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Reckless Driver Hits Several Cars In Suffolk County, Kills 83-Year-Old Man

Sayville Fatal Crash

Prosecutors say Thomas Herman, the driver of this sport-utility vehicle, slammed into multiple cars in Sayville before slamming head-on into a vehicle and killing an 82-year-old man. (Credit: CBS 2)

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SAYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Main Street in Sayville, Suffolk County, was the scene of a deadly and destructive mess late Sunday afternoon, as the driver of a speeding sport-utility vehicle began slamming into other cars and didn’t stop until he left an 83-year-old man dead and a woman wounded.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, the head-on crash between two SUVs on busy Main Street was the shocking, deadly final act in a drama that spread crushed metal and reckless driving across more than a mile of Sayville.

“To go barreling though here 80 miles an hour is, like, crazy,” said Sayville resident Jimmy Sorrentino.

Witnesses and police said it began with the 46-year-old driver of a black Chevrolet Trailblazer barreling through the town’s business district, speeding and hitting cars around 5:15 p.m. Sunday. Some of the cars he hit were parked, others were in motion.

“We believe there were at least four or five separate collisions,” said Suffolk County police Detective Sgt. Alan Feinstein.

Witnesses said one of the drivers the offending motorist struck pursued him while staying on the phone with police. The driver kept going west, and tragedy was just around the corner.

Sayville resident Howie Mannkopf said the motorist was “weaving in and out of traffic; driving down the middle of the road.”

The Trailblazer made it to 290 W. Main St. when it clipped the back of a silver Honda Accord. Afterward, it then slammed head-on into a red SUV with a couple inside.

The woman, 79, was seriously injured and was taken to North Shore-LIJ Southside Hospital in Bayshore, The 83-year-old man behind the wheel of the red vehicle died at the scene.

“You can see the rate of speed he must have going, because the vehicle is 180 degrees turned, and it snapped the telephone pole,” Mannkopf said.

The driver of the Trailblazer was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in Patchogue, where he was under police guard facing numerous charges.

“It’s too early to say what charges,” Feinstein said. “We do have several – leaving the scene, also the circumstances of the crash, and of course, the death, will be looked at as the charges are appropriate at this point.”

Police Sunday night were checking nearby businesses for surveillance video as they delved in to the drivers’ state of mind and motives. But residents said no matter what happens next, there can be no justice for the dead driver — an innocent party caught in the chaos.

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