The driver of an out-of-control car that crashed into a building in Hauppauge early Wednesday died after he was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, police said.
Suffolk County police identified the victim of the Adams Avenue crash as Peter Fedden, 29, of Commack, owner of the Commack Breakfast diner.
Fedden was driving a 2008 Honda east on Commerce Drive shortly after midnight when he failed to stop at a "T" intersection -- then knocked down a traffic sign and crashed into the building, which houses the offices of Advantage Food Marketing, police said.
Fire officials said the vehicle crashed through the brick facade and traveled about 30 feet into the interior.
Advantage's president, Mitch Levine, said the car reached a conference room and that no employees were hurt.
Less than an hour before the fatal accident, police said they received a 911 call that Fedden had crashed into a fence on New Highway in Commack. Police said they were trying to determine Wednesday how Fedden died and whether the crashes may be linked.
Suffolk police Emergency Services personnel and volunteers from the Hauppauge Fire Department had to extricate Fedden, who was later pronounced dead by doctors at Stony Brook, police said.
Police said the vehicle was impounded for a safety check.
Fedden was widely known in the community as owner of his Commack Road diner.
The windows at the restaurant were dark Wednesday afternoon. "Our Beloved Peter Passed Away," a handwritten sign said. "God Bless His Soul."
Pat Hoover, a regular customer who had taught physical education when Fedden was in high school, stood outside the diner Wednesday with his 9-year-old son. He said Fedden loved making people smile, whether pulling lighthearted pranks in school or chatting with an elderly woman who came into the diner every day.
"The kid left his mark," Levine said. "He's going to be missed."
The cause of the crash remains under investigation and police said anyone with information could call Fourth Squad detectives at 631-854-8452 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.