01/19/14 9:43am
01/19/2014 9:43 AM

A Southold man was arrested for driving high with a child in the car in Flanders early Saturday, Southampton Town Police said.

Jacob Riehl, 23, was stopped by police on Flanders Road near Red Creek Road in Flanders shortly after 1 a.m. He was found to be high on marijuana at the time he was pulled over, police said.

He was charged with DWI Leandra’s law, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana, according to a press release.


01/15/14 1:30pm
01/15/2014 1:30 PM

CAROL MORAN/SOUTHAMPTON PRESS PHOTO | Richard Morrison was staying with a family friend in Riverside after his Flanders home burned last month.

Richard Morrison, the Flanders man whom a neighbor rescued from his burning home last month, died in his sleep Monday at the home of a family friend. He was 73.

Shelley Egan, a longtime family friend in Riverside, said Mr. Morrison always kept his spirits up, even in the wake of the fire that destroyed his home.

“He was a really good guy,” she said. “He had a great disposition and he didn’t let anything ruin it.”

Mr. Morrison had been staying with Ms. Egan after the Dec. 16 fire, which came two days after he was released from the hospital. He had been treated for congestive heart failure and diabetes.

Ms. Egan said a recent trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles was the only time she ever saw him get mad.

“I told him, ‘I don’t get it. You get upset over the motor vehicle department and you didn’t say a word when you’re house burned down,’ ” she recalled.

Although they weren’t related, Ms. Egan said she referred to Mr. Morrison as Uncle Richie.

“Everyone called him Uncle Richie,” she said. “He was one of the sweetest men you could ever meet. He was a gentle soul. He wasn’t depressed, and he never got mad.”

Mr. Morrison had been planning to move to North Carolina to live with a relative later this year, Ms. Egan said.

“But he really didn’t want to go,” she said. “He grew up here and I was spoiling him rotten.”

Joe Marshall, Mr. Morrison’s neighbor on Priscilla Avenue, noticed the flames coming from the home on the morning of Dec. 16. He banged on the door, imploring him to get out. He helped pull Mr. Morrison, who used a walker, to safety shortly before the entire house caught fire, officials said.

Mr. Morrison suffered second-degree burns on his back from falling debris, but was released from the hospital three days later.

Richard Naso of Flanders, a member of Southampton Town’s Citizen Advisory Committee for Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, said members of the CAC and others, including parishioners from his church, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Aquebogue, had been helping Mr. Morrison and even bought Christmas presents for him.

“The people have been wonderful,” Ms. Egan said. “People from all over the state, even people he didn’t even know were reaching out to help him.”

Mr. Naso said residents were planning additional help, such as building a handicap ramp for him and helping him get his homeowner’s insurance restored on his home. The homeowner’s insurance policy had been canceled on Oct. 30, while Mr. Morrison was in the hospital.

Mr. Morrison was born Sept. 7, 1940, to Herbert and Anna Morrison. He served in the U.S. Army and worked for 40 years as a produce clerk at King Kullen in Riverhead. He was also a member of Loyal Order of Moose. Family members said he loved doing word search puzzles.

He was predeceased by his sister, Helen Kruk and his brother William and is survived by his brother Frank, of Seattle, Wash.; two nieces; and four great-nieces.

The family will receive visitors Thursday, Jan. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead, where a funeral service will be held Friday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. Interment will be at Calverton National Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to American Cancer Society.


01/08/14 11:45am
01/08/2014 11:45 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Amanda DaCosta is led out of Southampton Town Justice Court following an arraignment Wednesday morning.

Update (11:45 a.m.): A Flanders woman was charged with leaving the scene of an accident Wednesday morning after allegedly driving a car into three people, leaving one person in intensive care at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Amanda DaCosta, a 2007 Riverhead graduate, was held on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond at an arraignment in Southampton Town Justice Court this morning.

Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson said charges could be upgraded. The vehicular crime bureau may investigate the case further.

