Cops: Driver in fatal Riverhead hit-run arrested
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A Middle Island man was being held without bail Wednesday after his arrest in a weekend fatal hit-and-run in Riverhead, and investigators seized the suspect's car as evidence, police said.
The victim in the case, Scott Wayte, of Brookhaven, had been trying to cross East Main Street in Riverhead to join his family at a restaurant for his 50th birthday celebration.
Joseph D. Plummer, 48, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, a felony, "after an investigation led to the location of the vehicle involved in the accident," Riverhead police said.
That vehicle, a 1999 Saturn sedan, was found at Plummer's address, and he surrendered Wednesday to the police to face a single felony charge in the 5:40 p.m. Dec. 28 accident.
A not-guilty plea was entered on Plummer's behalf Wednesday because he did not have an attorney present. A judge remanded him to jail without bail, and Plummer is scheduled to return to court Thursday with a lawyer.
Plummer has several prior felony and misdemeanor convictions, including grand larceny and attempted possession of stolen property, records show.
Wayte, who worked for a transmission parts company, leaves behind his wife of 26 years, Denise, and two daughters, Brooke, 24, and Alexandria, 19.
The Honda driver, Ernest Austin, 53, of Glen Rock, Pa., continued east for a short distance, not realizing he had struck a pedestrian, police said.
Responding officers found Wayte pinned underneath the Honda, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.