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Driver in Manorville crash that killed Boy Scout indicted; blood alcohol content more than twice legal limit, DA says

Thomas Murphy, 59, is facing aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, felony assault and other charges following his indictment by a Suffolk grand jury. Photo: Suffolk County Police.

The Holbrook man arrested for driving while intoxicated in connection with the Sept. 30 crash in Manorville that killed a 12-year-old Boy Scout and injured three others, has been indicted by a grand jury on 16 criminal charges, including multiple felonies.

Thomas Murphy, 59, is believed to have had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30, when he left Swan Lake Golf Club and drove his car onto the shoulder of David Terry Road, striking Andrew McMorris, 12, and three other Boy Scouts out for a hike with their troop, according to prosecutors.

Murphy, who was arrested at the scene, refused a breathalyzer test as well as a chemical blood test, requiring prosecutors to obtain a court order to draw his blood. The blood test showed Murphy had a blood alcohol content of .13 percent. His blood alcohol content is “extrapolated to .19 at the time of the crash,” due to the passage of time, Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini said in a press release.

He was arrested immediately following the crash by Suffolk County Police Seventh Precinct officers, who observed that Murphy had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, had slurred speech, had watery, bloodshot and glassy eyes, and was unsteady on his feet, according to the press release.

“Murphy was leaving Swan Lake Golf Club to drive home after allegedly drinking alcohol since approximately 9 a.m.,” that day, according to the press release. “An investigation revealed that the defendant was approached by an individual in the parking lot who offered to drive Murphy home due to his intoxicated state. Murphy allegedly refused,” according to the report.

Murphy was indicted on 16 criminal charges in connection with the fatal crash, including: three counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, a B felony; Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a C felony; Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, a C felony; Assault in the Second Degree, a D violent felony; Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a D felony; Vehicular Assault in the First Degree, a D felony; two counts of Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, an E felony; Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor; Driving While Intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor; two counts of Assault in the Third Degree, an A misdemeanor; Reckless Driving, an unclassified misdemeanor; and Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, an A misdemeanor.

He was arraigned on the indictment today in front of Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He remains free on $500,000 bond. His driver’s license was suspended.

“Nothing will bring Andrew back, but we will obtain justice in this case on behalf of the families and Troop 161,” Sini said.

McMorris was one of a group of 12 Boys Scouts and six Scout leaders from Troop 161 who were walking northbound on the on the shoulder of David Terry Road.

Murphy struck the group with his vehicle, causing serious physical injury to Thomas Lane, 15, of Shoreham, and causing injury to Denis Lane, 16, of Shoreham, and Kaden Lynch, 15, of Calverton, according to police. McMorris, who was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center and then transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital in critical condition following the crash, succumbed to his injuries on Oct. 1.

If convicted of the top count, Murphy faces a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison, the district attorney said.

He is due back in court on November 27.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jacob Delauter, of the Vehicular Crime Bureau.

“My office is committed to handling this case most professionally and most efficiently to ensure that this defendant is held accountable for his actions,” Sini said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones and the entire Boy Scout community in the wake of this tragedy.”

Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. By law, a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.