Ms. DaCosta’s court appointed attorney, Colin Astarita of Southampton, said Ms. DaCosta had been “attacked” by the man who is now hospitalized, and that people at the Flanders home followed her as she attempted to drive away.

At least one person at the scene tried to stop Ms. DaCosta from driving, according to a statement read aloud in court.

Ms. DaCosta had allegedly been drinking just prior to the incident, according to witness statements read aloud in court.

Justice Wilson said she was arrested “many hours later.”

Ms. DaCosta lives with her sister in Flanders and currently works as a nurse’s assistant at the Westhampton Care Center, according to court statements. She has no criminal history.

The victim, who was not identified, is currently intubated at the intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center, Justice Wilson said in court.

Ms. DaCosta is due back in court Feb. 5.

Original Story: One person was hospitalized and a woman arrested after she allegedly drove a car into three people after a dispute broke out outside a Flanders home just after midnight Wednesday, according to a resident of the home.

The resident, who asked his name not be published, said he lives at the Riverside Avenue home with his sister and two children.

His sister had “a few friends” over, and they were in the front of the house smoking cigarettes when a fight broke out, he explained. Then one guest, whom he identified as Amanda DaCosta, allegedly got into a car and drove into three people and the house before driving off.

“She got in her car and ran it into my house,” he said.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The house at Riverside Avenue near Evergreen Road in Flanders, at which one person was injured after midnight Wednesday.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The house at Riverside Avenue near Evergreen Road in Flanders where one person was injured after midnight Wednesday.

She was located and arrested, he said.

Ms. DaCosta was led into Southampton Town Justice Court about 9:30 a.m. by police.

A Medevac helicopter landed at the community center on Flanders Road and transported a victim to Stony Brook University Medical Center.

The resident said the two children were in the back at the house at the time of the incident and were not physically harmed.


12/19/13 8:00am
12/19/2013 8:00 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A coiled extension cord plugged into a space heater caused this Flanders home to be destroyed by fire Monday.

The fire that destroyed an elderly man’s home in Flanders Monday morning was caused by a 100-foot long extension cord that was plugged into a space heater and coiled in cardboard box with clothes piled on top of it, according to Southampton Town Fire Marshal John Rankin.

The 73-year-old sole occupant of the Pricilla Avenue home was rescued by a neighbor who pounded on his door and pulled him out of the burning house shortly before the fire intensified.

ORIGINAL STORY: Neighbor rescues man from burning house

“Extension cords are meant for temporary use, and you should extend them out to their full length, because that will dissipate the heat,” Mr. Rankin said.

The coiled extension cord heated in the box and eventually set both the cardboard box and the clothing on fire, said Mr. Rankin, who said a nearby mattress then went up in flames, too.

Joe Marshall, who lives just a few doors down, was driving past the house on the way to his mother’s house when he saw smoke coming out the window.

“As soon as he got him out, the whole house lit up, which indicates that the entirety of the house probably flashed over,” Mr. Rankin said. ”Basically, this means that everything in the house catches fire at the same time, almost like an explosion.”

Mr. Marshall reported seeing overhead electrical wires leading into the house begin to explode.

The homeowner, Richard Morrison, was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his back, caused by burning debris from the house falling on him, Mr. Rankin said.

Mr. Morrison was recently hospitalized with congestive heart failure, Mr. Marshall said.

Mr. Rankin said the home was gutted.

“He lost everything,” he said. “We couldn’t even find his car keys for him.”


12/17/13 7:00am
12/17/2013 7:00 AM

Two Riverhead men, each with a history of drug arrests, were nabbed again on drug charges last week after police found they were in possession of methamphetamine during a traffic stop in Flanders, state police said.

State troopers initially stopped Quayshawn Kelly, 22, and Marcus Belcher, 22, on Flanders Road last Thursday for “vehicle and traffic infractions,” before locating the drugs, according to a police statement.

Both were arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and released.

