Driver’s blood alcohol more than 3x legal limit in fatal April crash

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The accident scene on Route 58 in Riverhead April 7.

The driver killed in the fatal April 7 crash on Route 58 was driving with a blood alcohol content level more than three times the legal limit, Riverhead Town Police said.

Julio Velez, 50, of Mastic died after turning into the path of an oncoming Suzuki SUV just east of the entrance to the BJ’s/Kmart shopping center on Route 58, injuring three people in the SUV.

Police announced Friday that Mr. Velez had a blood alcohol content of 0.28 percent.

Mr. Velez had to be extricated from the Saturn he had been driving and was pronounced dead on the scene. Mr. Velez had been involved in two previous minor accidents west of the fatal collision scene and had driven off after both without stopping, Riverhead Police reported.

The three people in the SUV were treated at the scene and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Police identified them as Lawanda Clemons, 36, and Devin Clemons, 20, of Riverhead and Paul Shorter Jr., 21, of Middle Island.

The Saturn and the SUV collided head-on in the westbound lane. After the crash, the Saturn, with a crushed front end, was still in the roadway and the SUV was lodged against the guardrail on the side of the road.

Riverhead Fire Department was called with heavy rescue equipment and Riverhead Police closed off Route 58 between Oliver Street and Northville Turnpike.

According to the police account of the crash, which was released Sunday morning at 4:45, the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV had been traveling westbound on Route 58 when the 1991 Saturn 4, heading east, “appears to have entered the westbound lane into oncoming … traffic for unknown reasons.”

The driver of the SUV, Lawanda Clemons, and two passengers were treated at the scene by Riverhead Fire Department personnel and taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center with minor injuries. Mr. Velez, after he was removed from his car, was pronounced dead as a result of multiple injuries. He had been alone in the car.