Buying gas, but with town police standing by

TIM KELLY PHOTO | With a long gas line behind him, a police officer monitors Main Road traffic near the Valero gas station in Cutchogue

For people driving along the Main Road in Cutchogue the sight of a police officer in the road at the intersection of Main Road and Depot lane is hardly a rare sight. Perhaps there was funeral at Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. on Depot, or traffic after a Mass on Sunday.

The police were on station there Friday, but it had nothing to do with church.

The Valero gas station on the corner was one of, if not the only, gas stations in Southold filling tanks Friday and so the line of waiting motorists stretched by one estimate a half-mile north on Depot.

Police arrived shortly after 8 a.m. and were to remain on station there until the line shortens to a more manageable length, said Town Police Captain Frank Kruszewski.

“We don’t want to be there,” the captain said, but we don’t have a whole lot of choice at this point.”

The most obvious concern is there’s virtually no shoulder along Depot Lane’s southbound lane and so along the waiting line there’s room for only one vehicle to pass at a time.

On Thursday police arrested a Riverhead man for drunk driving after he was involved in a verbal dispute at the Hess station in Mattituck. Police said Joseph Kress, 29, tried to cut the line.

The Hess station was closed Friday.

Dave Markel of Southold waited an hour and 15 minutes before filling the tank of his Nissan pickup and he was only too happy to hand over the $50 it cost.

The worst part of the wait was knowing that he has a slight leak in his gas tank, which was close to empty.

“I kept turning the engine on and off,” Mr. Markel said. “But I wasn’t too worried.”

He added that he doesn’t anticipate cutting back on his business travel. “I don’t think this is a long-term problem,” he said.