A Holbrook man who police said was driving drunk struck a group of Boy Scouts walking on the shoulder of a Manorville roadway Sunday afternoon, critically injuring one scout and sending four others to the hospital, authorities said.
Thomas Murphy, 59, was driving a 2016 Mercedes southbound on David Terry Road at about 1:55 p.m when his vehicle struck five scouts from Troop 161 in Shoreham who ranged in age from 12 to 16, Suffolk police said in a news release.
The scout in critical condition was taken by police helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital and the other four were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.
Murphy was charged with driving while intoxicated and was to be held overnight at the Seventh Precinct. He was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Monday, police said.
The Major Case Unit was investigating and asked witnesses to call 631-852-6555 or 800-220-TIPS.
The website for Troop 161 in Shoreham says the troop was scheduled for its afternoon session to hike on the Greenbelt Trail in Manorville. A guide to the trails on Long Island put out by the Long Island Pine Barrens Society describes David Terry Road as being in the area of the Greenbelt Trail.
Troop 161's scoutmaster could not be reached Sunday night.
Representatives from the Medford-based Suffolk County Council of the Boy Scouts of America did not respond to messages seeking comment Sunday.
Sean Bryan, 37, of Manorville, said he was driving north on David Terry Road Sunday afternoon and saw the group of more than a dozen — the Boy Scouts walking with adults — and stopped his car and called 911 after the crash.
"I saw them right off the bat when I was driving; they weren't hard to see, in my opinion," said Bryan, a carpenter who spoke to Newsday at the scene several hours after the crash. He showed a reporter his phone log indicating a 911 call was made at 1:53 p.m. "They were walking in the street the way you should be if you're going to be doing it, toward the traffic, toward oncoming traffic."
Bryan, who said he gave police a statement, said he didn't see the vehicle, which he described as a white car, strike the scouts — but witnessed the immediate aftermath, which he said was "chaos," with several youths on the ground. He said the driver of the vehicle that struck the Scouts remained on the scene.
“The one kid was unconscious, the other one was in a lot of pain and crying," Bryan said.
Manorville Fire Department First Assistant Chief Chris Lindberg said when the department responded to the crash, “the children were on the ground.”
Lindberg said he spoke with a troop leader and the fire department transported the uninjured scouts to the Manorville Fire Department headquarters on Silas Carter Road “so the parents wouldn’t have to come to the scene of the accident to pick them up.”
Lindberg said some Scouts had backpacks that had to be transported to the fire department.
Residents near the scene of the crash, which was cordoned off with yellow police tape, said the area is known for excessive speeding despite its marked speed limit of 30 miles per hour.
“On the weekend, this area becomes a nightmare; motorcycles and hot cars racing up and down,” said Paul Gotowski, 70. “It really is unbelievable. We actually pray for rain on the weekend.”
Gotowski, who was watching football when he heard ambulances outside his home, said he's complained to police and elected officials about speeding on his street and nearby Mill Road for years, to no avail.
"Why does something terrible have to happen before you do something?" said Gotowski, who is retired. "They can’t send one [police car] to just sit here and try to prevent something like this? This is what’s just so frustrating."