The former Suffolk police officer who pleaded guilty last month to killing a man by driving drunk the wrong way on Sunrise Highway in West Islip surrendered in a Central Islip courtroom Thursday and began serving his prison term, although his sentence was not imposed.
Robert Scheuerer was promised a sentence of 3 to 9 years in return for his guilty plea to aggravated vehicular homicide and other charges. Scheuerer admitted that on Sept. 27, 2016, he was drunk when he crashed head-on into a van driven by Brian Fusaro, 37, of Bay Shore. The van exploded and Fusaro burned to death.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho did not say why he postponed the sentencing.
Fusaro’s family attended the brief and unusual proceeding Thursday. Family members did not speak in court or comment afterward. Assistant District Attorney Marc Lindemann declined to comment, as well.
Lindemann has said the collision came after Scheuerer, 26, of Farmingdale, drank 10 pints of beer and a mixed drink, before heading west in the eastbound lanes of the highway.
Because Scheuerer was not sentenced, he did not have the opportunity to speak in court. His attorney, William Petrillo of Garden City, apologized on his behalf.
“No one here can fully understand what it’s like to be in your shoes, but to the extent that we’re able to, both myself and the Scheuerer family are so sorry for your loss,” Petrillo told the victim’s family.
Camacho also said he was sorry for their loss.
When Scheuerer pleaded guilty last month, Lindemann had recommended a sentence of 4 to 12 years. The maximum Scheuerer faced was 8 1⁄3 to 25 years.
Scheuerer was fired by the Suffolk County Police Department last January after he was indicted. He’d been on the force for about a year.
Scheuerer will return to court in March, but may not be sentenced then either.