A North Babylon man who police said was under the influence of prescription drugs when he crossed a double-yellow line in Old Brookville and slammed head-on into an oncoming vehicle, killing the driver, was arraigned Wednesday in a hospital on multiple charges.
Jeremy Weckerle, 32, of Dollard Drive in North Babylon, was charged in connection with the Tuesday morning crash that killed Paul Gordon, 65, a retired teacher and baseball coach who had taught in Manhattan and Syosset. Gordon was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.
Weckerle was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, driving while ability impaired by drugs, failure to keep to the right lane and driving an unregistered motor vehicle.
At a hospital bedside arraignment Wednesday Weckerle was ordered held without bail, said the district attorney's spokeswoman, Carole Trottere. He's due in court Sept. 17.
Police said that Weckerle, driving a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder, was weaving as he traveled north on Route 107 at 11:17 a.m. Tuesday. He crossed the double yellow line into the southbound lane and struck Gordon's 2007 Toyota, police said.
Gordon, who had been trapped in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at 12:29 p.m. at Syosset Hospital, officials said.
Police said Weckerle suffered fractures and internal injuries in the collision. Police said it was later learned that Weckerle had been taking prescription medications at the time of the crash. Authorities would not say the type of medications Weckerle allegedly ingested. Gordon was returning from a trip to the appliance store for a new refrigerator, a family member said.
In retirement, Gordon tutored students and proctored end-of-semester exams, teaching aspiring science teachers at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, said his wife of more than four decades, Fran Gordon. "He was called the 'physics guy,' " she said of her husband, whom she met at a University of Pittsburgh dorm. "He was a shining star in the classroom."
Fran Gordon said mourners from across the country are traveling to Long Island to attend Gordon's funeral Thursday at Gutterman's funeral home on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, at 1 p.m., followed by burial at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, Queens.A neighbor, Susanne Fordham, recalled how Gordon would tutor her son for free.
"We would give him dinner," she said.