he be sentenced to the full two to six years and placed into a treatment program while in prison.

Mr. Plummer made a brief statement to the family, and appeared to tear up as he spoke.

“I’m very sorry to the whole family that this ever happened,” he said. “It wasn’t on purpose, it was an accident.” Mr. Plummer paused to compose himself, but didn’t say anything else.

Mr. Wayte’s daughter, Brooke, spoke at the sentencing and said people had no idea how much her father’s death affected their family.

“What everyone else doesn’t know is that I lost my life as well,” she said while holding back tears. “On that night, I lost my biggest fan and supporter.”

Ms. Wayte said her father’s death “crippled my family,” adding that they are now dealing with financial concerns because Mr. Wayte was the breadwinner for the family.

Ms. Wayte also read a statement from her sister, Alexandra.

“For you to hit my dad and drive away and cover it up shows what kind of man you are,” Ms. Wayte wrote.

Melanie Stafford, who was Mr. Wayte’s niece, said she had little hope that Mr. Plummer would reform his ways.

“There’s nothing I can find on record, nothing, that shows you’ve done any good for your community or family,” she said. “Now you’ve committed the ultimate robbery. You took a life.”

Ms. Stafford noted the irony that Mr. Plummer will spend his 50th birthday in prison and said that she hopes he gets “thrown around like a trash bag on the side of the road” while in prison.

“You are marked as scum for life,” she said. “You’re scum and I hope you rot in hell.”