Police & Fire

Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the death of an East Northport man who was found unresponsive in his home’s swimming pool on Saturday.

Second Precinct officers responded to a Franconia Road house Aug. 18 at approximately 4:30 p.m. after a 911 caller reported finding one of the residents, Lewis Conte, unresponsive in the backyard swimming pool. Conte, 63, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. The exact cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392.

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Setauket Fire Department responded to a fire in Poquott Aug. 16 where half of a rear deck of a house was on fire. Photo by Bob O'Rourk

The Setauket Fire Department was called to a two-story home on Singingwood Lane in the Village of Poquott at 10:31 p.m Aug. 16, according to Setauket Fired Department public information officer Bob O’Rourk.

Half of the rear deck was fully involved and almost spread to the inside of the house, O’Rourk said. Quick action by the fire department kept flames from getting past several rafters and inside of the structure. As a result, any serious damage inside was prevented.

Firefighters checked the deck roof as well as the house roof for any fire extension. Interior walls were also checked to ascertain that no fire damage reached the interior.

The Stony Brook and Terryville fire departments also responded for mutual aid. Town of Brookhaven fire marshals were on scene to determine the cause of the fire. Results of that investigation are pending.

Bi-County Auto Shop in Smithtown. Photo from Facebook

A Smithtown auto body shop has been ordered to pay $185,000 in back wages to its employees plus damages for violating federal labor laws regarding overtime pay.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Aug. 14 that it obtained a judgment against Paul Joseph Dill and Paul Jeremy Dill, the two owners of Bi-County Auto Body, ordering them to pay $185,000 in back wages plus an equal amount in damages to 49 employees, plus $30,000 in civil penalties, for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The employer engaged in an unlawful practice to deny employees the overtime wages they had legally earned and to conceal their failure to pay for those hours,” said Irv Miljoner, Long Island director of U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hours Division. “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to those workers, and to leveling the playing field for employees who play by the rules.

From July 2014 to April 2016, the Smithtown employers violated labor laws by paying its employees in cash for any overtime beyond the 40-hour workweek and paying straight time, according to U.S. Department of Labor. Federal standards mandate that employees be paid one and one-half times their normal rate of pay when working overtime.

In addition, federal investigators said the employers also deducted one hour of pay from employees’ daily hours for a meal break, even though workers often were unable to take an uninterrupted break. Bi-County Auto Shop failed to keep track of time its employees worked beyond 40 per week in an attempt to conceal overtime, according to U.S. Department of Labor, resulting in recordkeeping violations.

“This case shows that the U.S. Department of Labor will take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and to rectify wage violations, so employees are not denied their justly earned pay,” said Jeffrey Rogoff, the department’s regional solicitor of labor.

Under the terms of the court judgment, Bi-County Auto and its owners are prohibited from accepting the return of back wages from its employees and discrimination from any employees who step forward to exercise their rights under federal labor law.

A manager at Bi-County Auto Shop stated that the company has no comment on the judgment issued Tuesday.

Any worker who believes that their employer may be violating minimum wage or overtime laws may report them through U.S. Department of Labor’s PAID program. More information on federal labor laws can be found at www.dol.gov/whd.

First responders from SCPD and Terryville FD helped deliver a baby at a Port Jefferson Station home. Photo by Dennis Whittam

By Anthony Petriello

A miracle occurred in the early morning hours Aug. 9 as first responders helped deliver a baby girl at a Port Jefferson Station home. Sixth Precinct Officers Jon-Erik Negron, Brian Cann and Karl Allison responded to a 911 call on Lisa Lane. Upon arrival, they found a full term expectant mother, Keri Fort, in active labor and in need of assistance.

“The Suffolk County PD was the first to get to my house and got us all calmed down-it was kind of a crazy scene as you might imagine,” Fort said in a Facebook message. “They were a perfectly well-oiled machine with little talking to each other. They all knew what to do without a word, concentrating on me and telling me what to do next. My mother dialed 911 at 2:20 a.m. and sweet little Stella was born at 2:44 a.m.”

According to police, Fort’s water had broken already when they arrived, and her contractions were approximately five minutes apart. Shortly after, Terryville Fire Department paramedics Kevin Bader, Gina Brett, and Chris Meyers arrived on the scene to assist and take control of the situation.

“It was a collaborative effort,” Cann said.

Working together, officers and paramedics were able to deliver the baby girl, named Stella Blue Fort, in the residence at approximately 2:44 a.m., and transfer the mother and baby girl to the St. Charles Hospital Labor and Delivery unit by ambulance in good health. Fort and her daughter have since been released from the hospital and returned home.

This is not the first time Negron has had to spring into action to help bring a baby into the world while on duty. Last August, Negron helped save a newborn in Mount Sinai after a mother gave birth unexpectedly at home, and the baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. In June, Negron was named the baby’s godfather by the parents.

Suffolk County police allege that a man caught on camera in a 7-Eleven in Selden hit a pedestrian and fled the scene. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police 6th Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the driver of a vehicle that struck a pedestrian and fled the scene in Selden this month.

Police allege a man driving a black Dodge Ram 1500 hit a pedestrian and fled the scene. Photo from the Suffolk County Police Department

A man was driving a pickup truck when his vehicle struck a pedestrian in the parking lot of 7-Eleven, located at 1316 Middle Country Road, on August 4 at approximately 4:20 a.m. The victim, who lost a tooth as a result of the incident, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was treated for lacerations and a broken foot. The vehicle was described a black Dodge Ram 1500 with black rims and a yellow New York State license plate.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-8477, texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637) or by email at www.tipsubmit.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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A Silver Alert for John Wile of Stony Brook was issued Aug. 6. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

After an extensive search, a Stony Brook man was found dead in the woods north of Research and Development Park off of Stony Brook Road, Stony Brook, Aug. 8. There appears to be no criminality, according to police.

