Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandNassau

Teacher, couple injured by car; driver arrested

Nassau County police are investigating a Friday morning

Nassau County police are investigating a Friday morning motor-vehicle accident near a middle school in Glen Head in which a pedestrian was hit, a police spokesman said. (March 1, 2013) Credit: Jim Staubitser

          An Editor’s Note published July 12, 2017, about Kevin Deutsch’s reporting appears at the end of this story. 

An award-winning Latin teacher who was walking to North Shore Middle School Friday morning was hurt -- and a couple was seriously injured -- when a motorist who police said was driving recklessly struck him and collided with their car, Nassau police said.

Cruz Correa, 28, of 21-31 Brewster St. in Glen Cove, was arrested and charged with reckless driving, police said. He will be arraigned at a later date once he recovers from injuries, police said.

They said the investigation was continuing.

A law enforcement source said officials believe Correa was driving drunk or high on drugs. They were also investigating whether he had run a red light, adding that the teacher had the right of way and was in the crosswalk when he was struck.

Christopher Whalley, who has taught Latin for at least 15 years at the middle and high schools and who was honored in 2007 by the Harvard Club of Long Island, was among four people hurt in the 10 a.m. crash on Glen Cove Avenue outside entrances to both schools in Glen Head, police said. He was listed in stable condition at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

Whalley's father, Roger Whalley of Amherst, said his son's injuries are not life-threatening.

"He's in the recovery room. He's been in surgery. His injuries are just with one ankle," Roger Whalley said Friday night.

Witnesses said Correa was swerving across lanes before the crash, according to a source.

Al Jaffar, 32, of Glen Cove, was working at the auto mechanic shop on Glen Cove Avenue when he saw a man struck by a car while crossing the street. "He was laying in the street," Jaffar said. "He looked really bad."

Police were also withholding the names of the couple but they did say that the man, who was driving, is 66 years old. The woman in the car is 65 years old.

Police said the accident occurred as Correa drove a 1991 Lexus erratically and hit Whalley as he traveled north on Glen Cove Avenue before crossing the centerline and striking the couple's 2007 Volkswagen Passat head on. At least one of the people lapsed into cardiac arrest, the source said.

"He struck the male pedestrian crossing the street, veered into the southbound lane and then hit the Volkswagen with the husband and wife," said Det. Michael Bitsko, a police spokesman. "There were serious injuries to all involved."

Information about the couple's and Correa's injuries was not available last night, but police said he was airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center.

North Shore schools officials sent out an alert for parents and students that one of their own was hurt in an accident.

"Unfortunately, one of our teachers was walking over to the middle school at the time of the accident and was hit by a car," the statement read. "While injured, he is in stable condition."

Whalley received a Distinguished Teacher Award in 2007 from the Harvard Club of Long Island, an alumni organization that annually recognizes outstanding high school teachers on the Island.

"He's the smartest, most fun, best teacher I've ever had," said Chrissy D'Angelo, 17, a student at North Shore High School who took a course with Whalley. "He taught us so much. He's nice and smart and such an amazing teacher. He's the best teacher."

Whalley had also taught for 10 years in Japan, Michigan and Queens, according to an online profile. The site says he has a bachelor's in Latin language and literature as well as a master's degree in classical philology.

Bruce Kennedy, mayor of Sea Cliff, the community north of the high school and middle school, said the area becomes extremely congested when school is beginning and ending each day. "It is imperative that the county look into ways of initiating traffic calming measures," he said.

With Joie Tyrrell

Editor’s note: Newsday undertook an extensive, four-month review of reporting by Kevin Deutsch, who covered law enforcement from April 2012 to September 2016.

The review of the former Newsday reporter’s work began after The Baltimore Sun this year reported that law enforcement and other officials questioned the veracity of Deutsch’s nonfiction book “Pill City” about Baltimore’s drug trade. In addition, questions arose about individuals named in Newsday stories by Deutsch. Book publisher St. Martin’s Press and Deutsch have said they stand behind the book.

