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Driver charged with DWI in fatal Boy Scout crash: 'I take responsibility'

Thomas Murphy released a statement Thursday, but his attorney cautioned that it should not be interpreted that Murphy would plead guilty.   

On Thursday, Stephen G. McCarthy Jr., read a statement on behalf of his client, Thomas Murphy, who is accused of driving drunk in a crash that killed Boy Scout Andrew McMorris. Murphy's statement said he was taking responsibility for his "role" in the Sept. 30 crash. (Credit: James Carbone; News 12 Long Island)

The man accused of driving drunk in a crash that killed a 12-year-old Boy Scout issued a statement Thursday outside a Central Islip courthouse taking responsibility for his “role” on Sept. 30 when his Mercedes-Benz plowed into a group of Scouts walking on a Manorville roadside.

However, the statement from Thomas Murphy, 59, of Holbrook, did not specify what that role was or admit to any specific acts other than driving the car. His attorney cautioned that the statement should not be interpreted that Murphy would plead guilty to his current charge of driving while intoxicated or any upgraded charges expected in a coming indictment.

Murphy is accused of being intoxicated when his car veered off David Terry Road and hit the group. Andrew McMorris, 12, of Wading River, died the next day from his injuries.

Murphy’s statement, which was read by his attorney, Stephen G. McCarthy Jr. of Manhattan, after a brief court appearance, said: “I, Thomas Murphy, want to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones of Andrew McMorris. I take responsibility for my role in the tragic accident that occurred on September 30, 2018, which resulted in the death of a wonderful boy, and the injury of four other boys. I also want to offer my sympathy to the families of the other injured boys, Thomas Lane, Denis Lane, Kaden Lynch and Matthew Yakaboski.”

It continued: “I will cooperate fully with the Suffolk County district attorney’s office during their investigation of this tragic accident. Again, I am deeply sorry. Myself, and my family, offer our prayers to the McMorris family in this extraordinarily painful and difficult time.”

McCarthy said his client was too upset to read the statement himself, and made it public “because he’s astoundingly sad and remorseful.”

The district attorney’s office declined to comment on Murphy’s statement. An attorney who represents the McMorris family also declined to comment.

Murphy told police he had been drinking that morning while playing golf at the Swan Lake Golf Course in Manorville, according to the criminal complaint.

“Yes, I had three drinks,” Murphy said to police at the scene, according to the complaint. “Are the kids OK? I know you’re going to arrest me.”

Andrew and the injured boys were part of a group of 18 youths and adults walking as a Scouting group, all wearing bright red clothes on a sunny day, a prosecutor said when Murphy was arraigned on his DWI charge. Murphy is free on a bond of $500,000.

Thomas Lane, the most seriously injured of the other boys, remains hospitalized with several fractures that require surgery, but his life is not in danger, a law enforcement source said. The others hit by the car have largely recovered.

The case was adjourned to Nov. 7 after a brief appearance.

With James Carbone

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