The Suffolk County Police Department issued a Silver Alert Aug. 6 for the missing Stony Brook man who suffered from dementia. John Wile, 74, left his home, located at 34 Erland Road, for a jog. He was last seen running on Innovation Road in Stony Brook Aug. 6 at 8:30 a.m.

The online version of this story was last updated Aug. 8 at 5:15 p.m.

Ex-Chief John Evans, a 62-year member of the Setauket Fire Department, died July 28 and was buried with honors in the St. James R.C. Church Cemetery in Setauket Aug. 2. Firematic Services were held at Bryant Funeral Home Aug. 1.

Evans was born Oct. 31, 1934, in Mather Hospital. He graduated Port Jefferson High School in 1952. His studies in college were followed with a position with Suffolk County as a civil engineer. He retired after 36 years in 1991.

He married Betty in 1957 and recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. They have three children, Sharon Pifko, Tim Evans and Kathy Mays. He is also survived by his two grandchildren Hailey and Sean Mays and a sister Sandra Kratina of Miller Place.

Evans joined the Setauket Fire Department when he was 18 years old and was chief of the department from 1964 through 1965. He was also an assistant chief for six years prior. After serving 61 years, 11 months and 4 days, he became a Life member of SFD, and in his final years, he was a member of the Fire Police.

In his years of active firefighting, Evans shared his great knowledge of hydraulics and pumping with many of the younger firefighters as they learned all the nuances of the department pumpers. He will be missed.

File photo

Suffolk County Police 2nd Squad detectives are investigating an incident during which a man was found unresponsive in a pool at a Fort Salonga home this weekend.

Police officers responded to Marcelle Court after a 911 caller reported a man was found unresponsive in an in-ground pool Aug. 5 at approximately 1:10 p.m.

Northport Rescue performed CPR on the victim, Edwin Campos, 39, of Copiague. Campos was transported to Huntington Hospital where he was listed in critical condition as of Sunday night.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the 2nd Squad at 631-854-8252.

A Suffolk County Police Department boat. File photo by Alex Petroski

A Mount Sinai woman died after falling overboard in the Great South Bay Aug. 4, according to Suffolk County Police Department.

Donna Ramirez, 38, of Mount Sinai, went overboard from a 2005 Monterey 30-foot-boat about half a mile south of Green Creek Marina in Sayville at approximately 12:45 a.m. Saturday morning, police said. The owner of the boat Robert Udle, 37, of Lake Grove got assistance from two other people, looked for Ramirez, located her, brought her onto the boat and called 911.

Ramirez was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where she was pronounced dead, with drowning cited as the cause of death.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6392.

This story was updated Aug. 6 to correct a typo.

The Stony Brook Fire District seeks to purchase two Spartan pumpers like the one above. Photo from Spartan Motors

Voters in the Stony Brook Fire District will have a chance to say “yes” to the future.

A special election will take place Aug. 7 in the fire district on a proposition to give the board of fire commissioners authorization to purchase two Spartan pumper trucks with a capacity for 1,250 gallons per minute and related equipment for a cost not exceeding $1.4 million.

Fire district commissioner Brian McAllister said the new pumpers, manufactured by Spartan Motors, will replace two 1994 models currently in use by the district. He said pumpers are emergency vehicles that carry the water tank, firefighting tools and hoses. The volunteers need the trucks for any water work during a fire, while ladder trucks are utilized during rescue efforts such as roof cutting or breaking down doors.

McAllister said typically after 25 years emergency vehicles are pulled out of service. Emergency vehicles experience more wear and tear than the average car, especially on the brakes, according to the fire commissioner.

“It’s not normal driving,” he said. “It’s always emergency response, so that puts excess wear on the vehicles. And the vehicles themselves are already 30- or 40,0000 pounds.”

McAllister said there has been a lot of advances in technology and firefighting standards since the 1994 trucks were made, including with data and digital control centers. He said the pump that operates the water is more advanced and the tanks are made of a more flexible material than in the past, which allows for more storage space in the vehicle. Another advantage is that the new pumpers will require less maintenance than older models and therefore will be on the road more, since vehicles needing maintenance are often taken out of service temporarily while being repaired.

Before putting the proposition up for vote, he said the fire district put together a committee that looked at pumpers from various manufacturers and decided what the firehouses needed. The committee sat with a spec writer, visited neighboring departments to inspect their trucks and searched for manufacturers who could meet their requirements. A public informational meeting was held July 17 to allow residents the opportunity to ask any questions.

McAllister said the process took approximately two years, and if the district gets the go-ahead to buy the pumpers, it will be more than a year before the trucks arrive.

“It’s not a fast process but done correctly, spec’d correctly and paying attention to detail, we can try to generate or create a vehicle, in partnership with the manufacturer, for one that will be maintenance-free or at least low maintenance and that will also suit our needs,” McAllister said.

Voters in the Stony Brook Fire District, who were registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on or before July 15, can vote in the special election, Tuesday, Aug. 7, between 2 to 9 p.m.

Polls are located at 147 Main St., Stony Brook, for those north of the railroad tracks and at 1402 Stony Brook Road for voters residing south of the railroad tracks.

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