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Thomas Vaughan sentenced to 9 months in DWI pedestrian fatality

Thomas Vaughan, 59, of Lake Grove, has been

Thomas Vaughan, 59, of Lake Grove, has been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after his vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian early Sunday on Express Drive North along the Long Island Expressway in Lake Ronkonkoma. (March 25, 2013) Photo Credit: SCPD

A Lake Grove man was sentenced Wednesday to 9 months in jail for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk last year.

Thomas Vaughan, 44, pleaded guilty last week to criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated. He hit and killed Gary Kroll, 59, of Lake Ronkonkoma, who also was intoxicated and walking in the middle of Express Drive North in Lake Ronkonkoma on March 24.

Kroll's adult children said their father was a gregarious presence in their families and that his loss has dulled their lives.

"The parent that I am today is not the same one that I was," said Kroll's daughter, Jillian Damis. "It's inexcusable."

Gary Kroll Jr., of Lake Ronkonkoma, said he and his family can't even bear to go by the street where his father used to live.

Vaughan's attorney, Stephen O'Brien of Nesconset, apologized to the Kroll family on his client's behalf.

"There are no winners and losers in a case like this," he said.

O'Brien said his client was eager to take responsibility for what he did and hoped to get control of his alcohol problem in jail. Vaughan has an earlier DWI conviction. As part of the jail term, State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho ordered that Vaughan serve his time in the Suffolk County jail's Stop-DWI facility.

Assistant District Attorney Alfred Croce said his office recommended a sentence of 1 year in jail.

O'Brien told Camacho, "He is a very good man. I expect you will never see him back here."

When Camacho asked Vaughan if he had anything to say, he silently shook his head.

To the victim's family the judge said before imposing sentence, "Your dad sounds like a great guy. I pray that somehow you'll find peace."

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