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Driver charged in fatal Sayville crash

The scene of a deadly crash in which

The scene of a deadly crash in which an SUV, right, struck a car head-on, killing one occupant in the car, and leaving another critically injured is shown. The driver of the SUV reportedly struck several other vehicles before smashing head-on into this car on Main Street near Benson Avenue in Sayville. (Jan. 13, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

A 46-year-old Patchogue man was arrested after police said he crashed into at least five vehicles in a series of hit-and-run accidents on West Main Street in Sayville late Sunday afternoon before smashing into two other cars -- killing an elderly man and critically injuring an elderly woman.

Thomas Herman, of 408 River Ave., is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and with leaving the scene of an accident.

Suffolk County police said additional charges "may be considered" as the investigation into the accidents continues.

Herman is under guard at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, where he is being treated for neck, facial and internal injuries that are not considered life-threatening, police said.

Arraignment details were not available.

The fatal crash occurred, police said, when Herman attempted to drive his Chevrolet TrailBlazer between two moving vehicles -- one westbound, the other eastbound -- on West Main at 5:10 p.m.

At the time, police said, as he was fleeing the scenes of prior crashes, during which, police said, Herman struck at least five vehicles with the sport utility vehicle he was driving.

In the final crash the SUV struck an eastbound Hyundai Elantra driven by Sam Longo, 82, of West Islip, and a Honda Accord driven by Robert Schutt, 49, of Sayville.

Police said Longo was killed in the crash and that his female passenger, Ann Gilbert, 79, of Oakdale, had neck and pelvic injuries and was taken by Sayville Community Ambulance to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore in critical but stable condition. Schutt, the driver of the Honda, had minor injuries and was taken to Brookhaven Memorial, where he was treated and released.

Police said all vehicles were impounded for safety checks and said the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding the accidents to call the Fifth Squad at 631-854-8552 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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