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Driver charged in fatal wrong-way crash on Sunken Meadow Parkway is FDNY firefighter, officials said

Investigators at the scene of a fatal wrong-way

Investigators at the scene of a fatal wrong-way crash on the Sunken Meadow Parkway last month that killed a beloved high school teacher. Credit: Stringer News Service

The driver charged in a fatal wrong-way crash on the Sunken Meadow Parkway that killed a beloved high school teacher is a veteran FDNY firefighter assigned to a ladder company in Brooklyn, officials confirmed.

State police said Joseph Norris, 38, of Babylon, was charged Monday with driving while intoxicated in the wrong-way crash that killed Anthony Mariano, 44, of Kings Park, on Nov. 20. Court records show Norris is due to appear for arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip on Dec. 16.

Police said Norris was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up southbound in the northbound lanes of the Sunken Meadow Parkway in Commack when he collided with a 2007 Mazda CX-7 SUV at about 7:30 p.m.. Mariano died at the scene, while Norris was transported to South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore with serious injuries. Police said the crash occured north of Exit SM3.

There were no other reported injuries.

The FDNY said Norris was appointed in June of 2006 and is assigned to Ladder 107 in East New York, Brooklyn. Norris faces suspension, the FDNY said in a written communication Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if Norris, who remains hospitalized, is represented by counsel. Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding the crash to call them at 631-756-3300. All calls will remain confidential.

Mariano was a longtime social studies teacher at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens.

In a recent Facebook post the school's legendary boys basketball coach, Ron Naclerio, wrote: "Anthony was a great teacher. Everyone loved him at Cardozo High School. This is beyond tragic."

The post included dozens of responses from former and current students offering condolences.

An online tribute obituary at the Claude R. Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home features a photo of Mariano wearing a backward baseball cap and a blue T-shirt with American flag artwork adorned with a baseball that reads "Life is Good." It said Mariano was a big Yankees and Islanders fan and lists surviving family members, including a fiancee and his twin brother.

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