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Mattituck man responsible for fatal 2019 hit and run pleads guilty

A Mattituck man responsible for a 2019 hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a school teacher in St. James pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide Wednesday.

Keith Clancy, 33, will be sentenced to a term of 5 1/2 to 16 1/2 years in state prison, according to his attorney, Anthony La Pinta of Hauppauge.

Mr. Clancy faced an 11-count indictment that included several felony charges. As part of the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to the felony second-degree manslaughter charge, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the crash and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs. Additional charges were covered under the plea agreement. He appeared Wednesday before Judge Fernando Camacho at First District Court in Central Islip.

His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17.

At his arraignment last year, prosecutors said 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.

Michael McDermott was jogging in the northbound shoulder of Oak Street in St. James around 12:20 p.m. on July 14, 2019. Mr. Clancy ran a stop sign, before leaving his lane of travel and striking Mr. McDermott head on as he jogged on the opposite side of Lake Avenue.

“Mr. Clancy pleaded guilty because he is guilty and to allow the McDermott family, and his own family, to begin their healing from this terrible tragedy, without having to endure a painful trial,” Mr. La Pinta said in a statement.

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.

Mr. Clancy may serve up to 11 years in prison, his attorney said.

“I expect that he will be a model inmate who will be committed to his rehabilitation,” Mr. LaPinta said.

Following the initial crash, Mr. Clancy continued driving and was eventually stopped about 20 miles away near Exit 69 on the Long Island Expressway in Manorville. Police had found his front license plate at the scene of the crash. Officers who stopped him found his front windshield had been shattered and blood was splattered across parts of his vehicle.

He was arrested that afternoon and then indicted on upgraded charges a month later.