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Suffolk County emergency services dispatcher accused of DWI in fatal pedestrian accident

A Central Islip man was driving drunk when

A Central Islip man was driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian on Suffolk Avenue near Church Street in Central Islip at 12:13 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, Suffolk County police said. Photo Credit: Stringer News

A Suffolk County emergency services dispatcher is facing a drunken-driving charge in an accident early Friday that killed a pedestrian in Central Islip.

James Fitzpatrick, 37, was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck west on Suffolk Avenue near Church Street at 12:13 a.m. when he hit Robert Fornasier as he crossed the street, Suffolk police said. Fornasier, 63, of Central Islip, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Fitzpatrick, of Central Islip, is a dispatcher with the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services.

Justin Meyers, a spokesman for County Executive Steve Bellone, said the administration is aware of the arrest, and that Fitzpatrick was not at work Friday. Meyers declined to comment further.

Fitzpatrick pleaded not guilty Friday at his arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip.

The prosecutor said Fitzpatrick remained at the scene after the accident and was cooperative. Fitzpatrick told police at the scene he consumed alcohol before driving, and he was glassy-eyed and unsteady on his feet, the prosecutor said. The results of a blood test to determine Fitzpatrick's blood-alcohol level were not immediately available.

William Sammis, Fitzpatrick's lawyer, told Judge Jennifer Henry that his client has been a dispatcher for 10 years and a volunteer firefighter for 20 years. On his Facebook page Fitzpatrick identifies himself as an ex-captain at the Central Islip Fire Department.

Fitzpatrick was released Friday after posting $10,000 cash bail.Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Vehicular Crime Unit at 631-852-6555 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477SUFFOLK. All calls will remain confidential. With Gary Dymski

and Rick Brand

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