We are dedicated to accurate, factual reporting, to the highest journalistic standards and to maintaining our credibility with Newsday readers. We also are committed to being accountable to our readers. Newsday undertook the detailed review in that spirit and because of the concerns that were raised.

In late February, as our review was under way, The New York Times reported in an editor’s note that The Times “had been unable to locate or confirm the existence of two people who were named and quoted” in a Dec. 29, 2016, freelance article written by Deutsch. Deutsch “maintains that the interviews and the descriptions are accurate,” The Times wrote.

Newsday reviewed 600 stories with reporting by Deutsch. We contacted officials in the police departments regularly involved in Deutsch’s coverage. They said they had not had problems with his work. We then focused our research and reporting on individuals who, as described in the stories, would not be considered officials, or well-known, public figures.

The review found 77 stories with 109 individuals from Deutsch’s reporting whom Newsday could not locate. The main points of the stories were not affected. While two stories about the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen were based on sources Newsday could not locate, other media reported the main points of those stories but with attribution from different sources.  In this story, Newsday could not locate: Chrissy D’Angelo. Newsday is attaching an editor’s note to each story online that contains individuals we cannot locate.

Here’s how Newsday conducted the review:

Researchers and reporters searched local and national public records, sites providing nationwide people searches, databases of business, real estate and conviction records, social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and and nationwide news archives. They searched potential alternate spellings and other name variations. Their reporting followed potential leads they found through research, within stories and in information shared by Deutsch during the review.

Finding people after publication, in some cases years later, can be difficult because of changes in residence, circumstance and contact information. Some may not have given their real names.

On the law enforcement beat, reporters may encounter people who lead lives that are not reflected in public records or other sources of information that would help locate them. It is possible that some on our list were difficult to find or reluctant to respond to our review because they are undocumented immigrants, those battling or recovering from addiction or people involved in or around illegal activity.

Some on our list were described discussing crimes in their neighborhoods, and others as relatives, friends or neighbors of victims or as individuals living near or knowing those accused of crimes.

Others we have not been able to locate, though, are described as bystanders, neighbors, spectators, relatives of drug victims, witnesses to news events or related in some way to people in the news. Still others are described in stories as people actively engaged in public issues, such as activists, protesters and marchers. Many individuals on the list are described as local.

Deutsch said in email exchanges with Newsday that “I have no doubt about the veracity of the claims of the sources I quoted.” He also said, “Not a single public official, source, or other interviewee has raised any issues with even one of these stories.”

“It's impossible for any reporter to know whether the name given to him by interviewees on the street--or those reached briefly by phone or email-- is that person's full and legal name, rather than an alias or variation of their real name (maiden names and certain common nicknames/abbreviations for first names are often published by newspapers, including Newsday.). But every one of the names on Newsday’s list was the name given to me by that interview subject, verbatim.”

During the four months of our review, Newsday shared questions and updates with Deutsch as we progressed in the search for individuals we could not locate. We requested notes and contact information. Deutsch sent us notes he said represented all individuals we were unable to locate and responded over the course of the review by email, sharing information he said was from his recollection and notes.

Reporters followed up on all information shared by Deutsch. He did not provide contact information for those on our list. Newsday reporters and editors sought unsuccessfully several times to meet with Deutsch to discuss his reporting and to review his notes together to ensure we were not missing contact information or other details that might help locate individuals. Deutsch maintained that the notes he shared “serve as evidence of interviews” with each source.

Deutsch said he kept contact information in a Rolodex he left behind at Newsday’s main office and in a company-issued cellphone he returned within a week after resigning on Sept. 6, 2016. Editorial staff did not find a Rolodex or other notes at our office, but found notes left at Newsday’s desk at a courthouse pressroom where he worked. We shared them with Deutsch and he confirmed they were his. As per company policy, the contents of the cellphone had been deleted immediately after Deutsch returned it to Newsday.

Maintaining the trust of our readers is essential to our mission.  If we are able subsequently to locate any individuals, we will update our stories.

Nassau top stories