Victim in DWI crash ID’d as father of three and McDonald’s worker

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Southampton police said a man was struck and killed on Flanders Road early Monday morning by a drunk driver.

A Suffolk County correctional sergeant from Riverhead was arrested for driving while intoxicated and could be facing more serious charges after striking and killing a 32-year-old father of three on Flanders Road early Monday, Southampton Town police said.

Christopher Dean, 41, of Riverhead was driving a 2002 Mercedes–Benz vehicle westbound on Flanders Road about 12:30 a.m. when he struck and killed Efren Ramirez, 32, of Flanders, who was walking on the westbound side of the roadway.

Police officers who responded to the scene found Mr. Ramirez lying dead in the road near the intersection of Old Quogue Road, officials said.

Police said Mr. Dean, a 15-year veteran of the Suffolk County Correctional System and a sergeant at the Riverside jail, stayed at the scene after the accident, was arrested at the scene and charged with DWI. He was later suspended without pay for 30 days, said Suffolk County undersheriff John Meyerricks.

That’s maximum amount of time an employee can be suspended without a hearing, he said.

Mr. Dean was arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court and posted $10,000 bail, court officials said. He is due back in court on July 25.

But he could be facing additional charges, according to Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman Bob Clifford.

“Evidence is being collected and witnesses are being sought as the accident investigation proceeds,” Mr. Clifford said. “As in every fatal accident investigation, the facts of the case and the evidence will be evaluated for a possible presentation to a grand jury.”

Sister Margaret Smyth of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, a Catholic outreach group, said Mr. Ramirez’s family, which is from Guatemala, came to meet with her Tuesday morning.

“They came in and we discussed exactly what happened and what the wife would like,” she said.

Mr. Ramirez worked at the McDonald’s restaurant on Flanders Road and lived nearby with his wife and 3-year-old son, she said. The couple has two other children, 8 and 11 years old, who are living back in Guatemala are “devastated,” she said.

“They want their daddy to be buried back there,” Sister Margaret said.

Visiting hours for Mr. Ramirez will be Thursday night, June 28, at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. Burial arrangements had not yet been made.

After the accident, the road was closed in both directions for several hours from the traffic circle to Ludlam Avenue during the course of the investigation.

State police and volunteer fire and ambulance workers also responded to the scene to assist.

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Editor’s note: This story was edited and updated again at 1 p.m. on June 27.