Suspect in fatal crash ‘extremely remorseful’

DUI, Brookhaven National Laboratory, bicyclist, Calverton

A Middle Island man arrested for allegedly hitting and killing a cyclist while on high on drugs earlier this month had his bail reduced last week so he could “spend the holidays with his family,” the man’s defense attorney said.

William Slatton, 30, posted bail Nov. 20 after an application was made by Central Islip attorney Joseph Cozzo, who said Riverhead Town court determined he was not a flight risk.

Mr. Slatton was driving with four children under the age of nine in his car and with a suspended license when he hit a bicyclist on Route 25 in Calverton on Nov. 1, authorities said.

The bicyclist, Steven Kane, 57, of Brightwaters, was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the efforts of several passing motorists — including the Ridge Fire Department chief — to save him.

Mr. Slatton faces charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors, according to court officials.

Bail was originally set in Riverhead Town Justice court at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond but was reduced to $10,000 cash and then, after a Nov. 20 court appearance, reduced further to $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond, court officials said. Mr. Slatton posted bail that day, corrections officials said.

Mr. Cozzo said the drug detected in Mr. Slatton’s system was county-prescribed methadone to help Mr. Slatton in his treatment for heroin addiction. Due to the accident, Mr. Slatton is also facing charges in family court through Child Protective Services, Mr. Cozzo said, adding that a court-ordered drug test came back clean.

Mr. Cozzo said the defendant is “extremely remorseful” for what he says was an accident.

“The last thing [Mr. Slatton] was looking to do [was this],” Mr. Cozzo said. “He had no intentions of hurting anyone … This was an unfortunate accident that he was a part of, and it’s something he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life.”

Mr. Kane was a well-known and respected manager of safety engineering at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

He was also a competitive cyclist who raced with East End Cycle Team and had finished first in his age group in several events.

Neither Mr. Kane’s family nor the assistant district attorney could be reached for comment.

Mr. Slatton is due back in court Jan. 15, Mr. Cozzo said.

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