Police: Group tricked teen into septic well plunge, fled

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A Riverhead High School student is carried into an ambulance after being rescued from a cesspool Friday morning.

Four teenagers tricked a fellow Riverhead High School student into stepping into an open septic well behind Toys R Us on Route 58 Friday morning, Riverhead police said this week.

A police investigation has revealed the teenagers opened the cover to the septic well and put branches and leaves over the opening to make it appear to be closed, said Lt. Rick Boden.

The teens then tricked the victim into stepping into the hole at about 9:30 a.m., he said.

It appears the group of pranksters then fled the scene, leaving the victim trapped in the well, Lt. Boden said. The victim was waist-deep in the water when authorities arrived on scene, police said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Police said a group of teenagers opened this manhole cover and used leaves and branches to cover the trap.

Riverhead firefighters and a LIPA crew arrived at the scene and dropped a rope down to the teen, said Riverhead Fire Department Chief Anthony White.

Police and firefighters then pulled the victim out, placed him on a stretcher and wrapped his lower body in a blanket.

The student suffered minor scrapes in the incident, and was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center by Riverhead ambulance volunteers as a precaution, police said.

At the time of the incident, police had not determined how the youth fell into the well.

Lt. Boden said the Juvenille Aid Bureau is still investigating the incident, adding that the school district has begun its own investigation. It was unclear why the high school students were not in school at the time of the incident.

District superintendent Nancy Carney said the incident is a criminal investigation and the district is cooperating with police.

“We will follow through once the police complete their investigation,” she said.

Once the investigation is complete and the students identified, police will decide whether or not to press charges, Lt. Boden said.

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