Cops seek driver in pedestrian fatality
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As Scott Wayte parked his car, family members gathered across the street at a Riverhead restaurant, ready to celebrate his 50th birthday.
Wayte never made it. The Brookhaven man was killed about 5:40 p.m. Friday as he tried to cross East Main Street, near Union Avenue, police said.
An unknown vehicle headed west hit Wayte, knocking him into the eastbound lanes, where he was immediately struck by a 2006 Honda Pilot, according to police.
The second 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. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Austin has not been charged with a crime.
Riverhead police are still searching for the hit-and-run driver.
Wayte leaves behind his wife of 26 years, Denise, and two daughters, Brooke, 24, and Alexandria, 19.
Wayte's father-in-law, Dennis Marshall, 69, said he was "just shocked."
"Imagine going out to celebrate your 50th birthday . . ." he said, before trailing off.
Wayte's sister, Peggy Bieselin, 67, of West Palm Beach, Fla., flew into New York early Friday to celebrate her brother's birthday. He was a Jets fan and avid cook, she said.
One of his specialties was chicken cordon bleu, and on Christmas, he'd serve a mean lobster fra diavolo, Marshall said.
On Friday night, at Cliff's Rendezvous, when Wayte did not immediately join his family at the table, Bieselin said Denise Wayte knew something was wrong.
"Scott should be here right now," she said before stepping outside, according to Bieselin.
A wake will be held Tuesday at Robertaccio Funeral Home in Patchogue, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
Burial will be in Bellport on Wednesday. Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact the Riverhead Police Department at 631-727-4500.