Cops: Hauler headed from EPCAL had illegal gun, suspended license

EPCAL Cars Sandy in Calverton

A 40-year-old South Carolina man transporting Sandy-damaged cars from the Enterprise Park at Calverton to Detroit was arrested Thursday after cops found him in possession of a loaded 9-mm handgun, Suffolk County police said.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.
DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.

Freddie Foggie Jr. of Boiling Springs, S.C. was also driving on a suspended license at the time, police said.

The arrest comes about seven months after Mr. Foggie was charged in a fatal accident in North Carolina that killed a 72-year-old Florida man who was a prominent developer, according to charlotteobserver.com.

In that case, two cars being hauled by Mr. Foggie somehow came loose, fell off the truck and struck cars that were traveling behind, the Observer reports, citing a crash report.

News reports and court records show he’s due back in a North Carolina court March 7 for misdemeanor charges.

On Thursday, Mr. Foggie was stopped along the Long Island Expressway in Islandia, near the Exit 58 Park and Ride, about 5:50 p.m. when Suffolk County police officer Robert Copozzi noticed equipment violations on a Chevy pickup truck, which had a trailer hauling three cars, police said.

During a routine safety inspection, Officer Copozzi noticed the handgun, which was loaded with a high-capacity magazine, and arrested Mr. Foggie, also issuing him nine tickets for a score of safety violations.

The truck, owned by JK Trucking and Auto Sales in Mississippi, was taking the vehicles from a Sandy-damaged car storage site at the enterprise park and taking them to Michigan, Suffolk Police said.

Mr. Foggie is facing a third-degree criminal possession of a weapons charge and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, police said.

He was scheduled to appear in First District Court in Central Islip Friday, officials said.

There are three sites at the EPCAL property — a former Grumman Corporation fighter jet testing facility — at which thousands of storm-damaged cars are being stored. Two are through agreements with Riverhead Town to store cars on town-owned runways at the property.

A third storage site is on grass on private property, at which the DEC has ordered the cars be removed over environmental concerns.

Those cars have not been removed, said Supervisor Sean Walter.

“They are [still] being stored illegally,” Mr. Walter said of the cars on private property, owned by Jan Burman.

“The DEC has ordered Burman to remove the cars, so hopefully the DEC will be victorious in getting these cars out of there,” he said. “He’s going to have to remediate that entire site, from what I understand, because it is one of those grassland areas that are supposed to be protected.

“So I don’t know how much that’s going to cost him.”

Mr. Burman could not be immediately reached for comment.

“There’s going to be a lot of this,” Mr. Walter continued about storm-damaged cars being sold off at out-of-state dealers. “There’s no possible way I’m buying a used car right now. These titles are going to wind up in other states, with their titles washed away.They’ll end up overseas and in Mexico.”

As for some the drivers leaving the sites, Mr. Walter also said many of them are taking to side roads in violation of weight limits.

“We’ve been all over these drivers; these 3/4-ton pickup trucks with the trailer are over our weight restrictions for a part of River Road, Wading River Manor Road,” Mr. Walter said.

“They’re writing tickets,” he said of town police efforts to curb the activity.

Read more about the cars at EPCAL