Drunk driver injures Riverhead officer investigating crash, police say
A drunk driver with more than double the legal alcohol limit collided with a police cruiser at the scene of another accident in Wading River, causing non-fatal injuries to an officer, according to city police of Riverhead.
Kenneth Hamilton, 47, of Wading River, was driving a 2005 Nissan Altima when he slammed into the rear panel of the driver’s side of the police cruiser, according to a court document charging him with a drunk driving offense. The police car’s rear dome light was on at the time.
Hamilton is a former police officer who retired for “accidental disability”, according to the Suffolk County Police Department, where he worked.
The injured officer, whose name has not been released by police, had stopped at the scene of an accident unrelated to Wading River, according to the court document. He was in one of two marked Riverhead police vehicles dispatched around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday for an accident at Wading River Manorville Road, just north of State Route 25, police said in a news release: Motorist n failed to negotiate a curve and left the road on the shoulder due to fog. This accident was reported by a passing motorist.
“While standing ready, one of the officers returned to his marked unit and began analyzing data and preparing documents and was seated in the front passenger seat of the unit,” the statement read. “Soon after, the marked police unit was struck by another vehicle traveling northbound on Wading River Manorville Road. The force of the collision pushed the police car off the roadway and onto the eastern shoulder. , both vehicles sustaining significant damage.
The injured officer was attended to by colleagues at the scene and taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. He was hospitalized with a back injury, according to Riverhead town supervisor Yvette Aguiar.
Hamilton had “noticeable impairment” and “smell of alcohol,” according to the statement. His blood alcohol level was 0.17 at the scene, said Patricia Brosco, East End bureau chief for the Suffolk County prosecutor’s office, during Hamilton’s arraignment, according to Tania Lopez, door -word from the office. The legal limit is 0.08. Lopez said Hamilton refused to take a test and so his driver’s license was revoked.
The charge document against Hamilton said: “Defendant had slurred speech, distinct odor of liquor emanating from his breath, unsteady on his feet, but reports left knee injury from car accident prior.”
Hamilton was arraigned Thursday and released without bond, Lopez said. The case is due back in court on February 15. Hamilton’s attorney, Daniel Ginty of the Legal Aid Society, did not return messages left seeking comment.
Hamilton started at Suffolk Police Academy on November 12, 2002 and retired due to accidental disability on February 3, 2014, according to an email Friday from the police service’s press office.