Seven sent to hospital after fiery car crash in Riverhead


A 30-year-old Riverhead man was credited by police for helping to rescue a man from a burning vehicle following a three-car crash at the intersection of Northville Turnpike and Middle Road shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, Riverhead Town police said.

Scott Harkins was waiting to make a left turn onto Northville turnpike when a driver of another vehicle ran a red light at the intersection and crashed into a third vehicle that was driven into Mr. Harkins’ car.

A passenger in the third vehicle was trapped in the burning car until firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, enabling Mr. Harkins and two police officers to rescue him, police said. Dean Nilson, 47, of Smithtown was transported to Stony Brook University Medical Center where he was treated for burn injuries.

In all, seven people, including two police officers and two firefighters who were treated for smoke inhalation, were transported to area hospitals.

Michael Pacilio, 72, of Riverhead was driving the vehicle that ran the light, police said.

A police investigation into the accident is continuing. No charges have been filed, according to police.