Mr. Kelly had been arrested in 2011 for allegedly fleeing police during a traffic stop on East Main Street in Riverhead, according to previously published reports. Those charges were dismissed from town court after he was indicted by a higher court, town court officials said. An update on that case was not immediately available.

Mr. Blecher was one of eight Riverhead residents who were arrested as part of a Horton Avenue drug bust last October, Riverhead Town police said at the time. He was charged with a slew of drugs charges, including three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

An update on the status of his case was not made available, as the record has been sealed, town court officials said.

He had also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of marijuana in March 2010, with several charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance dismissed, according to a Justice Court report. He was sentenced to pay a $225 fine, according to the report.

SouthamptonPD HQ4 - 500

12/16/13 11:27am
12/16/2013 11:27 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters at the scene of Monday's house fire on Priscilla Avenue in Flanders.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters at the scene of Monday’s house fire on Priscilla Avenue.

An elderly Flanders man was rescued from his burning home by a neighbor Monday morning.


Joe Marshall said he was driving along Priscilla Avenue to his mother’s house Monday morning when he saw smoke rising from a house at 91 Priscilla Avenue.

“It didn’t look right,” Mr. Marshall told the News-Review.

“So I stopped and I was going to knock on the door, and when I got up to the door, I could hear the crackling in the window,” he said of the blaze, which started about 9:30 a.m. “I started pounding on the door to get his attention. I said ‘you have to get out!”

Mr. Marshall said the overhead electrical wires leading into the home were beginning to explode at this point.

The elderly man, who had already suffered burns on his back from things falling on him, and who uses a walker, came to the door and Mr. Marshall got him out of the building. He then gave the man his coat.

A Southampton Town Police officer at the scene confirmed that Mr. Marshall rescued the man, whose name was not released by authorities. The fire victim was the only occupant in the home, police said.

Smoke from the fire, which at its peak was scene pouring out of the sides of home, spread throughout Flanders Road.

Mr. Marshall, who lives just east of the fire victim’s property, said the man told him he had just had a heart operation and that his [homeowner's] insurance had been canceled recently.

The man was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance and transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

“I was getting ready to leave and my wife peered out the door and yelled “Smoke! Smoke!,” said another neighbor, Kevin Fleming, who lives across the street. “The flames were coming out the side and also out the front bedroom window. It was all orange. It was aglow.”

Additional information on the victim’s condition was not immediately available.

The Flanders and Riverhead fire departments responded to the scene to extinguish the flames.

Southampton Town and New York State police also responded.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear. Southampton Town fire marshals are investigating.


12/09/13 6:00pm
12/09/2013 6:00 PM

A Riverhead man was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge after a car accident near Maple Avenue in Flanders Saturday night, according to Southampton Town Police.

Delfido Rodolfo Lopez-Perez, 37, of Doris Avenue was heading south on Flanders Road near the intersection about 10:45 p.m. when car side-swiped the rear passenger side of another car, police said. Mr. Lopez-Perez’s car then veered off the road into a tree.

He refused a pre-screen breath test and was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he also refused to take a chemical test and was arrested on the DWI charge, police said.

He was additionally charged with following too closely and moving from a lane unsafely, and released on an appearance ticket, police said.

He’s due back in Southampton Justice Court on Jan. 8.


12/06/13 9:00am
12/06/2013 9:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Big Duck all lit up for the holidays.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman quizzed the crowd at the 25th annual Big Duck lighting ceremony Thursday evening in Flanders. He discovered that the couple hundred people in attendance came from all around the East End, from the North and South Forks out to Nassau County — there was even a family from Switzerland.

For the 10th consecutive year, the Riverhead Middle School Show Choir, under the direction of Nadine Greenberg, sang holiday songs with “ducky” twists on the words such as “Have a Wacky Quacky Big Duck” to the tune of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.”

The Flanders Fire Department, with Chief Todd Ryan, escorted Santa Claus to the Big Duck Ranch via fire truck, sirens blaring, where he flicked the switch on the lights with the help of a group of children and then stayed around to listen to Christmas wishes.