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Mattituck man pleads not guilty to upgraded charges from hit-and-run crash

08/07/2019 9:35 AM |

A Mattituck man is facing an upgraded charge of aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with a July 14 hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a school teacher in St. James, according to court records.

Keith Clancy, 32, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to an 11-count grand jury indictment that along with the top charge includes felony charges for leaving the scene of the crash, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and criminal possession of drugs, online court records show.

Assistant District Attorney James Curtin said at Wednesday’s arraignment that Mr. Clancy was high on fentanyl, which was found in his car, and suboxone while he was driving erratically and at full speed, at times driving into oncoming traffic.

A video shows him running a stop sign, before leaving his lane of travel and striking Michael McDermott head on as he jogged on the opposite side of Lake Avenue in St. James, prosecutors said.

Mr. McDermott of Smithtown, a 37-year-old teacher and junior varsity baseball coach at Kings Park High School, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the father of three young children, prosecutors said.

The scene of the Manorville traffic stop. (Credit: Stringer News)

Mr. Clancy, who has two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated and had his license revoked in 2017, struck Mr. McDermott as he was jogging in the northbound shoulder of Oak Street in St. James around 12:20 p.m. that Sunday. Upon impact, his body was sent nearly 100 feet in the air to the southbound side of the road, nearest the next closest intersection at the corner of Roseville Avenue, prosecutors said at his initial arraignment.

Among the evidence gathered at the scene was Mr. Clancy’s front license plate. When he was stopped nearly 30 minutes after the crash about 20 miles away near Exit 69 of the Long Island Expressway in Manorville, police saw that his plate was missing and much of the passenger side of his front windshield had been shattered. Blood was splattered across parts of his vehicle.

A drug recognition expert who evaluated Mr. Clancy the night of the crash reported poor balance, low blood pressure and bloodshot and glassy eyes, prosecutors said.

Mr. Clancy’s attorney, Anthony LaPinta of Hauppauge, briefly spoke outside the courtroom Wednesday.

“At this stage, our path is quite clear,” he said. “We need to investigate these facts and understand exactly what happened here, and understand the prosecution’s evidence and come to a determination of whether these facts support these charges.”

Mr. LaPinta said that, if necessary, the defense would employ their own experts to investigate the case.

Mr. Clancy’s most recent DWI arrest came in 2015, when he was charged with driving while intoxicated by drugs, Ms. Michalski said. He was also convicted of DWI following an arrest in 2007. Suffolk County court records also show Mr. Clancy, a 2005 graduate of Mattituck High School, is facing charges from earlier this year for criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument, for which he is also due back in court today.

Mr. LaPinta declined comment on the prior incidents.

Top Caption: Mr. Clancy in court Wednesday morning. (Credit: James Carbone/Newsday)

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